What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Remote Team?

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Let’s start by stating the obvious: we’ve entered a strange world regarding how we work. The last few years have proven challenging, especially in the realm of employment. From the forced daily closure of 2020 (regarding the unplanned pandemic that we shall not name) to the resulting shift in cultural norms, maintaining a workplace has shifted drastically. In fact, a recent study by Upwork predicted that 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028. If true, hiring a remote team will become more than just a common practice, it will become the standard.

We have seemingly reached past the point of remote work being a pandemic-related effect. The usefulness of the method has stretched past quarantine, becoming both a desire and benefit. Henceforth, it is time to step back and look at hiring a remote team as a whole. No longer is it a necessity. But is it a positive? What are the advantages and disadvantages in a post-pandemic working world?

As a national staffing agency, we have had to juggle the benefits and drawbacks of remote workers since before 2020. We have seen it modernize from freelance help to Zoom-based daily norms. Let’s break down what we know, what we can learn and what you should do as an employer.

It Isn’t a One-Sided Affair

It’s time that we, as employers, rethink the way things work. We have entered an after phase of the Great Resignation, a time in which employees discovered new values and self-reflection. A renaissance of how workers see their value to companies. An awakening of sorts.

We will quote the above article instead of reiterating our point:

Quote from: Great Resignation – Will Workplace Change Continue?

The issue (with the Great Resignation) is that while one side is asking for change, the other is focusing on the wrong aspects. The majority of employers believe that providing higher wages will build and retain their workforce, which is the opposite of the entire movement. The movement of the Great Resignation begs for employers to see workers as more than just numbers. While higher wages are always nice, they continue to prove the point for which employees are fighting. Workers are more than just paychecks and payroll tabs.

Henceforth, to see a change is to adapt to it. Employers must adhere to the new priorities of their employees. Unfortunately, there are no one-size-fits-all changes to be made. For example, some companies realized that remote work is possible and functional during the quarantine. Continuing to allow this mobile workplace is more beneficial to employee needs than pay raises.

Companies need to listen and be willing to adapt to employee needs. Otherwise, the astounding numbers of the Great Resignation will continue.

Consequently, employees both desire and prefer remote work. A study by CBRE found that 69% of millennials would give up on certain work benefits for a more flexible working space, mainly including remote work. A study by Owl Labs found that 59% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.

If a company wants to maintain a positive workforce and bring in new team members, it seems as if allowing for flexible working environments is a priority. Since the Great Resignation, the employees have the majority of the power (rightfully so). The negotiation is not as one-sided as it was before.

Employers Like Remote Work, Too

Our former point is not to state that the increase in employee power is the only reason for the prevalence of remote work. A significant amount of companies deciding to establish a remote working environment shows that it’s more than just a one-sided affair. Companies are finding that it may be beneficial for them, too.

What are the advantages of hiring a remote team? Will we ever get to the actual point of the article? Let’s find out!

Advantages of Hiring a Remote Team

Employees Will Be Happy

We don’t need much more evidence to back up this advantage. As we noted within the last 1,000 words, the majority of employees now prefer remote work. This does not mean that all employees will be satisfied with a remote setting, but the majority rules. If possible, you can provide a hybrid workplace, allowing for both remote and in-person workers.

Best of both worlds, helping fit a variety of needs. Everyone is happy!

Cost Savings

Despite sounding cynical, let’s attempt to state the obvious. Businesses are about making money. Right? That’s why they were started. That’s the main focus behind everything they do.

Here’s the most significant advantage of hiring a remote team: not having to establish a workplace reduces a plethora of business-related costs. With employees working from home, your company does not have to worry about renting a large office space (if any office at all), providing office supplies, heating and cooling and much more.

For example, Cisco reported saving $277 million per year by placing employees remotely. This was in 2009. Imagine the savings with an entirely-remote workplace now.

More Recruiting Options

That perfect employee may be just too far out of reach to hire. The ideal candidate may be residing on the other side of the country.

Transitioning to a remote workplace allows you to open up your recruitment pool. There are more fish when you transition from a lake to a sea, after all.

Without the limitation of area-based commutes, you can hire anyone, anywhere. There is no need for forking over relocation benefits. You can reach a larger audience without having to convince candidates to move.

Furthermore, this increases the need for national staffing agencies (shameless plug). Hiring companies like Tier2Tek Staffing have a database of prescreened candidates across the country. We can expand that search for you.

Lower Turnover Rates

Keeping a team of exceptional employees can be tough. So much so, that we wrote an entire article regarding employee retention tactics for the new working world of 2022. Not only are remote employees generally happier, but they also avoid the need to leave a job for relocation. If a star employee decides to move across the country, they won’t need to resign from their position with your company.

Increased Productivity

Contrary to popular belief, employees are more productive when they are working from home. No, really. Despite being draped in pajamas and sitting on sofas, remote workers tend to be more prolific. A study by PGI found that 80% of employees feel a greater overall morale when working outside of the office.

Granted, this all depends on the nature of the work. If your company requires hands-on situations, it may be impossible to transition productively. We will get into that later.

Less Change of Toxicity

A toxic workplace can be a quick way to lose fantastic workers. A toxic employee can be a quick way to spoil the workplace, creating for a counterintuitive workforce.

Creating a team of workers is a melding of minds and backgrounds. It can be difficult to put the right people together. If you bring in someone with a negative attitude or drama-causing tendencies, an array of problems can arise. While it’s possible that a toxic employee can still damage a team remotely, it’s less likely.

Without in-person communication, there is a lower risk of employee drama and shared negative energy spreading. There’s a negative side to this, too, but we will save that for the disadvantages. Regardless, the possibility is significantly decreased without employee interactions and water cooler chats.

Enviromentally Friendly

If the ever-growing consciousness of environmental hazards is at the forefront of your worries (as it should be), then there’s a significant sense of elation regarding at-home workers. If your staff is working from home, your staff isn’t commuting via polluting vehicles every day. That’s a big plus for the world we live in.

Sure. This isn’t necessarily a business benefit, but it’s good for the planet your business resides on.

Lower Absentees

Without daily commutes, employee attendance can hit a soaring high. No longer can an employee be late due to morning traffic, unless there is a blockade in the hallway from their bedroom to their home office.

Henceforth, you should see a significant uptick in employee attendance once you switch to remote working. This increase may be more noticeable in large cities where commutes can be interrupted by a variety of factors. Rush-hour traffic is no longer an enraging occurrence.

Time Can Be a Benefit

Here’s a very specific-but-useful benefit for companies that apply. If you have time-sensitive work within your organization, you can hire employees within different timezones.

It is fairly difficult to create an example, but you understand the overall point. If you could see an increase of productivity by having an employee working before your morning starts, then you could hire someone from the other coast, creating for a productive timezone difference.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Remote Team

After the extensive list above, you may be completely sold on transitioning to a remote workforce. While there are a bunch of benefits to hiring remotely, there are also disadvantages.

We aren’t here to sell you on a concept. Let’s break down the dark side of mobile workplaces.

Less Cameraderie

As we stated before, the lack of social interaction between employees can help stave off toxic relationships. Unfortuantely, this goes both ways. Without daily interactions, your team won’t be able to form positive working relationships, either.

While tools like Google Chat and Zoom allow for remote employees to communicate effectively, it’s not the same as meeting face-to-face. Creating a workplace culture is crucial to having successful and efficient labor. It’s a team, after all, not faceless cogs in a machine.

Cutting workplaces can reduce company costs, but you should always factor in relationship-building activities. Your employees need to meet in order to create a successful workplace culture, even if just a few times a year.

Management Issues

Furthermore, the lack of in-person communication can make managing employees difficult. Not only is it difficult to monitor the overall productivity of your employees, but it can be hard to communicate critiques and orders. Ultimately, there needs to be a strong communication process in place before moving completely remote.

If communications issues happen (i.e. internet problems, server issues, or missed calls), how do you plan to correct them? How do you expect to keep the lines of communication open in order to maintain a successful workplace?

Technology is great and ever-improving, but it isn’t perfect. Hiccups will happen.

Training Is Less Effective

In our noted article about employee retention, we discussed the importance of a fantastic onboarding process in order to create long-term workers.

Quote from: Employee Retention Strategies – 10 Successful Tips

The onboarding experience is crucial for setting a standard. Not only does it provide a great first impression for your new hires, but it allows for questions to be smoothed before things get too far.

How many times have you seen an employee quit shortly after the introductory period? This action may not solely be the employee’s fault. Maybe the intention and job were not clear from the onset.

Henceforth, the onboarding process should be clear, concise and inclusive. You should take the time to ease the employees into the role. This is the opportunity to turn an outsider into an insider. Be prepared to answer any question, be clear about roles and objectives and introduce the candidate to the rest of the team. The worker should leave the onboarding experience feeling positive and knowledgeable about the position ahead.

Being tossed directly into the fire can cause a lot of workers to burn out quickly. The training and tone you set from the beginning can dictate the entirety of a worker’s tenure.

Training employees remotely can be difficult. If you are bringing on a plethora of employees at once, it can be hard to give them all the attention they need and deserve. Throw having to communicate via internet on top of these issues, and you have the potential for a disastrous onboarding.

Once again, your company must have a strong plan in place before moving to remote-only. Your training experience needs to be well-thought and implemented correctly. Otherwise, you may end up with disgruntled workers that have no clue what their main objectives are.

Home Office Costs

While going fully remote may save you a significant amount of overhead on offices, it’s important to remember the necessities of your workers. If your company needs to provide workers with in-home computers, phones, or other equipment, remember to factor this into your budget.

Overall, these costs should be much less than the overhead of an office space, but it’s still a cost. Remember that before making your decision. What do your workers need in order to get the job done correctly?

Also, if you need workers to be in-person for some reason (say, an event or important meeting), remember the costs of having to transport them. Having a fantastic employee across the country is useful, but don’t forget that transportation for work-related activities becomes your responsibility.

Technology Requirements

Most businesses may be able to easily transition to the reliance of internet or software-based production, some industries may have a harder time.

If not already implemented into your business, you may have to look into new software, databases and cloud computing to help streamline your production process. Ultimately, this is a critical factor to consider before making the decision to go mobile.

For example, if you have to implement a cloud-data system in order to produce remotely, you may have to hire a completely new role to oversee it.

Some Employees Don’t Like it

While statistics show that a majority of mobile workers find their productivity increasing, we would be naive to think that’s always the case. With the increase in distractions at home, it’s possible that some remote workers see a decrease in productivity. Consequently, that is the risk you take when hiring a remote team.

Furthermore, some employees simply dislike the idea of working from home. Despite writing this article from my home office (will not say whether I am in pajamas), I do find myself yearning for the days of clicking away in a cubicle. It’s a matter of preference. With remote work being a new concept, the old way will die hard. Some people refuse it.

Luckily, statistics show the majority of people like it and prefer it. There are always outliers, though.

Other Statistics About Remote Working

Still not entirely sure if hiring a remote team is for you? That’s okay.

Here is a quickfire of some statistics found since the rise of mobile work in 2020.

  • In 2017, there was a 50% decrease in resignations in companies that allowed working from home. (Stanford)
  • 16% of all companies (globally) are fully-remote. (Owl Labs)
  • 99% of people would choose to work remotely for the rest of their lives, even if the job was just part-time. (Buffer)
  • 75% of people decide to work remotely because of the decrease in distractions. (FlexJobs)
  • On average, companies can save $11,000 per month per employee each year. (Global Workplace Analytics)
  • 17% of companies say that remote work is the biggest key in advancing into other markets and connecting with foreign clients. (Benefits Pro)
  • 85% of companies found an increase in productivity after going fully-remote. (IWG)
  • In a study, 70% of respondents said a remote job would have a considerable improvement or positive impact on their mental health. (FlexJobs)
  • 35% of workers state that taking breaks is the key to productivity while working from home. (EarthWeb)
  • 20% of people say that working from home causes communication issues. (EarthWeb)