More and more of the global workforce is working remotely: about 70% work from somewhere other than their office at least once a week. With so many people choosing to work remotely, it has to make business sense, but unfortunately, it’s not perfect. Here are the pros (and a few cons) of hiring employees to work from home.
- Expand your talent pool. One of the biggest advantages to considering remote employees is the far broader range of candidates you can tap into. If you’re looking to fill a specialized role and choices are sparse in your area, you can open up the position to candidates across the country—even around the world. This means increased workplace diversity, potential for greater innovation, and access to better cultural fits for your business.
- Increase engagement. According to SHRM’s 2016 Employee Benefits report, 60% of companies offer their employees opportunities to telecommute, but some businesses aren’t so sure. Remote workers are often stereotyped as lazy and disorganized, but research shows that they may actually be more motivated and productive than their office counterparts. This is due in no small part to today’s worker seeking flexibility in their careers. Working remotely allows employees to get work done when they are most focused and achieve the all-important work/life balance that is receiving increasing attention from management and employees alike.
- Lower overhead costs. As anyone with access to their business’s finances knows, operational costs are far from negligible, especially when it comes to shared office spaces. Whether your company has 15 or 5,000 employees, there’s rent to pay, coffee to buy, and energy bills to consider. When employees work from home, much of the financial burden of their work spaces is taken off of the employer, allowing for a better bottom line and reallocation of those funds into other strategic business initiatives.
- Be greener. Going green is no longer a fad or a statement. For organizations and individuals alike, taking steps to be more environmentally friendly has become the norm, and allowing employees to work remotely can significantly lessen your business’s carbon footprint. Removing commutes from your employees’ day-to-day means fewer vehicles on the road and smaller offices means less energy consumption, making your business practices more earth-conscious overall.
- Less effective collaboration. One concern that many businesses have about remote work is its effect on teamwork and collaboration. It’s hard to get working times to line up between time zones, and when personal preference is taken into account, team members might miss each other entirely, even when working on the same project.
- Less personal interaction. Have you ever stopped to think about how much you interact with your coworkers at the office? From saying hi at the front desk to conversations in the break room, for many office workers, the work day is full of personal interaction, and it’s easy to take for granted. When working remotely, however, all of those opportunities are removed, and as a result, the job can get lonely. Depending on the personality and preferences of the worker, this could lead to reduced morale.
- Inconsistent communication. If you don’t have protocols and expectations in place for how often your remote workers should check in with team members and managers, it’s easy for communication to fall by the wayside. Without communication, how do you know if they’re performing up to standards, if they’re overwhelmed or need more work? Because you can’t physically drop in, consistent communication is key to successfully managing a remote employee.
Really, all of the drawbacks of hiring remote employees come down to that last point: communication. If everyone in your organization can communicate effectively and often, regardless of their physical location during work hours, remote work becomes much more feasible, and can actually be beneficial to your business. Unified cloud communications can help you connect your employees, no matter where they are, and drive a more productive and collaborative workplace. From video conferencing to instant messaging with presence indicators, everyone can find a way to communicate that works for them, and consequently, make working remotely work for everyone.