Due to advances in technology, a more globalized workforce and several other factors, more and more employers are hiring remote workers who telecommute when performing their job duties. In fact, statistics from the American Community Survey estimated that telecommuting has risen 79 percent between 2005 and 2012 and now makes up 2.6 percent of the American work force, or 3.2 million workers. If you’re thinking of going this route, here are some pros and cons to better determine if it’s right for your company.
The Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers
- Increased Flexibility – When you’ve got employees scattered throughout the country or the world, you can pick and choose exactly who you want for a job. Rather than having to employ someone on an ongoing basis, you can go on a project-by-project basis and not get locked into a long-term commitment. This is nice because you can find one person who specializes in a particular area and another person who’s an expert in another area. Not only does this make your life more convenient, but it can be a productivity booster as well.
- Low Costs – By hiring remote workers, you can usually expect to reduce your overhead costs. Because these employees don’t work from a brick and mortar establishment, you can save on rent, utilities, etc. If you hire independent contractors as opposed to traditional employees, you can save on benefits. And if you hire individuals from developing countries, you can also minimize your hourly rates as well.
- Access to Top Talent – When you’re limited to employing workers in your immediate area, it’s inevitably going to reduce your talent pool. Even if you live in a large metropolitan area, you’ll still only have access to a fraction of the talent that you would when hiring remotely. By allowing workers to telecommute, you can find the perfect person for a job regardless of their location.
The Drawbacks of Hiring Remote Workers
- Communication and Collaboration Can Suffer – Perhaps the biggest disadvantage is that you simply can’t communicate on the same level remotely that you can in person. When you collaborate over the Internet through email or a messenger, it can lead to miscommunications, and you may not always been on the same page with workers. In some cases, you may also run into language barriers if employing workers in other countries. In turn, this can create complications and delays.
- Potential Time Zone Conflicts – While this probably won’t be a big issue if employees are in the same country, it can be problematic if they’re on the other side of the world. Say you needed to send an urgent message, a worker might not receive it and be able to respond for several hours if you’re multiple time zones apart.
Although hiring remote workers isn’t right for all business owners, it definitely makes sense for many. It really just depends on your specific situation and needs. Examining the pros and cons of this hiring move should help you decide if it’s right for your company.