According to a report released by the US Census, 5.2% of the US workforce was working from home in 2017. This is around 8 million people. It’s easy to understand why employees like to work from home. Who wouldn’t like the opportunity to wake up an hour later, skip the morning commute, answer emails in sweatpants, being able to play with their children or dog during the day and many other benefits?
However, some companies are a little suspicious about hiring employees to work remotely. They may not trust that workers will be as disciplined about their tasks without the office environment. They can feel a loss of control when their team is not seated next to them, where they can be supervised. Managers may also want the option of communicating with their team on a daily basis, to conduct check-ins and brainstorming, and feel that allowing remote work interferes with that process.
In reality, hiring a remote team has never been easier or more efficient. First, due to recent developments in technology, the entire recruiting process has been made much smoother. There are many video interviewing tools, such as Skype and Zoom, as well as online application forms and skills testing platforms. Second, once the employees are hired, team management tools like Asana and Trello help ensure that everyone knows what they are working on and that deadlines are kept. Finally, hiring remote workers can actually contribute to your business in the long term. Here are the main benefits that will make you look outside of the walls of your office and the boundaries of your city:
1. Expand Your Pool of Talent
If you’re only hiring employees who work within a certain radius from your office, your choices are limited. This is especially true if your offices are not located in major metropolitan areas, like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. If you want the best programmer or designer, for example, and are willing to hire remotely, you will be able to find many more people who fit the bill, even in different countries around the globe.
If you are looking for a unique skill set, such as bilingual employees, sometimes it will be easier to find them remotely, in the country that speaks that language. The possibility to work from home also appeals to people who find it hard to get to the office every day, but are otherwise highly talented, such as people with disabilities, single parents, or people who care for elderly parents. Give them the opportunity to advance in their career, while you benefit from their expertise.
2. Save Money for Both Your Business and Your Employees
Hiring a remote team can be a sound financial decision for your business. As mentioned above, this allows you to hire employees from all over the world. A major benefit of that is that you don’t necessarily have to pay them US rates — just make sure that you meet the standards in their country. Another big saving you have with the remote team is with the office space. Real estate is expensive, especially in big cities, but let’s face it, it’s expensive everywhere. If your entire team works from their homes, you don’t only save on rent, you also save on utilities, office supplies, furniture, and cleaning services.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, employees calling in sick can cost up to $1,800 per employee per year. But when your team works from home, they tend to do this much less, as minor colds don’t feel as debilitating when you don’t have to go outside. Finally, working from home is not just good for your company’s pocket, but also your workers’ bank account. Both gas and public transportation are not cheap, and a survey from ConnectSolutions found that the average remote worker saved about $4,600 per year when working from home.
3. Increase Employee Productivity
Remember that fear employers have about workers not completing tasks because they are not supervised? It turns out that it’s actually the opposite, and remote employees are more productive than those who work from the office. A survey from Global Workplace Analytics found that 53% of those who work remotely are prone to put in overtime, compared to 28% of office workers.
This is probably due to the fact that they are not thinking about their commute home and race to finish everything before it gets too late in the day. They can also work when they truly feel productive, as opposed to the mandated 9 to 6. Other reasons for them to remain focused stem from lack of distractions from colleagues, unnecessary meetings, office chatter and more.
4. Retain Employees for Longer Periods of Time
Did you know that two-thirds of workers would consider taking on a new role if it had a better commute? For that reason alone it makes sense that most employees will prefer working remotely, and those will also remain with your company for a longer stretch of time, as they can save time and money when skipping the commute.
In addition, most of the millennial workforce look at working from home as a real benefit, as they put a large emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility. By allowing them to work remotely you ensure they are satisfied with their work conditions and are retained for longer. Replacing an employee that earns $50,000 per year can cost you up to 20% of that salary, so retention is basically money in the bank.
5. Help the Environment
Your decision to hire remotely is not just good for your company and your employees, it also makes a real difference for the environment. By preventing your employees from commuting you can save about 54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and cut back on the use of 640 million barrels of oil a year. On top of that, about 24% of employees state they would agree to a pay cut of up to 10% in order to help the environment.