Remote work can bring growth in unanticipated ways
The onset of a global pandemic has seen a dramatic shift to remote working, with every business that possibly can shifting workers to at home or remote location activities. While the situation has been thrust upon businesses, and was not a plan for the majority, they have all quickly learned how effective it can be.
While the circumstances of the fast adoption of remote working is itself nothing to celebrate, it has shone a light on the potential of using a remote team for many tasks. However, even those who are now embracing the concept of remote working are not seeing the full scope of that potential. In fact, there are several advantages that make embracing remote working and using virtual teams beneficial to any business, here are just a few.
A Cost-Effective Solution
There is a simple reality to recruitment when the process becomes location independent. You get more talent, more knowledge and more experience for your money in a global recruitment market. Those looking to work remotely often place a higher value on their freedom and flexibility, and have lower wage expectations to begin with, but with the additional factor of access to talent from around the world, who often are looking for much less income than someone local, and the savings can become increasingly significant.
There are other savings too of course, remote works from other countries do not require the kind of benefits that local workers are entitled to. For instance, U.S. employee health benefits average out at around $15,000 a year, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. For businesses of any size, not having that expenditure is a significant saving on employment costs.
There is something to consider with this though, if you are thinking of using U.S. based remote workers. The IRS has clearly defined guides for determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. In short, if you as a business are only paying for the end result of work, rather than controlling how the work is carried out, then that individual would be an independent contractor. It is important to make sure status is clear before engaging anyone’s services for work.
One area that constantly comes up when discussing remote work is an expected fall in productivity. Most business owners believe that switching to a remote work proves will see work carried out slower. Assuming remote workers spend the day distracted or not performing at their best. The reality is in fact the opposite. Forbes carried out a study that showed 77% of those working from home produce more in less hours than those working in a traditional office environment. The reason? No meetings, conversations with colleagues, office politics and so on.
Instead of thinking that distractions take precedent, what seems to happen with those working from home is that they get the work done as quickly as possible, and then enjoy the rest of their day as they wish. That is the flexibility that so many are looking for from remote working, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when it happens.
Focused Recruitment brings specialized teams
When recruiting for a remote team, you can also be more focused on the skills needed. Internal teams often require a broader skillset to cover a multitude of challenges, but a remote team can be created with individuals dedicated to a specific job. With remote workers often taking on tasks for multiple organizations, they tend to refine their skills into a particular area. For instance, an internal hire may carry out a number of tasks, such as social media, customer service and more, in a remote team, you can enjoy the benefits of a dedicated social media manager and a separate customer service professional.
In fact, you could specialize even more, with one person managing web and social media content, another focusing in email marketing and someone else to create videos to create audience engagement. The level of specialization will depend on your needs, but remote working provides the ability to go as far as you want to, whatever that may be.
Build a quality team, and keep them
As every market becomes more competitive, that applies to recruitment too. Keeping the best talent can be a challenge for internal teams, either through competitors offering improved employment terms or employees deciding to seek new challenges themselves. Remote working offers something different, with a recent study showing that 95% of employers questioned suggesting that their employee retention rate had been improved through remote working.
Why? There are a couple of things that make remote working so attractive. The first is work life balance. This is of particular importance to parents, who can build their own schedule that allows them to get their work done and still have time for their children. No more missing the school play, or having difficulty if a child is sick, the flexibility of remote working allows them to fit everything in.
A business that offers remote working doesn’t always have to compete on remuneration either. As we mentioned earlier, many remote workers value that flexibility and are prepared to earn less money to get it.
All this means that the great employees that you find are more likely to still be with you in 5 years. For long-term growth of your business, this can only be a good thing.
A flexible solution for your changing business needs
As your business grows, your needs change too. If your remote team are independent contractors, then you are not stuck either keeping or firing a team member when that team is no longer needed. You can simply not use them for a while, no redundancy penalties, no hard feelings as this is part of the way they work. Then, when that skillset is needed again, you can go back to those proven to deliver quality work.
This also applies if the worker doesn’t fit with your team, there is no problem with switching them out for a different person with the right skillset, you have the flexibility to assemble the perfect team and use them as and when they are needed assuming the schedule works for all involved.
This flexibility, the ability to lower employment costs and create laser focused teams full of specialized talent gives any business the tools to improve and grow at a faster rate than they ever have before.