Last year Forbes predicted remote hiring will be among the few leading workplace trends for 2017. Across the globe, employers are opting for remote hiring to reap the benefit of a flexible workforce. Remote workers are now an important part of any organization’s workforce. Huffington Post states that successful startups have embraced 100 % remote work. Increasingly companies are understanding that working remotely is effective and breeds innovation.
Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers
Jobs are now shifting, it is moving beyond the office premises to the digital world. Global Workplace Analytics states that since 2005, remote work has increased by almost 103 percent and a 6.5 percent increase since 2014. With remote workers, onboard, companies have better access to a talented workforce. Various studies prove that benefits of remote hiring are gradually attracting companies across the globe. Key benefits of having a remote employee or team are
- No Location-Dependency – Gone past are the days when you had to hire workforce who had physical access to office infrastructure. Now you can have the best talents, who shares your vision and passion, irrespective of their location. Real-time communication with the remote team across different operating systems and devices is easy. Advanced technologies like phone calls, video conferences or chats and messengers have made it easy. ConnectSolutions study states that almost 80 percent remote workers feel that they are connected to co-workers with a unified communication system.
- Attract Self-Driven Talents – Global Workplace Survey reveals that approximately 53 percent remote workers work beyond business hours, whereas approximately 28 percent in-office workers tend to do so. Usually, a remote employee is passionate about the work and has the ability to manage it deftly. Working in remote locations help them to bring out the best in them and increases their productivity. Research shows that unplanned leaves are comparatively less among the remote workers.
- Diverse Global Workforce – Roping in talents from different locations means including diverse culture in your work environment. It helps in identifying unique solutions to various issues and reaching out to the global audience. Your workforce will not be segregated by the global boundaries. Since there will be employees working in different time zones, you will have a team working for you around the clock. This will increase productivity, ensure 24/7 functionality and uninterrupted customer service.
- Cost-effective – Remote hiring is economical, it cuts the cost and time of employees required for traveling and to and from the destination. Research findings state that remote hiring reduces the expenses by almost 60 percent. Companies can cut down their overhead costs like electricity bills, furniture, office supplies and other services. Remote workers also reduce the cost of hiring in terms of salary and perks.
- Less Employee Turnover – Recruitment is a costly affair- companies have to shell out a huge amount of money to replace employees, hire new workforce and train them. With remote workers, companies can improve the employee retention rate and reduce employee turnover rate.
Remote hiring broadens the chance of companies to explore new opportunities. This form of hiring is mutually beneficial and attracts both employees and employers. Few companies that offer work from home and rely on remote teams are Mozilla, GitLab, Buffer, Zapier, InVision, and Clevertech.
Few Challenges faced by Companies
All is not rainbows and sunshine with remote hiring! Organizations face challenges while dealing with a remote team. If you encounter any of these problems it is wise to tackle the same at the earliest.
1. Bonding with the Team – When employees work from an office setup it is likely that they have a bonding. Speaking with each other, sharing opinions help in improving trust and rapport among team members. But, this is hard to achieve with the remote teams. There is no or little chances of teammates to bond or know each other.
What to do? Communication is a must! Break the ice. Ensure that all employees attend the virtual meetings and understand each other’s responsibility. Let the remote workers know their teammates as it will create a feeling of cohesiveness among the employees. The mutual trust and bonding between workers will garner long-term benefits for the organization as a whole.
2. Difference of Time Zone – It’s difficult to be on the same page when the teammates are working in different time zones. Scheduling meetings at times seem to be difficult as the working hours do not overlap. In such scenarios, there is a disconnect among the employees and no real-time communication.
What to do? Start with scheduling meeting, especially for daily updates, in time slots that will work for all. A time zone converter can be handy for the managers. Or you can send emails and comments at the appropriate time so that the coworkers do not have to wait long.
3. Receiving Feedback – Without feedback, it is difficult for employees to assess the progress of the project and personal improvement. With remote workers in team, immediate feedback is often not possible and this may be constrained in the workflow.
What to so? Conduct retrospective meetings as it will identify the issues that went wrong and scope of improvement. With regular meetings, you will get feedback constantly.
There are different tools like GoogleDocs, Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack, and Confluence, to help companies who have teams distributed in remote locations. These tools will help you to overcome different challenges that companies usually face with remote teams. Strategic planning and organizing will help in reaping the maximum benefit.
Hiring of Remote Workers
The above-mentioned challenges should not deter companies from hiring a remote employee. Not every employee is suitable for working remotely. Remote employees work independently. While hiring, look for the skills like trustworthiness, proficiency in written communication, self-driven and employees should have the ability to prioritize task. Depending on the role, plan the interview process, include video conference, virtual meetings and other forms of real-time communication methods to assess the applicant. Ensure that you and the remote workers share the same vision for a healthy and positive working relationship.