Many companies are choosing to redefine what they refer to as “the office.” While going global might have once made us imagine underpaid workers fielding phone calls, it now brings to mind a Google Hangout, with talented professionals from all over the world collaborating to create something amazing.
In many circumstances, having a remote staff can provide you with a competitive advantage.
Combat Tight Demand
With both startups and established companies, you’re traditionally looking at a recruitment pool within a radius of 30 to 50 miles of your headquarters.
With businesses that require a particular talent, such as web development, there will be competition for the top professionals in your area. You might be spending more and getting less without even considering alternatives.
By expanding your search globally, you’re no longer wading in a pool, but a sea. You increase your chances of finding the ideal candidate, rather than being left to hire someone who can just do the job. You open yourself up to recruiting rock stars, not just a backup band.
Reduce Cost Inefficiencies
Securing a global staff doesn’t just provide more high-quality prospective employees; it also boosts efficiency.
Just think about it. An office itself is a huge expense — not just for the building or parking, but for the electricity, heat and air conditioning as well. You also incur the cost of paper, files, packaging, file cabinets, copy equipment and other supplies.
Beyond these tangible objects, you also have the chance to eliminate wasting time. Obviously, we want our employees to enjoy their jobs, but a tremendous amount of socializing happens in offices, and not all of it is positive. When you allow employees to work remotely, they can eliminate interruptions or office politics that could lead to distraction. In fact, one of the main concerns associated with having a virtual office is that employees will begin working too much because it’s so easy to stay connected.
Enhance Team Communication
To build a successful remote team, it’s necessary to have guidelines for communication in place. For instance, you can ask your staff to create profiles with certain platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts. You must communicate your expectations early in the process so there’s no disconnect between you and your team.
In a traditional office space, it’s easy to hide. But with distributed teams, it’s virtually impossible. Wondering who’s at work today? Check the main chat room. Need to comment on a project, but your colleagues are at lunch? Email, text or instant message them. Of course, you must establish expectations for this communication model to work, but that should be part of the onboarding process.
If the difference in time zones is a concern for communication purposes, you can address the problem by requiring employees to be available during certain hours of the day. At Clevertech, we ask our staff to work five hours of their day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Improve Job Satisfaction
While commuting to the office is always an option, it can take a toll on employees. Many people travel upwards of an hour each day to get to their jobs. In 2013 alone, each New Yorker spent an average of 400 hours on the subway just getting to and from work.
New studies show that your commute might actually be killing you, too. It’s been proven that those 40-minute drives to work can result in high blood pressure, weight gain and added stress.
With a remote staff, no one needs to recover from that deadly commute time. You’re not only getting your employees’ best work and their willingness to put in the hours to get the job done. You’re also fostering an office culture with staff who are satisfied with their jobs and, ultimately, loyal to you and your company.
When choosing to go global, you must build it into the foundation of your company. Even before your first global hire, you need to talk about it, define it and think about what it will look like in action. Make your expectations clear and prepare to reap the benefits of a more productive team.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launchedStartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image credit: CC by Michael Coté