It’s common for companies to have at least one employee who works remotely.
After all, communication with people from all over the world has never been easier. And many employers are embracing the unique benefits of hiring remote workers.
Of course, hiring remotely does have its own set of difficulties. Maintaining clear communication can be difficult when the members of your team aren’t all in the same office.
Training new remote employees may also present its own set of challenges. You will also potentially have to accommodate different times zones and public holidays.
As an employer, you will also be trusting in your remote workers to use their time productively, without your direct supervision. But the benefits of hiring remote employees can prove to far outweigh the difficulties, depending on the type of business you run.
If your company is still in startup stages, hiring remote employees can be especially beneficial, as it can cut costs and broaden your network across the world.
My company recently hired a remote worker for my team and it has been working out very well for us. Our company is based in Toronto, Canada and he lives in Kansas City, USA. There is a minor one hour time difference between us, not a big enough difference to cause conflict.
But even if the time difference were bigger, I’m confident that he would still be a good hire because he is passionate about his work, is highly productive, and is eager to maintain daily communications with the other members of our team. Because of that, we trust him to be productive and to be a contributing, involved member of the team despite not physically being in the office with us.
Here are six reasons why it’s good to hire remote workers.
1. Your Talent Doesn’t Have to Be Location-Dependent
Before communication technology was so advanced, the talent you hired was dependent on who would be able to physically get to your office. Now you can hire the best talent, regardless of location. Granted, you won’t have the same kind of company culture as you would if everyone shared the same workplace, but that doesn’t mean your company culture will be inferior to a traditional one.
Think about it: you’re bringing together people from all over the place who share the same vision and passion. That will make for a strong team. And as long as the members of your team maintain regular communication with each other via video chat, messenger, and phone, there’s no reason why they can’t have a sense of camaraderie despite the distance.
2. You Will Attract Driven Self-Starters
Odds are that your remote employees didn’t grab your attention through a traditional job application process. That being said, the tenets of a good job interview process will still apply: making sure the employee demonstrates a passion for their work, seeing that the employee is knowledgeable in their field, seeing that they are able to communicate effectively.
The difference is that you will likely see proof of these characteristics before even formally interviewing with them. You might have come across their Twitter when searching industry-related tags; you might have read an article they wrote or an app that they designed. In many cases, remote workers make a first impression through their work, and then the interview discussion comes afterward.
The type of person who is able to work remotely, manage their own time, and put themselves out there enough to be noticed is the type of motivated worker you probably want on your time. Odds are they are passionate about their work who like to work on projects in their own time anyway.
3. You Will Have a Team With Different Perspectives
Having employees on your team who work in different countries and cultures introduces variety into your team. This comes in handy for finding unique solutions to problems and is especially handy when trying to reach out to a broader audience.
Take my team, for example, we were trying to come up with data-driven content ideas for our blog and our remote team member suggested a piece about college football. Now, we get a lot of American media in Canada, but college football isn’t generally on most Canadians’ radar. But seeing as how our user base is mostly American, a piece on college football would probably appeal to a good portion of our users. Having that American perspective is very useful.
4. You Can Have People Working in Different Time Zones
Having employees who can work around the clock means that someone will always be able to update social media, respond to customer inquiries, work on cases, and anything else that might need your attention at all hours of the day. Your team could also potentially work around the clock, so production never stops. While different time zones require careful scheduling, the benefits can lead to great customer satisfaction.
5. It Can Be Cost Effective for the Employer and the Employees
Hiring remote workers can be economical for both the employer and the employee. According to an article on the PGi blog, the average business could save up to $11K per employee, per year if employees telecommuted even part time. What’s more, the average real estate cost per employee is $10K per year. And companies with telecommuters report 63 percent fewer unscheduled absences than companies without them.
Employees save as well. Cutting out the cost of a commute for employees not only takes the strain off their wallet but also frees up the time that they would otherwise spend traveling to and from work.
6. Workers Can Find Spaces Where They Are More Productive
The commute to work can be a huge source of stress for workers, especially of their commute is long and require mixed modes of transportation. According to a PGi report, 82 percent of remote workers report that telecommuting reduces stress, and 80 percent report that telecommuting improves their morale.
When a worker doesn’t have to show up to an office, they can choose the spaces where they are most comfortable and productive. If they want to work in a Starbucks one day, that’s fine. If they want to work on their couch another day, that’s fine too.
How to Find Remote Workers Who Fit Your Company
If you can accommodate remote workers, you’re greatly broadening your opportunities for finding great hires. Because many job seekers, particularly Millennials, are looking for jobs that will provide them flex time, more people than ever before will be open to remote opportunities.
Pay attention to who is active in your industry. If someone posts something interesting on social media, or if they write an article that you find valuable, reach out to them. Even if they're not looking for a full-time gig, they may be interested in doing some freelance projects for you, or collaborating on a project together. Either way, it doesn't hurt to reach out.
Another strategy is to go on a freelance site like Upwork and look for candidates there. Hire them for a couple of freelance jobs and if you work well together, consider offering them a place on your team. Many freelancers work remotely, so they will be comfortable with that work setup.
Regardless of how you find candidates, make sure to schedule some face-time communication before you consider hiring them. It's important that you get a sense of who the person is and whether they would be a good cultural fit, the same as you would with an on-site candidate.
Embrace the variety that a connected world has to offer and build your team based on a shared vision and an eagerness to do great work.