Remote Workers

I often encourage my consulting clients to embrace the possibility of a remote workforce. There are advantages to working in the office and I admit that. However, there are plenty of advantages to hiring remote workers.

I am certain there have been studies done on this that lay out the advantages and disadvantages in a very scientific matter, but here are some of the things I can think of off the top of my head.

Advantages:

  • Happier employees. Many employees are happier when they are at home. Call centers can sometimes be rather depressing and certainly not fun places to be. They are quite often loud and many people who work in them feel that they are just a widget in a machine.
  • Bigger talent pool. When you expand the geography to almost anywhere in the country/world, you have a lot more people to pick from when hiring.
  • Cheaper. You can usually pay employees who work from home a bit less than your in-office employees. If your office is in an expensive area (i. e. NY, LA, San Francisco), the cost of living is likely much higher, and usually wages have to reflect that. In addition to saving on wages, you don’t have to pay for office space, furniture, etc.

Disadvantages:

  • Harder to monitor. It usually harder to monitor productivity and how many hours someone is putting in when they work from home. There are plenty of ways, but it is more difficult than monitoring in-house employees.
  • Possible problems. Internet can go out, power can go out, computers get viruses, etc. These things can all happen in-house too, but when they happen with a remote worker, it is usually quite frustrating for everyone.
  • Communication. If your company does not have a lot of and/or isn’t used to remote employees, communication may be difficult.

Some people argue that there is no replacement to face-to-face meetings and I generally agree that face-to-face meetings are helpful. However, I think remote employees can be very effective at what they do and a very good addition to any team. Many customers deal with companies remotely (i. e. only phone/Internet), so why shouldn’t the employees get used to working that way?

As with any position or job, the level of success is very much dependent on the person hired.

2 Responses to “Remote Workers”

  1. Service Untitled » Tips for Companies with Remote Workers - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Jan 09, 07 at 1:37 pm

    […] Earlier this week I talked about some of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring remote workers for companies. Today I am going to discuss some tips, tools, and the like for owners or managers of companies with remote employees. […]

  2. Service Untitled » Remote Employees in Rapid Growth - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Feb 13, 07 at 8:33 pm

    […] I have talked about remote employees in the past. I constantly encourage companies to utilize remote employees and try to make them work. However, rapid growth companies often don’t have a choice, it is sometimes a nessecity to hire remote employees. […]