The Remote Worker
3.7 million employees – 2.8% of the workforce – now work from home at least half the time.
The idea of remote workers is both alluring and disconcerting. If utilized you can save money, hire the best candidates, and hire faster; however, there are two-sides to every hiring practice. Remote workers are not a match for every organization so it’s important to compare the pros and cons to see if this hiring method will work for you and your team.
Loss of camaraderie. Those working from home miss on the day to day interactions among team members which can cause a feeling of exclusion and distance from the team.
Communication breakdowns. When members of a team aren’t in the same location, communication becomes restricted, feedback gets misinterpreted, and messages get lost.
Inaccessibility to resources. In some cases, necessary data or documentation may not be available externally.
Accountability. A lack of supervision can results in some individuals slacking off and not working as diligently as they would in an office setting.
Cost savings. Depending on where you’re located, hiring someone who isn’t local can save you a lot of money. For example, the yearly cost of a junior developer in the US is $100K, $60K in Germany, and $20K in India.
Efficient. A Stanford study found that employees who work from home work an average of 9.5% longer than those who work in an office (no commute time getting in the way), and are 13% more productive (no office distractions).
Best hire. The ideal candidate may reside hours – or states – away, and the only reason why they can’t join your team is due to a geographical limitation. Employing remoter workers means that you can hire anyone, from anywhere.
One thing is certain, increasing the lines and frequency of communication will be key if you elect to hire remote workers. In addition to heightened communication, below are some ways to ensure a cohesive culture:
The entire team is onboard. Make sure current and future employees are comfortable with the idea of some team members working remotely.
Strong management. Having a strong leader in place to make sure that the lines of communication remain open and constant.
Collaboration tools. Utilizing tools such as Slack, Basecamp, and Dropbox will ensure that projects are properly allocated and stay organized.
Web meetings. Face to face time fosters collaboration, mitigates miscommunication and keeps up morale.
Every organization is unique, so before you decided whether or not to offer a work from home option, make sure weigh the pros and cons to determine the best fit for your company.