Why Remote Work Will Always Outdo the Office
There is a reason why remote work is increasingly popular. According to the article, “Will Half of People Be Working Remotely By 2020?”, this is the future of work. Remote work is disrupting the traditional 9-to-5 grind. If you asked anyone if they would prefer to work at an office, or remote, the majority would probably prefer to telecommute. There are some workers, such as traveling salespeople, who are always away from their organization. Then, there are workers who have the option to work from home a few days per week.
Yet, with advances in technology, such as video calls, cloud-based productivity tools, instant messaging and more—do remote workers really need to hook up to a traditional office space? Based on a US federal government report, around 1,020,034 of its employees were eligible to telecommute. Some companies fear that remote workers won’t get the job done on time. Well, remote workers have dispelled those fears. Read on to learn why.
Flexibility means variety
Remote work isn’t necessarily only one option over the other. Flexible work can be full-time telecommuting, but it can also mean part-time telecommuting or compressed workweeks where the employees work longer hours such as Monday-Thursday, then take Friday off.
Another option is freelance or contract work where the employee chooses projects that fit with their schedule and needs. Companies don’t have to adopt to a 100 percent remote worker policy if it doesn’t make sense for their business.
Nonetheless, it is important to remain flexible with the modern workforce. When a company offers flexible schedules, that means they can attract the best talent from anywhere in the world and improve their bottom line. This is precisely the reason why remote work is the future.
You work remotely every day without realizing it
Whenever you work through a computer screen, anywhere in the world, you are working remotely. As long as you have an Internet connection, you don’t really need to be in the office. In fact, technology has neutralized the benefits of commuting to the office.
There was an age when you needed to commute because you needed to use the phones, you needed access to their customer management systems, and you had to be there to receive training and instructions from your boss.
Today, with video conferencing, cloud-based project management and CRM tools, and instant messaging, all you need is your laptop to get work done. By definition, every single mobile device is a remote working tool.
Take a look at how much time you spend actually talking in real time, to real people. It is much less today than ever in history. Even companies that ban remote work allow it implicitly due to the work habits we have grown accustomed to throughout our culture.
Today, with video conferencing, cloud-based project management and CRM tools, and instant messaging, all you need is your laptop to get work done.
Ease of recruiting
It’s never been easier to hire and train remote workers. For many startups, turning to remote and contract workers helps to increase company bandwidth without having to put a strain on financial resources. The staff can work on a per-project basis. Plus, they can help to free up your internal team for more important projects within your company.
There are many online sites that promote remote and freelance work where applicants will have proof of experience and samples for you to decide whether they are the right fit for your company and upcoming projects. In addition, rating systems are often implemented to help you verify whether your remote worker has a history of completing projects successfully.
Increase productivity and cut costs
Remote workers often work more than 40 hours per week. According to a 9-month Stanford study of 16,000 call center employees, they found that remote workers increased productivity by 13 percent. In a 2015 study, 77 percent of workers conveyed greater productivity working off-site.
Even if a business allowed employees to work from home half the time, they would save an average of $11,000 per year. This is due to reduced overhead and spending on mortgages and leases, janitorial services, office supplies, water expenses, office equipment, furniture, transit subsidies, utilities and any other office perks provided to employees such as a cafeteria or company outings.
Then, there is the savings that comes from higher retention rates. Employees who get to work from anywhere often find higher job satisfaction and improved loyalty than on-site workers. A study by Staples Advantage discovered that remote workers reported 25 percent lower stress levels, 73 percent said they felt healthier, 80 percent reported a better work-life balance and 76 percent said they were more loyal to their company. It costs money to lose employees.
A CAP study found that it costs around 20 percent of the annual salary to lose an employee earning $30,000 to $50,000 per year. To replace an employee earning around $10/hour would cost approximately $3,328. This isn’t chump change, especially for a startup. Hiring remote workers can help reduce employee churn.
Count on fewer sick days
Research shows that employees who work from home are less likely to call in sick. Even if they do get sick during a traditional work day, they have the option to finish tasks over the weekend. This is probably why they are more loyal and have a greater work-life balance. Unscheduled absences cost employers an average of $1,8000 per employee per year. That is a massive cost for businesses interested in trimming down their spending.
Still, remote workers can work while sick. They may not want to go to the office when they have a runny nose, just to prevent their co-workers from getting sick. Plus, remote workers have reduced absences due to events such as doctor’s appointments. They can quickly return to work right after their appointment instead of taking the whole day off.
The same is true if they have a delivery or repair scheduled within a four-hour time frame. They can continue to work while waiting for the repair person to show up.
Lower travel costs
Remote staff don’t have to travel when they can video conference or chat online. The average cost of a domestic business trip is around $949. Of course, overseas trips naturally cost more. Online collaboration tools can help significantly cut down business travel in favor of more efficient and cost-effective options. On the other hand, if your remote workers are in the location of a potential business client, they can meet with them without having to take a plane trip.
How to hire the best remote employees
Now that we’ve established the viability and success rates of remote work, it’s time to learn how to hire the right remote workers for your projects.
- Know where to find them. You must designate the types of remote workers you need, whether they be software developers, marketers, accountants, copywriters, customer service reps or fall into another line of work. It’s easy to post on Craigslist, but that may not have the type of focus you need for narrowing down the most qualified candidates. There are many sites to search from including, but not limited to:
These are just a few of the many options available for hiring remote workers.
- Establish your priorities. You must know what you’re looking for. To get the right candidate, it is critical to define exactly what you want. Since this is remote work, you must have a clear set of expectations from the beginning. You must also allow for open communication. You can’t expect your remote workers to read your mind.
- Offer contracts. Many remote workers enjoy the flexibility of working from home, on a contract basis. They are often not ready to take the plunge into employeeship. They would rather maintain several work contracts with different clients. The good news for you is contracts are less complicated and less expensive. It is much more straightforward than dealing with accounting, HR and management.
- Help them achieve success. If you want your remote employees to give you their best work, you must leave them alone. You can decide whether you want them to use time tracking software. On the other hand, you can set up project milestones with specified deadlines. This way, you can save a lot of time and eliminate the need for daily email updates. Every email you send, during the course of the project, can be an interruption.
Every email you send, during the course of the project, can be an interruption.
With a project management system such as Trello, Basecamp or Asana, your employee can move their project from new to delivered. As a result, you know when it is ready for review. You can then write up any revisions you would like or accept the work as is.
As you can see, hiring remote workers will be an advantage for your company. The right remote workers are out there. All you need are clear expectations, to provide a straightforward pathway to success and to let them do what they do best.