Benefits and Challenges of Remote Employees
If the past year working during a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that employees certainly figured out how to work from home and did so to their advantage. In December 2017, DCA Virtual posted the blog Work from Home Positions Offer Real Value for Employers. Let’s revisit some of the perks and talk about some of the challenges that virtual employees bring to the workplace. Especially considering today’s hybrid work models.
Benefits of Offering Remote Work Options
Recent studies support the idea of working from home – for the right people. However, the company’s work from home policy needs to assess everyone as individuals; this is not a one size fits all proposition. An employee’s success in working from home greatly depends on their type of work as well as that individual’s preferred work style.
Stanford professor Nick Bloom, who conducted one study, found that teleworkers were more productive, worked longer hours, took less breaks and used less sick time. Overall he found that employers saved about $2,000 for every employee who worked from home. This is most common in industries such as the tech sphere that have the infrastructure to maintain their remote workforce.
Simon Slade, CEO, and founder of Affilorama has first-hand experience with the benefits of remote workforces. He notes: “You can hire the best of the best while not limiting yourself by geographical restrictions.” Opening the talent pool seems to be one of the biggest benefits to employers.
Challenges of Having Remote Workers
When looking at the challenges of working virtually, the focus is often on how the worker is meant to resolve dilemmas that arise. It is important to understand that employers, and those who manage remote teams, face several challenges, and they also need solutions.
- Helping employees retain the company culture.
- Maintaining strong teamwork and collaboration.
- Making sure that employees use correct software and versions
- Helping employees manage stress to prevent burnout; and
- Adhering to security protocols while working outside the organization’s network.
As we learned during the pandemic, using team-based collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom can help limit the negative impact of isolation. Businesses should work to create a company culture that uses online communication tools as much as possible. It will help with workflow and foster relationships within the team.
Maintaining elevated levels of productivity while not physically face-to-face can be addressed by keeping regular contact with staff and making sure there are clear goals and targets in place.
It is important to have a clear policy in place regarding all the different tech requirements needed to work from home. If a team member is using their own equipment, then your policy should address the minimum requirements. This guideline should be used in recruiting new team members as well as for ensuring current team members are up to par. If the company provides equipment, your guidelines should cover proper usage and connection guidelines. It might seem fun to work from a coffee shop, however remote workers connecting via public Wi-Fi will create undue risks to your company.
DCA Virtual Business Support president, Denise Cagan created the company’s virtual model to help small business owners with their administrative and creative needs. We have successfully been operating for ten years this November. We’d love to connect with you to hear your thoughts on remote work and collaboration in the remote space. We may even feature you in a blog.