Years ago, hiring remote workers was the rare exception, and definitely not the rule. While traditional, on-site staff may still be the norm, there’s no denying that the popularity of remote working is growing exponentially.
With the advancements that have been made in technology, working remotely is easier than it’s ever been, as long as the employee has a decent Internet connection. But that doesn’t mean that hiring remote staff is always a good idea.
Whether you’re deciding whether or not to allow your employees to occasionally work from home, or you’re considering hiring a new person in an entirely different locale, you’ll want to take into account the pros and cons of hiring remote workers. Here are some of the most significant ones.
- Remote workers could end up saving you money. If you’re hiring freelancers or subcontractors, for example, you will not have to provide benefits like you would for a full-time employee, and your tax expenses could be less as well. Plus, a smaller on-site staff could mean that you don’t need as much office space, so you could downsize to a cheaper office (or go totally remote and not have an office at all). Finally, when people are able to work remotely, they might be less likely to call in sick, since they don’t have to leave their houses.
- Flexibility is appealing to employees. The ability to work from home, even if it’s only once in a while, is a strong draw. This could make it easier to recruit top talent or keep the great talent you already have. Speaking of, if your best employee has to move, a remote working arrangement would allow them to continue working for you, no matter where they live.
- Hiring remote workers widen your talent pool. Finding the right person to fill a position is hard, especially if you’re restricted by location. If you are open to hiring remotely, you’ll have a bigger pool of candidates to choose from, upping your chances of finding someone with the skill set you are looking for.
- Remote working is a greener solution. Cutting out daily commutes can be a big step towards a greener company footprint. If this is a priority to your company, remote working is a good option.
- You can get more “working” hours. Employees that work remotely don’t always follow a 9 to 5 schedule. They may be willing to work early mornings or late nights, which could be extremely useful if you sometimes have problems coming up at odd hours. It’s also a way for your company to be productive even when some of your staff is off the clock. If your remote employees are in a different time zone, that could stretch your “hours of operation” even further.
- Remote workers are more difficult to train. It’s one thing to be able to sit down with a new employee and walk them through all your systems and procedures. It’s another to have to explain it to them over the phone or through email. Training remote workers is often much less efficient and can be frustrating for both parties.
- You might be putting your culture at risk. Culture is important to the success of your business, and when a group of people are in the same office working together, it’s easier to be deliberate about building that culture. With remote workers, you have to be extra careful to make sure they are exhibiting your company’s values, even if they aren’t at the office.
- Communication is slower and less efficient. A face-to-face conversation can be over quickly. A back-and-forth email convo? Not so much. While technology like video chats can make this easier, that isn’t always an option, and having to schedule every phone call or chat can get tiresome. Emails can be slow and frustrating, plus certain nuances might get lost in translation.
- It’s harder to keep an eye on a remote worker. Literally, of course, but also figuratively. Because of the slow communication mentioned above, it isn’t always easy to stay on top of a remote employee’s progress and productivity. If your business relies heavily on regularity and accuracy, you might have a harder time ensuring those things when working with a remote employee.
Remote workers are becoming more and more commonplace, and your employees might love having a remote working option. On the other hand, it may prove more trouble than it’s worth. Review these pros and cons and decide what is best for you, your staff, and your company.
No matter where you’re at in your talent search EDI Staffing can help. We specialize in contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent staffing for IT, EDI, as well as a variety of HR/Admin positions. Contact us today and find qualified talent the first time around.
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