Pros And Cons Of Working Remotely
Whether you are growing your business, looking to add a new team member, or filling an open position, finding an employee that has all of the qualifications you desire is a daunting task. Typically, the easiest way to hire for you and your potential employees is to hire locally. If you live in a large city, there is a good chance that you will find someone qualified for the position that also fits your company culture and values. However, if you live somewhere with a smaller applicant pool, it can be difficult to find your ideal candidate. Hiring remote employees, or allowing current employees to work remotely, is becoming increasingly common. There are many perks in addition to the challenges of having remote employees.
Challenges Of Remote Workers:
One of the biggest perks of having employees come into the office is creating a sense of community. Many companies offer employee lunches, team building events, professional development seminars, company volunteer days, and other activities designed to bring everyone together. This helps boost company morale and allows employees to build relationships with one another. If you opt to hire remote workers, this is not really an option. While you can host conference calls and retreats, if everyone is spread out it is more difficult to host fun bonding events.
Another big challenge to having remote workers is ensuring that they have what they need to do their job correctly at home, rather than at an office. Most companies provide employees with one or several computer monitors, their own desk, and whatever office supplies they need. While working remotely, it is up to the employee to make sure they have their own comfortable space, to keep up with their office supply level, and to communicate with their employer when something is going wrong with their computer or other devices provided to them. When everyone is in one space, it is easier to keep tabs on everyone and their needs.
Working from home can be distracting. Especially for families with children, it can be hard to focus with a lot going on in the background. While this can be combated by setting up an office, you need to have employees that you trust to focus on their work during the hours they are supposed to be at their desk.
Pros Of Remote Workers:
The biggest and most obvious pro is that allowing your employees to work remotely dramatically expands your applicant pool. Hiring remote employees expands your search to national and potentially international candidates. This also helps eliminate relocation assistance costs for both your company and the employee. In addition, you cut the cost of renting or purchasing office space for your employees by allowing them to work in their own space.
Often, remote employees have increased productivity. Part of the reasoning behind this is that they are able to work in an environment that is best for them and it is much more time efficient. For example, an employee who is working remotely cuts out the commute time to work and is able to work around appointments rather than needing to take time off. This allows them to maximize productivity during the time they save. Employees who are working remotely have also been shown to over-compensate with their tasks to prove that they are actually working without direct supervision. It can also help boost communication between coworkers, as they have to be more conscious of their contact with others. Allowing remote work also helps increase employee retention, as they would not need to find a new job in case of a move.
Things To Consider:
Before you allow your employees to work remotely or hiring someone who is already remote, take a few things into consideration. First, how are his or her communication skills? If they are hard to get a hold of, do not seem responsive, or are unwilling to collaborate via phone or video calls, they are probably not a good candidate. Second, how self-motivated are they? While most employees appreciate some direction, if they need to be micromanaged they are not likely to truly get work done. Lastly, how tech savvy are they? Someone who is comfortable using the technology needed to do their job will probably be fine working on their own, while someone who is still learning or not yet confident in their skills will do better in an office where they can seek help more quickly.
Bottom line, remote working is becoming very common and popular. While it might not be the best fit for every company and employee, it is an excellent option to consider for increased productivity and overall work-life balance. And if you are not ready to go all in on remote employees, try testing out a few days a week and see how it benefits your company.