You hear it everywhere: offices lined with cubicle workers are on their way out. The hottest startups attract new talent with promises of work-at-home Fridays. Ranks of digital nomads take their jobs to the beach.
But if you’re a manager looking to make a new hire you’ll be looking to ask one question: do remote workers outperform in-office counterparts for real?
No matter if you’re an upstart coding outlet or running a software development consulting company, the answer is a definite yes. Remote software development and delivery not only makes it easier to deliver the best product possible, it helps employees build a workday that brings their best to the table.
Here are five ways remote workers outperform in-office co-workers on a regular basis.
One of the most widely-reported benefits of hiring remote workers is an increase in employee productivity. In one study, it was reported that 65% of employees have expressed that working remotely would help them be more productive. One of the big factors making remote work so attractive is the ability to structure the day as you like. If a designer needs to run errands, for example, they can split their workday into two shifts and still find time to get everything done.
Other factors include the kinds of distractions common in an office. 61% of workers have mentioned loud colleagues as a productivity killer, and 40% have said impromptu meetings are a major distraction. Working remotely from home or a cozy cafe can help employees find the groove that helps them best deliver the kinds of results that managers love.
So when HR managers are thinking about nearshore or offshore software product development, design or content services, giving workers the ability to work remotely can ensure a happier, more productive work environment.
The unique flexibility remote workers have isn’t just increase productivity – it can help companies work around problems traditionally associated with an exclusively in-office staff.
First, workers don’t have to be tied down to the nine-to-five schedule typical of corporate environments. Flex schedules, often based on results instead of hours logged, gives workers more control over the way they live their lives. James Thomson, a recruitment and education tech entrepreneur at Continuum Education Services in Cape Town, says they “stopped trying to control people’s time and micromanage them….this led to a far more engaged remote worker.” In a world where companies are losing five hours a week to non-work related internet surfing, keeping workers engaged is a must.
Second, remote workers with flexible schedules are more likely to return to work when sick (not to mention keeping their virus to themselves) and return to their desks faster when in recovery. They’re also able to work evening or weekend hours that complement their nine-to-five office counterparts, helping companies be productive around the clock.
A number of studies and experts are reporting that, surprisingly, remote workers end up being more communicative with their co-workers than if they’d been doing their job in an office. Maybe you keep quiet for not wanting to look stupid in front of others for asking a question. Or feel like knocking on your supervisor’s door is more than a little intrusive. But, in the case of remote software development and delivery, for example, everything’s done with a quick message or video call. No awkward moments here.
What’s more, being in an office environment makes it deceptively seem like everybody’s perfectly connected. Which means that, when you think your cubicle neighbor’s been informed about the impromptu meeting after lunch today, maybe no one ended up telling her. Everyone assumed she’d hear about it from someone else. Being a remote worker eliminates this problem because it requires being in constant, active communication with your colleagues. This can make a team not only more productive, but tight-knit as well. An impressive 92% of employees in have reported in one study that video collaboration tools, a staple in the remote-work toolbox, improved their sense of teamwork.
Another huge draw for recruiters to think about the differences between nearshore or offshore software product development or design services is the diversity it can bring to a team. A company on the west coast can find top locals based in the Midwest or Texas, which can contribute to a less culturally-insular team that’s more open to new ideas. And if you really want to put the offshore in offshore, think about hiring professionals from across the globe. This makes for a true diversity that most Stateside startups can only dream of. That, and it allows a company to continue working across time zones when everyone in North America is fast asleep.
Adding a roster of steady freelancers can bring an extra diversity of skills to the table as well. You might hire a programmer on a contract basis only to find out he does graphic design too – having employees who are competent in a variety of fields not only enriches your company’s skill pool, they can bring new solutions to common problems.
Remote work can also bring a much needed diversity to the lives of workers. “I enjoy being able to change up my working environment,” says Sara Koopman, a freelance writer. “Writing requires a certain environment and editing might be different.”
When we speak about how remote workers outperform in-office workers, we’re not just talking about metrics like productivity or how many projects are turned in at the end of the week. We’re talking in dollars. Not only are employees saving on the commute (and have more energy to give when they’re on the clock), they’re helping their companies avoid forking out major funds when it comes to worker retention.
It’s been reported that 95% of companies say that remote work has had a major impact on keeping their employees, and that two-thirds of workers have had thoughts of changing jobs to make their commute easier. With the large costs associated with having a high turnover, giving workers the option to telecommute can help prevent major losses.
The easy takeaway from all this is, no matter if you’re a software development consulting company, a design firm or a marketing outlet looking for regular content, knowing the ways remote workers outperform in-office counterparts can help your company scale up. Plus, it goes without saying, a happy worker makes a happy corporate culture. Which is just as important when you’re looking to scale up for the long game.
So kick back in your home office and get to work.