Since 2020, remote work has become commonplace for companies large and small. With digital connectivity and cloud software enabling employees to work from anywhere, many small businesses in the UK have expanded their talent pools by hiring remote staff. While this arrangement provides benefits like access to wider talent and lower overheads, remote hiring also comes with drawbacks to consider. In this article, we’ll explore the key pros and cons of bringing on remote employees as a small business.
Pros of Remote Hiring for Small Businesses
Access to a Global Talent Pool
Hiring remotely enables small businesses to source candidates from a much wider geographic area rather than just locally. This significantly expands the talent pool and allows you to find employees with the exact skills your business needs. Competition for technical skills like programming is especially fierce locally, so remote hiring gives access to more qualified candidates.
Lower Overhead Costs
Employing remote staff reduces expenses associated with maintaining office space and equipment. You avoid costs like rent, utilities, parking space, office furniture and more. These savings are very beneficial for small companies trying to keep spending lean. Offering remote work can also make your open positions more enticing.
Studies show that remote employees tend to be more productive as they have fewer distractions and interruptions during work. They also tend to take fewer sick days on average. With proper management and communication tools, remote teams can deliver excellent results as a happy workforce is a more productive workforce.
Remote hiring allows for more flexibility in scaling your team up or down as business needs change. You can bring on contractors or part time staff more easily without needing to arrange office space. This agility can be invaluable for small businesses who need to be adaptable to volatile market conditions.
Cons of Remote Hiring for Small Businesses
Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction
Despite modern video call technology, there are still advantages to in-person interaction when managing and collaborating with employees. Nonverbal cues can be missed remotely. Some challenges are also harder to work through without face-to-face conversations.
Communication across remote teams requires more effort and intentional processes. Things can be misinterpreted more easily without body language and face-to-face exchanges. More needs to be documented in writing to keep remote staff in sync.
Remote collaboration does not always flow as organically as in an office setting. Serendipitous conversations by the watercooler or quick huddles to brainstorm ideas are harder to recreate remotely. Extra effort needs to be made to nurture team bonding and creativity otherwise there are risks of isolation which can have negative impact across teams. This can also harm staff turnover as employees may choose to leave as a result.
Security and Compliance Risks
When employees work remotely, extra security precautions need to be taken to protect company data, assets and systems. Strict cybersecurity policies and procedures should be established and enforced. Sensitive business information is more vulnerable to theft and hacking.
Distractions at Home
At-home distractions like children, pets, housework and neighbour’s can reduce productivity for remote employees. Workers may struggle to create boundaries between work and personal life when based at home. Some level of oversight is reduced compared to an office setting.
There are compelling advantages to remote hiring for small businesses like talent access and overhead reductions. But the unique management and communication challenges of dispersed teams should not be underestimated. Weighing the pros and cons of remote hiring carefully will help you determine if hiring remote staff makes strategic sense for your small business needs and priorities right now. Maintain open conversations with remote workers to get feedback and stay aligned.