The Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Employees

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Working remotely comes with a ton of benefits. But what about remote employers? What do they gain by running a remote team? Why did they decide to make their companies remote-first?


There are a number of pros that remote employers experience from hiring remotely (and a few cons, which can be easily overcome):


Pros:


1. Deeper talent pool

Why stick to the shallow end and be limited to only the applicants in your city? By hiring remotely, you can attract qualified talent from all over the world. That means you can choose the best of the best to join your remote workforce and not settle for someone based on convenience.


For example, let's say you're looking to hire a Director of Marketing. If you limit the search radius to your city and surroundings, you could miss out on the ideal candidate who just so happens to be living in Bali. Sure, you could find someone who is "OK" and meets the requirements, but don't you want the absolute best for your company?


2. Cost savings

Remote companies, both established and startups, can gain a huge advantage by hiring remote employees. It can play a crucial role in keeping your business lean and saving money in the following ways:

  • You don't pay for an office, furniture, or equipment

  • You don't need to provide lunches, snacks, or coffee

  • If employees are in other countries, you don't pay for social benefits

  • No need to pay employee commuting costs


3. Increased productivity

Many managers imagine that employees who work remotely spend their days playing video games and lounging around. But honestly, I have heard about this happening in physical office environments more than anything else. In fact, according to a 2-year study from Stanford University, 500 remote workers who participated were even more productive than those who worked in an office.


Here you can see Stanford's Nicholas Bloom describe the study:


On top of that, remote employees are less likely to take sick days or extended vacation time, meaning that they technically end up working more than office-based employees.


4. Better work-life balance

Working remotely improves the quality of life for employees — plain and simple. Without the commute (and thus with more time to dedicate to self-care and family) people have the freedom and flexibility to create their own schedules. They can live their lives and plan when they work according to their own personal preferences, which results in decreased stress and increased happiness.


According to OWLLabs, people who work from home at least once per month were 24% happier at their jobs, so just imagine how much happier full-time remote workers are!

When employees are happier it increases their morale, loyalty, and job satisfaction. This means employee turnover will go way down and remote employers will be able to retain talent long-term. Companies that allow remote work have 25% less turnover than companies that don't, also according to OWLLabs.


Cons:

1. Distractions

Think about it — there are so many more distractions in an office than when working remotely:

  • Loud coworkers

  • Spontaneous breaks with colleagues

  • Unnecessary meetings

Just think about Google's and Facebook's offices. They have distractions up the wazoo! Ping pong, pool tables, video games, comfy couches to nap on... and open space with 30 other people certainly doesn't help one to focus.


When your employees work remotely, they do so in an environment that they designed specifically for them to work in — one where they will be comfortable and be able to concentrate to the fullest.


2. Communication challenges

While colleagues coming to your desk at random to have a chat can be a huge distraction for office workers, sometimes it can be better for direct communication regarding work-related issues. You might also think that face-to-face communication is better for understanding each other better. You can read facial expressions and body language.


These challenges, however, can be overcome with today's advanced collaboration technologies, such as Slack, Zoom, and even Skype. Even so, your remote employees need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills (but wouldn't they need those if they worked in an office, too?)


Another communication challenge that comes with managing remote teams is timing. Running a distributed workforce means interacting with people in various time zones. When one employee is going to sleep another might just be finishing breakfast. This doesn't have to be a huge issue, but effectively coordinating between team members is crucial. Maybe one person has to take their kid to soccer practice and the other has an early morning doctor appointment. It can be a challenge to plan meetings and deliver work when it is convenient for everyone, but it can be done through positive collaboration.


Language barriers could be another issue. If the best developer you can hire happens to be Russian and her direct manager is British it could be difficult for said manager to convey ideas, provide instructions, and answer questions — even if the developer has a decent level of English.


Здравствуй, Google Translate!


3. Dependence on stable internet and electricity

Just because you hire remote employees doesn't necessarily mean that they will be located in a rural jungle or a deserted beach where there are constant power outages. They could live in a huge metropolis or a suburban neighborhood.


Either way, remote employees must have access to the internet in order to get their work done and communicate with colleagues. It's just a fact of the remote work life.


Remote workers should already have a net stick (a mobile broadband USB stick) as a backup for when their internet goes down. They can also go to a restaurant, coffee shop, or co-working space that has WiFi.


Apart from that, there isn't too much you can do to get around this, so you'll just have to be patient. In any case, the power outages don't usually last that long — and your remote employees are so good at what they do that it's worth the wait!



The Pros Outweigh the Cons

Hiring remote employees comes with its fair share of pros and cons. However, the pros are so beneficial and the cons can easily be overcome. Remote recruiting can help you find the cream of the crop, reduce costs, increase productivity, and boost employee morale - all of which will push your company in the right direction towards achieving success. In the end, it is up to you to decide if running remote teams is right for your company.


If you are ready to hire remote employees, contact us at RemoteScouts today. We are a boutique remote company consulting firm offering remote hiring services for leading companies from a wide range of industries. We can't wait to hear from you and help you find the ideal remote candidates for your business.