How to Benefit from Remote Workers
March 9, 2012
Explore the advantages of using teleworking in your business
Technology innovations pave the way for better and more simplified relationships between employers and their workers. Due to advances in telecommunications and virtual collaboration today business organizations can employ remote workers and control their performance from almost anywhere in the world. A business owner is able to use remote communication technologies to monitor job efficiency and direct effort of remote workforce, while saving money and company resources. Let’s explore the barriers on the road to using virtual workforce and define the benefits business owners gain from remote workers.
Barriers to Employing Remote Workers
Any business should be based on efficient decision making in order to succeed. When a business owner decides on whether to hire virtual teams or not, he or she needs to be a good decision maker who can carefully analyze the situation and figure out if the business will benefit from remote employees. The key idea behind good decision making is to consider the barriers to using remote workers effectively. There are three main barriers, as follows:
- Lack of direct supervision. Many business managers believe that direct supervision and oversight is the necessary condition of creating effective working environments. Without a doubt, employees who are directly controlled by supervisors in the same office are more disciplined and motivated. But remote workers are supervised over virtual team collaboration tools, and so for managers it is harder to direct and control the worker’s effort.
- Reduced employee productivity. It is obvious that having personnel under one roof is the advantage that increases employee productivity. For instance, a group of co-workers who sit near each other can discuss and solve an issue immediately by simply congregating. Meanwhile, distance teams have to get in touch with each other through telecommunication tools (e.g. phone call or video conference) which can sometimes be difficult or even impossible due to technical failures. Thus remote workers may demonstrate reduced productivity and be less effective in problem solving.
- Lower morale and motivation. Employees working in the same office are more motivated and have higher morale. They have the feeling of teamwork because managers are able to directly influence employee attitudes. Meanwhile remote workers can be less motivated and sometimes even frustrated with the job they are assigned to. Thus they may fail to act as a group of individuals working together towards a common goal.
Benefits from Remote Workers
While the listed barriers are valid, the evolution of telecommunication has contributed to creating remote and virtual environments that remove the barriers and allow benefiting from remote workers. Let’s find out how.
- Time needed for commuting to work is eliminated. Remote employees have no need to spend their time on driving, taking a train, or walking. They can actually do their job from any work place that is equipped with necessary telecommunication tools.
- Flexibility of workforce. Remote workers are those people who are located at different places and work for the same employer. This employer can benefit from flexible and diversified workface. Any specialist that cannot be found locally now can be employed, because the employer can access any labor market worldwide and search for the necessary candidate. For example, using LinkedIn is a great opportunity for finding remote workers.
- Communication is much simplified. Innovative technologies have made distant communication much easier and cheaper. Now remote workers can use video chats and conferences to communicate with each other and their managers as well. They can forward e-mails to their cell phones and use integrated software programs to monitor new assignments and report on performance.
- Cost-effectiveness. Telecommuters or remote workers are a cost-effective investment because employers do not need to spend their money on computers, paper, accessories and other office needs. Remote employees can work from home.
- Market intelligence. A business owner who employs remote workers can benefit from spotting, digging-out, and analyzing data about external markets, which is provided by the workers. These workers let access to the information (e.g. competitors, prospects) about markets, and this will be a benefit that might not be gained if all staff worked in one location.
The way to benefit from employing remote workers is to realize if your business is needed to hire personnel from multiple locations worldwide. Your decision should be based upon your business’s ability of using telecommunication technologies as a way of managing human resources.