The future of enterprise lies in the hands of remote workers. But so far, the news is positive: virtual work is more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective than ever before.
Whether your organization is about to embark on a virtual workplace experiment or has reaped the benefits of telecommuting for decades, consider your employees’ impact on the enterprise. The workforce behind your organization can either help or hinder growth and your ability to achieve performance targets.
Remote work is one solution that can meet the challenges of modern enterprise and exceed entrepreneurs’ expectations. Here is everything you need to know about remote work best practices for empowering enterprise companies.
How Remote Workers Empower Enterprise Companies
Though remote workers empower enterprise companies in countless ways, these six examples offer excellent insight into how remote team members can work in the most efficient and rewarding ways possible.
1. Global Recruiting Means High-Quality Talent
When the world is your oyster, recruiting becomes so much easier. Rather than casting a local net for qualified professionals, your enterprise can fish all the world’s oceans.
The availability of remote workers means you can source high-quality talent from anywhere on the planet. Whether you are wondering how to hire a great CSS developer or need to enlist the help of a full team of marketing experts, connecting with qualified candidates is a breeze.
Widening your talent pool adds diversity to your team as well (but more on that later). Particularly for international companies that do business across borders (and continents), language abilities may be a significant perk.
The Center for Immigration Studies highlights the data and the discrepancies: just over 20% of Americans are bilingual, speaking a language other than English at home. In the five biggest cities in the U.S., that percentage grows to anywhere from 38 to 59 percent – closer to the global percentage.
When your worldwide reach depends on catering to consumers in their native tongues, bilingual (or trilingual) teams are invaluable.
You can collaborate with organizations to source applicants, and online tools make it easy to implement multiple checkpoints to confirm qualifications. Faster hiring is another perk with global recruiting, so you can onboard all manner of specialists and put them to work ASAP.
2. Remote Team Members Are More Productive at Home
Keeping everyone in the office on task can be a challenge. And while it’s true that working from home can mean more distractions during the workday, the data is in on telecommuting and productivity.
In one example of enhanced productivity, Inc. highlights a two-year study that found telecommuters are more focused and dedicated. The company behind the experiment also noted a 50% decrease in attrition in its work-from-home population.
Of course, there are challenges to remote work and building a remote work culture, including a sense of isolation among workers. Fortunately, technology is making it easier to connect and support your team outside the office. And though the work-life balance is one point of contention for remote employees, higher productivity is good news for your enterprise.
Productivity is a big buzzword, though – so what does it mean for your bottom line?
Companies with higher productivity can save money and time by getting more accomplished in a shorter time. The longer it takes your team to complete a project, the more it costs you. But the benefits extend farther than your organizational budget, too.
Better efficiency means higher employee morale and better customer relations. When the customer-facing interactions of your business are swifter, consumers are happier – which helps the business model continue going ‘round.
3. Virtual Employees Work More, On Average
While productivity centers on how efficient workers are with their time, companies also want to know just how many hours they’re getting per employee. With virtual workers, the answer is quite a bit more.
One piece of research from Airtasker confirmed that remote staff worked 1.4 more days per month than their in-office counterparts. The Inc.-reported study averaged a one-day increase in work throughout the experiment.
Assuming that these staff members are salaried workers, enterprise companies are getting more than their money’s worth on telecommuting teams.
Considering that remote workers don’t have a commute, it makes sense that they devote more hours to work tasks. Since staying late at the office no longer involves battling traffic congestion at rush hour, working more is less daunting.
Another interesting argument in favor of remote work is the ability of virtual workers to clock in whenever they want. For enterprises with a combination of departments spanning everything from creative development to programming to customer service, a wide range in on-hours is desirable.
While customer service staffing will depend on local time zones, global coverage can mean higher efficiency when project deadlines loom. A night owl team member might polish off their portion of an assignment before your early bird finisher gets up for the day.
Timed right, international collaboration can mean a constantly moving organizational machine.
4. Cross-Cultural Collaboration Achieves Diverse Results
Diversity is a positive component of enterprise companies for internal and customer-facing work. Enterprises with geographically distant yet collaborative remote staffers can check both boxes with little effort. As noted, language capabilities are a valuable part of the diversity equation.
But international teams also see benefits from cross-cultural teamwork, with higher levels of innovation than less amalgamated groupings. When it comes to disrupting your industry or niche, diversity can be instrumental.
The World Economic Forum cites the difference in innovation revenue between companies with below-average and above-average diversity scores. The above-average enterprises reported 45% innovation revenue, while their counterparts claimed 26 percent.
Even more insightful is the fact that your enterprise company can reap the benefits of diversity even if your team is not truly global. Adding millennials and women to the equation, for example, is a solid start, even if your team is not geographically disparate.
Eliminating cultural biases and embracing the diversity and strengths of your team elevates your enterprise’s offerings – both for employees and customers.
5. Telecommuting is Less Costly to Enterprise Companies
Enterprises may not need studies and research papers to confirm that telecommuting is less costly overall. Nixing the need for expansive offices, on-site dining for workers, and utilities plus maintenance in the building can save companies hundreds of thousands each year.
For some companies, up-front costs for issuing technology and other equipment to virtual teammates can be a point of contention. However, organizations that already offer company-issued laptops and paid accounts are less likely to balk at the new model.
And while corporate entities may not think much of worker expenses when it comes to telecommuting, the lower costs of remote work appeal to staff, too. Savings on vehicle maintenance and fuel (or public transport) can also equate to more purchasing power when the time comes for broadband upgrades or a new laptop.
Therefore, allowing remote work is an excellent way to begin recognizing your hardworking staff.
But since you are saving so much on overhead costs, you may think about diverting funds to show appreciation for remote workers. Offering equipment upgrades and even discounts on takeout can bolster worker morale without adverse impacts on your budget.
6. Virtual Teams Favor (and Thrive with) Independence
Some enterprises imagine lazy staff who lounge in their pajamas while spilling coffee on their keyboards. And while that can happen in many work-at-home scenarios, overall, virtual teams are more engaged and on-the-ball than ever.
As Gallup research has found, workers who worked out of the office for three or four days per week were more engaged than their in-office peers. Surprisingly, the results were not due to a supervisor breathing down workers’ necks or holding them to impossible deadlines.
Self-motivation is yet another perk of the digital workforce. Not only is remote work effective, but it also instills greater independence and confidence in your employees. Being “on your own” during the workday can help good employees become better. Plus, the ability to organize their day around personal responsibilities and well-timed breaks can mean a customized work schedule that makes the most of their productive hours.
Of course, you may still want to implement tracking metrics for your remote workforce. Some oversight is necessary – and beneficial – when managing a far-flung team of professionals. Avoid micromanaging while outlining solid boundaries, and you have a winning combination to support remote staff.
Succeed (Together) by Empowering Enterprise with Remote Teams
Any business model relies on workers at various levels performing their duties satisfactorily. But better employee performance is a highly sought-after metric within every organization. The question, then, is how you can empower both your workers and your enterprise.
Fortunately, remote work is a straightforward answer – even if implementing the strategy takes some adjustments. Working remotely is equally beneficial for workers and their bosses, and many companies are overdue for adopting the model.
Romy Catauta works in the marketing field at Toptal and is passionate about writing on web design, business, interior design and psychology.