The concept of ‘remote employees’ is not remote with the internet making it really easier for people settled far and wide to come together and communicate like never before.
So, in all likelihood, your business is already working with remote employees or maybe you are planning to hire some in the near future. No matter what, it’s imperative to know the pros and cons of maintaining such a workforce.
The Advantages of Hiring Remote Employees
Let us look at the major advantages that your business can derive from hiring such employees.
- Great Talent Pool
With the growing preference for work-life balance, more and more people are opting to work from home or take up part-time jobs.
If you are adamant and decide not to hire such employees, you might be losing on a significant talent opportunity. Some of them are highly skilled and have expertise in their respective areas.
In case you’ve been willing to hire remote employees, you have at your fingertips some of the best talent available, globally.
- Better Performance
I know, you are asking me how!
It will not be fair if I say that remote employees are better performers in general than those who are working at your premises. Performers and underperformers are everywhere, in all organizations.
Yet, most remote employees are found to be delivering better, and there are good reasons for this. As the work environment is conducive, employees are able to perform better.
“It’s clear to me that remote employees stay longer, work harder and offer better ROI over co-located employees.” – Dave Nevogt, CEO, Hubstaff
Sure, we all continuously strive to provide our employees with the best of facilities at our business premises; nonetheless, everyone is more comfortable at his own home, even when compared to the Suite of the best hotel.
More importantly, they enjoy flexibility in timings and are able to manage their work-outs and personal commitments accordingly.
Further, they can maintain work-life balance; concentrate on health, fitness, and their state of happiness too. All these could amount to increased productivity.
What’s more, freedom is a motivator too. This reflects on their performance, obviously.
- Reduces Overhead Expenditure
Managing a large workforce is no child’s play. You have to concentrate a lot on the infrastructure and facilities. Plus, you need to spend on regular maintenance as well.
And, despite providing the employees with the best of everything, some of them are never satisfied and you have to waste a lot of time dealing with their persistent grievances.
Remote employees work in their preferred space setting and use facilities that they are already accustomed to. So, you do not have to waste your time and resources on them.
With remote employees, you will thus need less office space, fewer computers, and other facilities compared to what your regular employees are using.
- Better Employee Retention
As it turns out, most people change their jobs because they are not happy with the premises or the organizational culture. For some, commuting is also a big problem.
And, the biggest factor is family. Many people quit jobs which distance them from their loved ones.
Remote workers enjoy the privilege of choosing their workspace and staying with their families. They are not bound to spend their workday in unfamiliar environments. And they do not have to encounter politics in the workplace.
As a consequence, remote workers have more reasons to continue longer with the same employers.
Recruitment of the top talent is one of the biggest challenges for an organization. And, businesses don’t want to lose the already performing employees. So, businesses should rather search for ways to make the employees feel comfortable and retain them.
Perceived Challenges of Hiring Remote Employees and How to Address Them
Let us admit, hiring remote teams is not devoid of challenges either. But then better managers have ways to overcome these challenges.
- Legal Problems
Everyone wants to avoid getting into legal complications. There are some associated with remote teams as well.
Businesses are empowered technologically and so do not have to worry about data privacy as much as they did five years ago. Data encryption, cloud services, and remote team collaboration tools prevent most of the trouble.
With an increase in globalization of businesses, the workforce is mostly comfortable culturally. Or, many of them accustom themselves with time and do not have grave issues related to this.
But, this is not enough.
There are laws related to minimum wages, health, safety, and personal information of the employee. You must be well aware of these to be able to manage these issues properly. But, it is not easy for your HR department to understand the laws of so many states or countries.
But, to prevent any serious complications that may arise, one must make sure that these things are not taken lightly.
So, the best way is to consult a legal advisor.
- Time Tracking
Tracking the time of remote workers is by far one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses.
Many of them do not hire remote employees out of the apprehensions associated with monitoring their time and workloads.
But, there are many solutions for this as well. Time tracking tools are available that help businesses monitor the work time of their remote employees.
- Monitoring Work
You do want remote employees. But, sure enough, there are chances that you might end up hiring an underperformer if you are not lucky.
Even in this case, you have the option of continuing with the employee on a performance basis, the way you do with your other employees.
Also, do you really think keeping a watch on the employees makes them perform better? Well, think again!
Most of your good employees do not require supervision all the time and the not so good ones cannot do any better with strict supervision either.
So, it doesn’t matter for a variety of jobs whether the employee is on your premises or not, a performer will still perform and the end results will show that.
- Emotional & Psychological Aspects
Many opine that loneliness and distraction are crucial problems associated with remote employees. This can lower their morale and make them depressed.
And, if you are indifferent towards this, the impact can spill on the performance of the employee. Consequently, it may also spread over to your business.
But, from a broader perspective, most of those people who are comfortable with working from home or co-working spaces opt to work remotely. And, then they do have family and friends to support when they need it the most.
While those who work in offices have to compromise socially and even their family and friends also start ignoring them, eventually.
So, apparently, the problem of social isolation and depression due to the job or work environment is more prevalent among the in-house employees, compared to the remote ones.
- Socializing Among the Employees
Human resource professionals often fear that remote employees would not gel up as comfortably with the co-workers as those working from their premises do.
And, it is true to some extent that such employees are in contact with just the other few who are professionally connected with them and do not even get to meet the others.
They feel alienated which is detrimental for the company as well as the employees.
Companies can solve this problem by conducting occasional company retreats where the remote employees can meet each other and also get to know the other regular employees.
Moreover, technology as a solution to entertainment needs has already reduced social associations even at the workplace.
Most of the workers, even in the break time, keep themselves occupied on social media.
So, it is basically not just an issue with the remote employees. The workforce does not have as much socialization now as it used to have in the pre-smartphones times.
Human resource is one of the most valuable resources for a business as this is the one which appreciates with time. Nevertheless, it manages the other resources.
Admittedly, remote employees are the future of all businesses. And, if you really have to survive the competition, you don’t want to lag behind your competitors in hiring the best talent.
So, it is better to adapt your systems and policies for the change, if you haven’t done it yet.
There are limitations of everything, the way it has advantages. And, the solution is not in avoiding the issue, but in addressing it out in the best possible ways.
And, a global workforce is the pride of any business, so won’t you also want to join the league?!
Do share, if you have any experiences with remote teams.
Jin Markov is a Content Writer with GoodFirms.co, a research firm in the USA. He has an experience of 5 years and has been writing on areas related to technology for small business, SEO, and marketing.