A company made up of telecommuters is agile and lightweight. Both business owners and workers can find reasons to love being part of a mobile workforce.
But there are some downsides that mean telecommuting is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Telecommuting Pros and Cons
It's not all bunny slippers and lazy mornings. Remote workers are a real workforce that support businesses of all kinds. But the arrangement doesn't work for everyone. Check the lists below to help you decide if hiring remote workers is your best bet.
Companies with remote workers have the ability to be much more streamlined and agile than companies where everyone has to meet at the same place and time day after day. Here are some reasons why telecommuting makes sense.
Benefits for You
- Lower overhead costs
- With fewer people in the office, you have fewer tangible costs to deal with, such as office space, office equipment, and supplies
- Expand your workforce beyond your zip code
- By expanding your recruiting reach beyond your backyard, you can find highly skilled workers who just may live a state or two over
- Increase company agility
- A company with a mobile workforce can provide quality products and services in ways a brick-and-mortar 9-5 company can't
Benefits for Your Employee
- Greater likelihood of schedule flexibility
- In some cases, working from home can mean working hours that make the most sense to each employee
- Zero commute time
- This means less time sitting in traffic, and less money spent on fuel or public transportation
- Easier work/life balance
- Some telecommuters find working remotely an easier way to balance work and personal life
There's a reason brick-and-mortar businesses are the standard. There's something about workers meeting in one place that can make it easier to collaborate and get work done. Here are some reasons why remote workers may not be the best option.
Hardships for You
- Loss of oversight
- Depending on the morals and work ethic of your employees, you may be paying for more work than you're getting
- Communication hiccups
- When workers are scattered across the globe, communication can be trickier if email isn't everyone's forte, not to mention time zone differences
- Hiring challenges
- Though a more varied pool to draw from is a benefit, the first stages of hiring can be tricky without easy in-person meetings
Hardships for Your Employee
- Loss of overall company culture
- Working remotely means employees can't participate in the all-important on-site culture
- Harder work/life balance
- Yes, we said work/life balance was easier a few bullet points up -- but working from home can mean it's harder to leave work "at the office" when the office is your home
- More tax write-offs to track
- More tax write-offs: hooray! More paper to track: boo! A home office can rack up a lot of receipts that need processing
So what's the final verdict?
Do the pros outweigh the cons of having a gaggle of telecommuters working for your company? It will all depend on your company's culture and your overall business goals and vision.
If you're considering hiring a few remote workers, try it out with your current on-site team first. Have workers clock in from home a few days a month and assess things from there.