Should I hire remote workers?
When you need more manpower but don’t have the office space to accommodate extra staff members, hiring remote workers could be the way to go. Completing their work from home or another location, they could be short-term freelancers or hired on a permanent basis. But many business owners are still unconvinced by the idea of off-site team members.
The idea that in order to be effective, or to be part of ‘the team’, an employee must be located in your office is becoming outdated. Technology such as shared online documents and video calling means management – both personal management and work management – can be effective over long distances.
What’s more, companies are often now offering on-site employees the flexibility to work from home, in order to assist with a healthy work-life balance. So what are the pros and cons?
Negating the need to provide office premises for all your staff, which incurs costs such as renting or purchasing property, heating and lighting, paper-and-ink office supplies, running facilities and more, hiring remote workers boosts your workforce without as many overheads. As well as the benefits to your bank balance, being a remote employer without bricks-and-mortar premises is far more environmentally friendly too.
Studies have shown that a telecommunicating home workforce can be more productive than in-office workers. They aren’t distracted by chatty co-workers, and the lack of any commute saves time, meaning workers will be well-rested and ready to start work. What’s more, sickness absence rates are likely to drop as the employee doesn’t need to trek into work.
- Talent scope
Have you ever thought that the geographical location of your business may be filtering out talented potential employees? Taking this limitation out of the equation means you can advertise the role nationally, or even internationally, and hire the person who is best at their job – no matter where they are based.
If you hire a freelancer, how can you be sure they are prioritising your project? Well, you can’t. And since they are within their rights to take on multiple jobs you may have legitimate concerns about the quality of their work and the regularity with which they are available to communicate with you. However this is far less of an issue with full-time staff members, who will be contracted to work a certain amount of hours per week. It’s reasonable to expect to be able to communicate with them during core hours, and you can work together to create a contact schedule.
Not being in the same location as your employee may lead you to worry about how you will manage them effectively. However it goes without saying that some employees are more reliable than others, even within an office environment, so this one probably just comes down to thorough hiring practices and good management techniques, examples of which can be found online.
Sending your work outside of the office may spark concerns relating to confidentiality, if private data will need to be accessed by the worker. Technological options mean confidential information can be password-protected and encrypted using a variety of methods, and you could provide the employee with a company laptop acting as the only way they can connect to key systems.
Ultimately, only you can decide whether hiring remote workers is right for your business. Wherever your workforce is based, ensure you have the correct Employers’ Liability protection in place by talking to our experienced advisers today.