In the traditional work environment, jobs are based on employees being tied to a time and location to fulfill their duties. Working with remote employees removes that restriction and it can have pros and cons.
Despite the wide array of communications software available, it can be difficult for remote employees to know who to approach when they have a question or problem with an assigned task. It can also be difficult to have all remote employees working within one time zone, making connection sporadic or inconvenient.
On the plus side, this very problem with time zones can also be a benefit. Most managers and owners do not have a set 8-hour work day and often work into evening hours. Having a staff available at non-regular business hours can be very beneficial at times of urgency.
Management can be More Difficult
Managing remote employees can be difficult if there are a large number of them, and they are in various time zones. Depending on the workload it can be difficult to co-ordinate schedules to meet assigned deadlines. Managing remote employees takes a special management style that is especially detail and task oriented.
Conversely, when working with remote employees there is not a need for as large a management staff in most cases, which can cut top-heavy salaries. Having remote employees means less distraction for managers because people have a tendency to walk over to each other to talk about problems with their jobs, and end up socializing at the same time.
Prioritizing and Production
Whether your remote employees are hourly or on a salary, you expect to receive value for your money. A downside to this type of employee is the tendency to be distracted by their home life when working remotely. Children may need attention, a meal may need cooking, and these tasks end up being done while work is supposed to be in progress.
Choosing remote workers that seem self-motivated, goal-oriented and have experience working remotely will ensure greater productivity. Setting fair, but stringent, deadlines and work expectations will also provide a solid return on your investment since the workers will be able to apply time-management skills to accomplish their goals.
Lower Overhead Costs
Perhaps the biggest pro of working with remote employees is the reduction in overhead costs. As a business, you will need much less space than you would with traditional office environments, and since the employees are contract workers there are no payroll liabilities or insurance commitments.
The only con in overhead costs is dealing with poor quality workers, or hidden costs involved in training and travel expenses if required. Remaining diligent will ensure these costs are kept to a minimum.
Working Successfully with Remote Employees
When analyzing the differences, working with remote employees weighs heavier on the plus side of the equation if you have the proper systems in place to maximize productivity. With access to open communication, strong management, and a measure of performance in place, remote workers can heavily contribute to your bottom line.
When it comes to measuring performance, employee monitoring software like My Team Monitor can provide you and your management staff with the information you need to keep remote employees on task and address issues as they arise rather than missing important deadlines.
Neil Bachand is a remote employee business consultant. Neil enjoys sharing his insights on the industry on various productivity blogs. Click here to learn how remote employees can give your business an incredible boost.
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