The popularity of remote workers has increased tremendously over the last decade. It has gone from management fad to standard organizational practice to depend on a remote workforce across numerous industries and services. The rapid evolution of digital and information technology has contributed to this development. It is easier for employees to communicate with one another over long distances and to coordinate the completion of tasks in real time. These advances in technology have made establishing remote workforces easier, but they are not the main reason why this organizational strategy has become so common.
The benefits of a remote workforce are real and measurable for employers. Here are just a few of them:
You want the best people in your company. But what if the best persons for particular jobs do not live in the city, state, or country in which you are based? Not everyone-especially highly skilled and sought-after professionals-is willing to pick up and move to one of your offices. Establishing a strong telecommuting work system allows you to expand the pool of talent you can recruit from. This is true whether hiring for transcription services, computer programming, or a number of other specialized skills. Simply put, it lets you find the talent you’d otherwise be unable to reach.
When you limit your workforce to a geographic area, you also limit the extent and rate at which you can grow your company. A remote workforce allows you to include the ideas and perspectives of individuals in different parts of the country and the world. It gives you a crucial means for understanding how your products and services impact and are viewed by different groups of people. This, in turn, gives you the ability to modify what you offer so that it sells in each locale.
Having a workforce that is distributed all over the world gives you the means to increase the amount of work you take on. A remote workforce means there is always someone working somewhere. The way you set deadlines, delivery dates, and production targets need not be limited by a 9-to-5 workday, thereby boosting productivity virtually overnight.
Working remotely also benefits employees. Here are some of the advantages they will enjoy:
It is expensive and highly disruptive for people to move from one place to another in pursuit of the next job. Working remotely gives employees the opportunity to settle in a community that is right for them and their family. It will also save them the hassle and stress of having to spend hours on the road driving to and from work.
Not everyone is a morning person. Some people do not function well before noon. Others are just the opposite. Their peak hours begin before daybreak, and they can do nothing in the late afternoon. Telecommuting allows each of your employees to work according to their own routines and habits of mind.
One of the best advantages of telecommuting is that it allows people to balance their family lives with their work lives. They have the flexibility to schedule work-related tasks and activities around family commitments.
There are also downsides of working remotely. The most significant disadvantage is that it limits the ability of people to meet in person. Although it is now possible to hold virtual meetings, this is not the same as colleagues having lunch together and enjoying the everyday banter that creates a workplace social life.
Further downsides include overwork and the ability to separate the workspace from the home space. Indeed, the work-life balance counted as an advantage above can be flipped on its head. Working remotely can lead to an inability to switch off from work. Employees can find themselves constantly checking their phone and inbox, which can lead to premature burn-out.
However, in the end, the bottom line continues to favor the push for a more remote workforce. Like with previous shifts in the workforce dynamic over the years, the kinks will get ironed out and improvements will alleviate most of the negatives. Just give it some time.