Over the last decade, the number of people who work from home, at least part of the week, has grown by nearly 500%. This according to a study by Global Workplace Analytics.
So what does this mean to you and your business?
It means many things, actually. There is certainly a lot of potential here for increased productivity at a lower cost. There is an opportunity to develop a more productive and happier workforce. There is also the need to provide and maintain remote working capability should you begin, or have already begun, utilizing an outside workforce.
How telecommuting works
In most cases, remote employees do report to work at least once per week. However, for the other four days or more, they use the internet to connect to your ERP, make use of web-based communication systems like Skype and use independent document sharing systems like Google Drive.
In some cases, where a large-scale ERP is not utilized, team organization applications, web or Cloud-based, are used. These include Slack, Trello and others. There are a myriad of ways for your remote employees to check in, communicate and to be monitored.
Right off, you save money because you don’t need to house as many staff members at your facility. The truth is that if you have an employee whose job can be done without the need of a physical presence, they can be moved to a remote employee.
For some firms, this could mean moving a large percentage, or even the vast majority of the staff off-site. While some would cite this as a potential disadvantage, studies have shown that by and large, remote employees are just as productive and in many cases, more productive than those working in-house.
Because they don’t have to fight traffic, deal with office politics and tend to put in longer hours because it’s far easier to jump on the computer, log into the VPN and do a little work in the evenings, for example. A remote employee can break up their workday and has a feeling of freedom they can’t get in the office.
Remote work is nothing new – after all, when you outsource a software development project, you’re essentially hiring a series of remote employees. Naturally, the way to manage them most effectively is to assign from your own staff or have assigned from the outsourcing firm a dedicated project manager.
Certainly, there are concerns in both outsourcing and remote staff of people shirking their duties. However, as it’s easy to monitor activity and to evaluate performance, this can be eliminated by simply keeping track. Should your employees become lazy and unproductive, you can call them back to the office.
Our experience as outsourcers has given us a strong understanding of the remote working environment and culture. We’ve developed expert management systems to make sure that when we provide outsourcing services that our clients get 100% productivity and then some.
If you’re considering or even now have a few remote employees, feel free to give us a call and ask a few questions. We’d be happy to share some of our tested methods for leveraging remote talent for maximum productivity and profitability.