The changes that the year 2020 has caused in the workplace have made it super clear that the future of work is remote. Numerous employers had to implement the experiment of working remotely forced by the situation, but many of them have already seen the benefits and are ready to switch to a fully distributed remote team.
Distributed teams have become more common over the past decade, even though they are not a novel concept. Technological progress has made it simpler to work from any corner of the world with internet access. Running an entirely remote workforce makes sense for numerous companies that want to improve their business model while also being able to offer their employees an improved and more satisfying work-life balance.
Remote work has numerous pros for employees, and there is a lot of literature covering that particular subject. But have you thought about the benefits this could have for employers? Let’s look at why and how to switch from traditional offices to a remote team.
1. Lower Costs for Everyone Involved
Possibly the most important reasons for a company to go fully distributed is the opportunity to cut costs significantly. Offices are some of the highest annual expenses for many companies, and they are expensive, no matter where you are in the world.
Even those businesses that offer their employees equipment to work from home can see important savings. Not spending money on office spaces surely adds up, particularly for companies with offices in multiple countries. The advent of high-speed internet in most corners of the world has made it possible for any desk job to become a remote one.
Lowering budgets related to office spaces is only the first step when going remote as a company. As the cost of living is drastically lower in different parts of the world, you can hire from a candidate pool beyond the expensive urban areas.
The result of attracting top talent by enlarging your hiring pool is not only a slashed bill, but also a more well-rounded team. For example, if you’re a company from New York, where a software engineer makes $102,346 on average, you might benefit from hiring an employee from Boise in a distributed team for an average of $79,287. You can also hire a software engineer from Delhi, India, where the average salary for that position is $6,693.
2. If You’ve Always Wanted a More Diverse Team, This Is How You Do It
Having the chance to hire talent from all around the world is about more than cutting costs. Fully remote companies can embrace inclusion and diversity easier than their traditional counterparts as they have the ability to hire people from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
By doing so, you’ll end up with a well-rounded team with distinctive perspectives, which is often difficult to achieve when you’re only hiring from one city. Furthermore, caregivers in need of a flexible schedule or those with disabilities may find it difficult to get regular employment. If you hire remotely, these individuals can get the opportunity to follow their career goals.
Companies can support community and family as well as diversity by hiring employees who can work in the community they hail from, where they feel relaxed and supported.
3. The Switch Is Good for the Environment
Lots of companies are worried about their environmental impact and switching to a remote team is a brilliant way to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This mainly happens because no one has to commute to work anymore. Global Workforce Analytics mentions that only half of the workweek spent working remotely might lead to a reduction of 54 million tons of gas emissions every year.
But eliminating the commute to work is just one way a remote company contributes to lowering its impact on the environment. Distributed teams can also cut their carbon footprint by reducing the heavy use of plastic and paper. It is estimated that approximately 700 trillion sheets of copy paper are used in the United States alone every year, and online working slashes that number by almost a third.
Many employees in traditional offices choose to buy coffee or a packed lunch on their way to work, which results in an amplified consumption in plastic. On the other hand, remote workers are more likely to cook their meals at home regularly, and this decreases the consumption of throwaway utensils and cups.
4. Increasing Performance and Productivity
Most remote workers notice an increase in productivity when they work from home, partially because they can avoid the stress of a daily commute to work. Nevertheless, there are multiple reasons for productivity to increase when switching from a regular job to a remote one.
Numerous employers consider that watching employees in an office means that productivity is likely to be high. In fact, there are lots of downsides to working in an office, even though it is perhaps simpler to keep track of the whereabouts of the employees.
Companies of all sizes experience decreased productivity because most offices provide lots of distractions that range from repeated trips to the break room to talkative co-workers. And let’s not forget about illnesses that tend to spread blazingly quick around the office. In fact, when one person gets sick, almost everyone else will catch the bug as well, which means that productivity will take a tumble.
When you switch to a distributed team, you focus on the results instead of the hours the employees work. The majority of remote companies allow workers to set their own hours, allowing them to fit their work in a schedule that is suitable for their lifestyle and family demands. Moreover, employees can determine the times during which they are indeed the most productive.
5. Work Gets Done Around the Clock
A company that has offices in a single location makes everything happen during office hours at its location. Nevertheless, a distributed team can indeed work around the clock. With so many companies needing to cover several time zones, this could be highly beneficial for a large number of companies.
Scheduling meetings might be a bit problematic when you have a team spread all over the world but having a global support team is indispensable for businesses that want to offer 24/7 support to their customers without forcing any employees to work a night shift.
Scott Berkun, the author of “The Year Without Pants,” describes how the American and Indian teams would work on system called “Follow the Sun” at Microsoft, so work never paused. Solutions to problems that would keep a team working until late would sometimes miraculously appear in their inboxes in the morning, thanks to the works of the team covering the other shift.
6. Better Employee Retention
Keeping employees content leads to increased employee retention rates, which is often essential for a company. Businesses with employees who work remotely generally tend to enjoy higher retention rates because workers don’t have to leave when their personal circumstances change or when they move to another city.
Retaining valuable talent is vital for businesses of all sizes, as it takes a lot of resources and time to train new employees. Besides, employees are generally more productive when they have been with a company for a long time.
Micromanaging talented employees is not necessary even in office-based companies. Remote workers are encouraged to have initiative, which is a sure-fire way to growth and success.
7. Dealing with Tech Failures Is Easier
The internet going down or a power failure almost always results in a decrease in productivity in an office because no one on the team can work. If the workforce is fully remote, technology failures aren’t that much of a problem, as other team members can cover the work until the issue is solved.
8. Extra Efficiency in Team Meetings
If you have ever worked in an office, you are aware of the fact that routine meetings and micromanagement both contribute to lower productivity. Even though team meetings help everyone stay connected and are great for brainstorming, they are often lengthy and unfocused on the topic.
When it comes to virtual meetings with colleagues from different countries, banter is less likely to take up half the meeting. Meetings done remotely are usually shorter, and since all applicable materials are often shared before the meeting, they are also more productive.
Small talk before remote meetings helps people feel connected and it shouldn’t be eliminated altogether. However, remote team meetings are generally not as frequent as office-based ones while being more to the point, which contributes to a boost in productivity. Moreover, they can minimize attendance, as the entire team doesn’t have to participate every time.
9. Improved Mental Health
The mental health of remote workers has been the subject of a lot of debate, with many articles mentioning the isolation and loneliness employees who work from home face. There is of course some truth in that, but remote working comes with lots of benefits that contribute to improved mental health for everyone involved.
A study by Owl Labs has found working remotely full-time leads to a happier life. When they were asked whether they were happy at work, office-based workers were significantly less content than remote workers.
Respondents cited lots of reasons for which they were happy, with them including avoiding a commute, less stress, improved focus, increased productivity, and better work-life balance. These factors all contribute to better mental health, leading to enhanced productivity and increased employee retention.
Remote workers appreciate their work-life balance the most, as by having no commute and no set hours, they can enjoy time with their family. The flexibility a remote job provides translates into employees never having to miss family events because they are at work. It’s a well-known fact that happy employees are always better workers, so a distributed team has benefits for everyone.
10. Fewer Work Absences
Every year, work absences cost no less than $200 billion in the U.S. Most companies have to deal with this issue, and reducing absenteeism is still a challenge even though most companies have an absence management strategy in place.
Going distributed doesn’t eliminate absenteeism altogether — after all, employees will have to deal with personal stuff or get sick at some point. Yet, because they are allowed to set their own hours, they are often likely to be able to juggle their responsibilities and still get the job done.
Lots of absences in regular work environments are caused by commuting. By eliminating the need for workers to go into traffic every morning to get to the office, you eradicate numerous things that could result in absenteeism.
The remote working revolution is unstoppable, with many companies already reaping its benefits. Appen, a company with almost 1 million contractors around the world, Automattic, the company behind WordPress, and Buffer, the social media management start-up, are a handful of businesses that are currently operating as a fully remote team.
Converting to a fully remote workforce could bring numerous benefits to lots of companies. This business model is likely to lead to a happier workforce and improve productivity. It is, of course, not always simple to operate a fully distributed team, but the long-term benefits outweigh the risks for companies who decide to eliminate the need for traditional offices.
If you want to learn more about the future of work or you’re ready to embrace the revolution and start hiring for a remote job, head over to our post a job page on Search Remotely and post a job to unlock your potential and hire the best quality candidates.