Working remotely may be an employee's dream: no arduous commute, no boring watercooler chit-chat, no need to adhere to a dress code. But, while working remotely may be an employees' dream, is it your nightmare?
The telecommuting trend is on the rise — as of 2015, 37% of the US labor force is made up of remote workers and this number is on the rise. In fact, it's anticipated that 60% of office-based employees will be working remotely by 2022. The advances of technology make it more feasible than ever for office workers to transition to telecommuting, much to the delight of workers everywhere.
The workforce is on board, but is telecommuting in your company's best interest? Let's take a look at the pros, cons, and pitfalls of hiring remote workers.
Positive Aspects of a Remote Workforce
If you place a lot of value on your employees' happiness, perhaps it's time to consider implementing telecommunication. 80-90% of Americans working today would prefer to work remotely.
Why? Well, telecommuting not only reduces stress, but it also improves employee morale. Employee absenteeism is reduced in a telecommuting workforce; you'll lose fewer days to sickness if you allow your workers to work remotely.
Additionally, employers who offer a telecommunication option find that their employee retention is improved — when an employee who works remotely is offered another opportunity, they're less likely to take it, thanks to the contentment offered by telecommuting.
Regardless of where your office is based, it's expensive and inconvenient to move your business to a larger space. When you start to outgrow your office, the search for a larger office begins, accompanied by the headaches that come with it.
There will be a cost increase for the additional square footage, the added expense of reprinting promotional materials and business cards, and the cost of actually moving from one space to another. When you have a remote workforce, on the other hand, you can scale your company with ease. No need to find a spacious and attractive workspace that will accomodate your team and remain within budget when you meet with your team virtually.
A study reported that the myth about remote employees doing nothing all day long is just that — a myth. In fact, telecommuting workers showed a 13% increase in productivity, thanks to fewer breaks and less sick time as well as a quieter and more convenient work environment.
Additionally, workers feel more empowered when they're working outside of the office. With a greater sense of self-determination, remote workers have the sense that they're doing this work for themselves, not solely to please their boss.
Entice Quality Workers
If you're seeking workers who are talented and creative, one of the best ways to bring them on board is to indicate that you're willing to embrace a flexible schedule and telecommuting. 58% of human resource pros say that flexibility plays a big role in attracting high-quality talent.
You'll have a wider pool of talent to draw from when you permit telecommuting. You won't be limited by the workers who reside close enough to drive to the office every day, and you won't have to pay a new employee's moving expenses if you do find a perfect fit who lives out of town. Building a great team is tough so why not open yourself up to all available possibilities?
Negative Aspects of a Remote Workforce
And, now for the less-than-stellar aspects of telecommuting.
Company Culture Crisis
If you place a high priority on company culture, perhaps remote work isn't a good fit for your business. It's more difficult to develop and implement a company culture when your workers are scattered.
While it's possible to maintain a sense of camraderie through communication tools such as Slack, which enables teams to "chat" virtually throughout the day, nothing can replace a good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. Skype or Zoom will only get you so far!
When everyone's in the office, you can just walk over to a co-worker's desk and get the answers you need in an instant. When your team telecommutes, it's a bit more challenging. You can utilize messaging tools and email, but if the worker has the channel muted or they haven't checked their email all afternoon, you could end up frustrated.
The best way to ensure that you've got the necessary access to employees is to institute guidelines. For instance, there should be regular check-ins throughout the day between the worker and their boss, and email should be checked throughout the day. However, there are those who take advantage of the freedom allotted to them.
It's Not For Everyone
You might have found a person who's a perfect fit for the job at hand, but they might not be a great candidate for telecommuting. Remote work requires a self-starter who doesn't need constant supervision or a great deal of peer interaction from day-to-day.
It can also be lonely to work remotely, and if the worker is the sort who thrives when surrounded by people, telecommuting might be an insurmountable challenge. It's also challenging to collaborate when your team's not working onsite. Achieving the right environment to cultivate innovation that's necessary in today's marketplace is a must, and if your team can't accomplish that when working outside of the office, it's probably best if everyone stays put.
Embracing a remote workforce can help you grow your business, but you also need a solid marketing team and valuable resources to help you reach your potential. Schedule a free consultation to see how Hudson Fusion can become your marketing team.