Choosing Between a Remote and Physical Workforce

There’s mass appeal when it comes to working remotely. Working hours are more flexible, you can base yourself anywhere in the world and often, it’s more productive. There are already plenty of companies that offer working remotely as a work perk. In fact, Fortune 1000 businesses have reported that their employees are mobile the majority of the time, spending 50-60% of their time away from their desk. So, it makes sense that choosing between a remote and physical workforce is becoming an increasingly tricky decision to make.

What are the Benefits of a Remote Workforce?

There are plethora of benefits when it comes to having your workforce work remotely. For one, many employees are now actively seeking roles with a little more flexibility. It’s likely that you’ll be able to attract a highly-skilled pool of talent with this attractive work perk. These roles can often be more competitive, so you’re giving yourself the best selection of candidates to choose from.

What’s more, employees are happier and more productive when they’re not restricted to working in the office. The freedom and flexibility that comes with working remotely can boost morale and wellbeing. A recent study has shown that remote workers feel more valued, and a staggering 91% felt more productive.

Furthermore, businesses who allow staff to work remotely have reported big savings. With no commercial property management fees or overheads to pay for, they can dramatically cut costs. There’s also no need to pay for office equipment as your employees will have their own necessary equipment at home. Some businesses who employ remote workers do still have a main headquarters, but no additional offices aside from this.

A remote workforce also means that a business can choose to save money on their headquarters by having it in a lower priced area. Rather than having the HQ in a city central building that is more convenient for employers, but costs a lot more to run. Alternatively, A business can have a smaller inner city HQ to be used as and when employees need it, if they are mobile, they may only need it for meetings, mean that savings comes from needing a much smaller office.

The Drawbacks of Remote Working

It all comes down to the nature of the business and size, while it may help say money in the short term, the business maybe paying 3 people to do 1 person’s job. It is much more difficult to measure work rates with staff working outside of an office. While some employees find remote working better as they save time of the commute, others may end up procrastinating at home as get far less work done, which makes doing research into remote working essential.

Knowing how much work should be done daily or weekly and tracking employee is essential to keeping remote working viable. It can work well for businesses that are target based, knowing employee need to be out closing sales the majority of the time and seeing their results at the end of the month makes it much easier to justify remote working.

Why Might a Physical Workforce be Preferable?

Although a remote workforce is proving to be an extremely valuable experience for many companies, there’s no denying the benefits a physical workforce can bring. Firstly, for smaller businesses or start-ups, it may be a more efficient way of working to have all employees in one place. Communication is crucial in any business, but particularly those in the early stages of their journey. Having employees scattered across the world might cause a break down in communications, negatively affecting the company.

Additionally, comradery and relationships between employees is still very much an important part of work life. If employees spend lots of time away from the office, they won’t be able to build the same strong bonds with their colleagues as others working in the same office may. This could potentially affect their ability to work as a team.

Training is also a key factor, even when employing an experience workforce, teaching staff to practice certain methods can be key to some business and their ethics. While some areas may be taught over an email, presentation or video call, the majority of people prefer to learn in practice which is best done under supervision as tips and additional help can be given.

Trial

If you are part of a smaller or medium sized business, it’s best to trail this option with a few employees for a couple of monthly before rolling it out to everyone. While some businesses will save, and thrive from remote working, if your office gives staff access to much better software and hardware, the business might find that staff struggle from home to complete as much work.

It might be a case of short term additional spending, offering employees, current laptops, phones and anything else they may need from home to optimise their work rate.

It may seem costly in the beginning but once the up-front costs are paid, you’ll find the benefits of having either a smaller office or an office in a cheaper area will outweigh the costs.

Remote vs Physical Workforce

Overall, both ends of the spectrum present their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Deciding on which one is best greatly depends on the nature and size of your business. More companies are adopting the working remotely approach simply because the technology is there, but that doesn’t mean that all need to follow suit. It’s still a good idea to evaluate the individual benefits both sides can bring, and what any changes may mean for your business.

Alternative Options?

Depending on the businesses reason for a remote workforce, there are also alternatives such as hot desking or paying for communal office space as a short-term change.