As the ways in which communication channels constantly change and improve and with the increasing cost of employing someone locally, working with remote staff becomes more and more attractive. Add to the mix the diverse nature of the tasks required within a start-up and working with independent contractors becomes a no-brainer.
Here we will discuss why we believe that this will become more and more prevalent in the years to come and what we believe the benefits are.
Note: In this article we are talking about remote workers as in independent contractors. Therefore, some of the benefits discussed here might not be relevant if the remote worker is actually an employee who is working from home. AKA that guy in accounts who called in sick again but has valiantly offered to work from home (he’s got a hangover).
So, here are the major benefits of working with remote staff as we see it.
Expenses on the talent
For certain industries and professions you can hire talented people from other countries, where the wages are relatively lower. Just to be clear, I’m not saying to look for people in developing countries who will work really hard for you for very little money. Instead, look for the best talent possible and if they come from a slightly cheaper economy, you will have great people and, as an added bonus, spend less.
In a startup, especially at the early stages, the amount of work can fluctuate. For example: you can have 3 months with a crazy amount of design work and then on the 4th month you don’t really have any design tasks to do at all. Employees would be fully paid for that month no matter what. Contractors are either not paid at all, or a certain minimal monthly retainer fee that has been agreed in advance.
Office Space - Real estate prices are particularly high in the areas where you have the best chance of hiring great people. Each remote worker you hire is one less person you need to house in your offices. Many of our clients would have to move to a larger office if they hired employees to work from their office instead of working remotely with us. And some of our clients don’t rent offices at all.
Equipment - Unless you have specialized equipment to work with, it’s not your responsibility to equip your remote workers.
- Other - There are many office perks and benefits that are customary to provide which can be also saved when workers are not present.
Speed and simplicity
It’s faster to build a remote team than hiring local staff. Since the commitment is lower, the interview and hiring process of a remote worker is usually faster and simpler than an employee who will work from the office.
Less commitment also means that incase the partnership between your company and the remote worker doesn’t seem to work as expected it is simpler to part ways than with an employee.
Talent and Professional Skills
In my opinion the following points are the most important benefits of working with remote workers.
Finding talent anywhere. When searching for talent, you are not limited to a certain radius around your office anymore. This is really important. Companies spend a lot of money on finding or headhunting talented employees with the right skill set in their area. If they can’t find them close enough they are even spending money on relocating said talent and their family. And that, of course, is only if they are willing to move. Hiring remote staff allows you to work with the best people you can find anywhere on earth.
- Access to multiple talents in one price. In some cases, like in ours, you get to benefit from the expertise of more than one person. Most of our clients hire us as both their design and product team. So, for them it is like hiring a unicorn who has skills and experience in multiple professions.
Global experience. Remote workers work, well, erm, remotely. Their experience is built on working with companies from around the world. This helps them to acquire global experience in their profession. The bottom line is that you’ll benefit from the different kind of thinking they bring to your company. Employees in a traditional office job are mainly experienced with other companies in the area that quite often are similar to yours.
Professional Independence. Due to the nature of their work remote workers must be independent. They have had many clients with different amounts of experience. Some probably did not know how to navigate their work and build relevant requirements as guidance. This means that a remotely working professional must learn how to guide their work on their own.
Handling more work than a single employee. If needed, contractors can subcontract other professionals who they have vetted beforehand in order to be able to complete a large task on time. Your benefit is that a single employee will not be able to complete tasks that you need multiple people for (even though that people say “I’m doing 5 people’s work”, they are still one person).
Both hiring direct staff or consultants has their pros and cons, however with the flexibility and budget requirements of startups and today’s communication tools, we believe that the benefits of a consultant far outweigh any negatives.