Table of Contents
Weighing up the pros and cons of remote working is important for any company interested in global hiring or looking to build a distributed workforce.
For both employers and employees there are major benefits associated with adopting remote working, while anticipating and planning for the drawbacks makes it easier for them to be mitigated.
In recent years, uptake of remote working has exploded, thanks in large part to COVID-19 pandemic. Some companies that were already on their way to implementing location flexible working found the shift relatively easy, while others quickly adapted.
For some companies, however, getting to grips with the new mode of working presented more of a challenge, and three years after many government’s around the world began to implement lockdowns, they are still trying to get to grips with how to organize and manage remote teams.
While early 2023 saw a host of stories appearing in the international press about big-name companies urging workers to go back to the office, the reality is that many changes brought on by the pandemic are here to stay.
Many companies have adopted remote and hybrid working on a permanent basis. Hybrid shedules, whereby people spend a proportion of their time working in an office, have become particularly popular, due to the flexibility they offer.
Hybrid schedules can take a number of forms, based on set days that people attend, core days that people have to attend while attendance on others is by choice, and flexibility to attend any day at will. The latter arrangement could also technically be considered a fully remote job, assuming that there are never days on which people must attend.
Remote working obviously involves not working out of an office. For many people this will mean working from home, while the location flexibility that remote working offers also allows people to relocate to different countries or travel while they work.
In some cases, remote schedules are complemented by asynchronous work, which means that people do not work on the same schedule, often due to being based in different countries and living in different timezones, but sometimes also because of a policy of timetable flexibility that allows people to choose their work hours.
One of the big lessons that many companies learned during the pandemic is the fact that many jobs that were largely based on office attendance are actually well-suited to remote working.
That has in turn seen a rise in companies adopting global hiring policies, while major hubs of particularl industries have emerged in developing countries, as companies have sought to tap into the abundance of talent available at competitive rates.
One major example is the call center outsourcing industry, which is set to keep on growing in many countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America in the coming years. Hiring tech workers overseas has also become particularly prevalent.
Below, some key pros and cons of remote working are considered, first for employers and then for employees. Taking these into account is important for any company looking to embrace having a dsitrbuted workforce.
Serviap Global supports remote working worldwide with employer of record (EOR) services. Contact us today for more information.
Pros and cons of remote working for employers
Pro 1: reduced costs
There are several pros and cons of remote working, but one big advantage for companies is the savings it represents in fixed costs such as office rent.
By having a large part of the workforce whose presence in offices is not essential, physical spaces can be downsized or eliminated. If face to face meetings are needed, spaces can be rented as and when necessary.
Pro 2: global talent
Another major advantage is that companies can tap into a global talent pool and recruit skilled professionas at competitive rates from anywhere in the world.
Instead of being limited to local labor markets, the frontiers of recruitment open up to super-skilled personnel. This may well include opportunities to hire people with different skillsets than in the home territory.
Pro 3: improved diversity
The great advantage of being able to work with people from anywhere also enriches the company by generating a more diverse workforce.
A company with flexible and inclusive policies is more attractive in these times as new perspectives bring new opportunities for growth. This can help diversify the workplace culture and encourage new ideas.
Con 1: supervision
When considering the pros and cons of remote working, one of the key negatives facing companies is the difficulty of supervising employees.
While it is relatively easy to see the performance of employees in an office, doing it remotely complicates this task. It is possible to use software tools to track productivity, but it is important to avoid falling into the trap of becoming intrusive.
Con 2: coordination
There are many online tools, such as virtual workspaces and project management systems, to support daily tasks. However, it can happen that failures occur, the system crashes, or there are problems with connectivity or with applications.
With this in mind, it is a good idea to have backup systems in place to anticipate and mitigate any technical problems.
Con 3: scheduling
Another big con of remote working to solve when there are people working from different locations is the time zone. This is certainly not impossible to manage, but must be organized more carefully than in a physical office.
For a company that embrases location flexibility and encourages its team members to travel if they want to, this may demand some flexibility in terms of rearranging meetings based on people’s timezones.
Pros and cons of remote working for employees
Pro 1: time
Among the pros and cons of remote working, one of the biggest benefits has to do with what people value most: time.
Many people, especially in large metropolises, have to travel long distances to get to the office. This can take hours out of a day, which can be used resting, eating better, pursuing personal interests, or spending time with loved ones.
Pro 2: costs
This point is connected to the previous one. Commuting is expensive, whether that is the pump price of gasoline or the expense of rail travel. Then there’s the common cost of stopping for a coffee or buying a midday meal. Staying at home limits these outgoings dramatically.
Meanwhile, the ability to relocate to a different country entirely means that many remote workers choose to live in locations where their salary goes further.
Pro 3: work/life balance
Possibly the greatest advantage is in work/life balance. Younger generations especially value their life outside work. This helps with their mental health and prevents the risk of burnout.
Having more time to dedicate to the things they love, or spend with their friends, family, and pets, in turn makes professionals happier and can ultimately make them more productive during work hours.
Con 1: isolation
One of biggest cons of remote work has been isolation. As social beings, work is a place where cordial relationships and friendships are often established. For workers with fewer friends or human contact outside work, this can lead to loneliness.
Companies can help manage this with the likes of remote team-building activities, while remote employees have the option of attenting co-working spaces.
Con 2: distractions
Offices are spaces adapted for productivity. During periods of intense work, personal cubicles or work rooms can be a good way to avoid distractions.
This is not the case at home, where there is not even an ideal work chair for office work. Some workers will be in family environments with people talking to them all day. They may benefit from headphones or from the establishment of set break times which they are encouraged to take.
Con 3: work/home boundary
Without clear boundaries between your work and personal life, it can be easy for professionals to work overtime without noticing. There’s also a risk of home spaces being overrun by work materials such as laptops.
As such, while remote work can offer a better balance between work and personal life, it can also blur the line between the two, which is something remote workers and their companies must try to avoud by setting clear boundaries. For example, scheduling non-urgent emails for the next day if they are being sent out of hours.
Pros and cons of remote working: an EOR can help
One of the quickest and most convenient ways to hire remote international professionals is through an EOR.
An EOR will hire people through it own local entity, helping with their recruitment, onboarding, payroll, and eventual offboarding. However, those professionals will report directly to you.
That means you can begin your global hiring journey without having to worry about compliance with unfamiliar regulations, while also benefiting from the EOR’s expert knowledge of the local market.
That will in turn help you to better manage the pros and cons of remote working, so that you feel maximum benefits of a distributed workforce, while minimizing the downsides.
Serviap Global offers EOR services worldwide
At Serviap Global, we assist clients with international PEO / EOR services in over 100 countries worldwide. We also offer global talent acquisition services throughout the world to help clients find candidates to hire directly. Once you have staff in place, we will manage the pros and cons of remote working.
We are a family-owned company that started in Mexico in 2010 before expanding throughout Latin America and then worldwide. Although our vision is global, we are committed to the excellent service and individualized approach of collaborating with a local supplier.
Contact us to learn how we can help you build a distributed workforce.
If you were interested in this article on the pros and cons of remote working, read more of our coverage.