Beyond the current coronavirus crisis, many organizations are starting to recognize the benefits of telecommuting and adopting it with increasing frequency.
A State of Remote Work report by OWLLabs for 2019 showed that 62% of companies allow remote work, are "hybrid companies," or are a fully remote company. With 30% of employees working remotely on a full-time basis, and 48% of employees working remotely at least once a week.
As OWLLabs said, "Remote work isn't the future of work—it's the present." Now, more companies expected to start hiring remote workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but 62% of the companies reflected in the OWLLabs report had already adopted a distributed team model.
SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)
What is a distributed team?
Also known as a remote team or virtual team, a distributed team is made up of people who are working from home or offices located anywhere in the world outside of an employer's location.
5 Reasons for adopting a distributed team
Some of the top remote companies to work for, including Amazon, Intuit, and Johnson & Johnson, have recognized the benefits of hiring a distributed workforce, and this has only been further reinforced by the recent COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting business disruption.
Here are five reasons your company should consider hiring a distributed or hybrid team.
- Improve your skills-based hiring. Hiring the best talent means finding the right combination of skills, regardless of location. To be successful, your company should be tapping into a broader talent pool, and this means finding employees or contractors who can help you achieve project-specific goals rather than employees who are located near your office. Hiring solely based on skill and fit increases the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with your hire and the quality of their work. This isn't guaranteed and still depends on conducting the right amount of due diligence to ensure you've hired the best person for the job.
- Save money. One of the benefits many remote employers have come to recognize is the reduction in located-based overhead costs. By not having to pay for a larger commercial space and all the associated utilities and maintenance costs, remote employers are able to offer more competitive salaries and benefits to their distributed workforce. The OWLLabs report shows that remote workers earn salaries higher than $100,000 a year, 2.2 times more frequently than on-site workers. This creates a win-win scenario, whereby employees and contractors are more content with their overall compensation, and the employer is likely to have decreased turnover.
- Increase your employees' satisfaction. OWLLabs also reports that remote workers say they're happier in their jobs 83% more than on-site workers and that they would take a pay cut of up to 10% in order to work remotely. Travel to and from the office as well as politics and conflict within the office add significantly to costs and stress. This is not to say that distributed teams don't encounter these issues at all, but employees are likely to have less stress if they have a better work-life balance and a higher degree of contentment in general.
- Lower your turnover. According to the OWLLabs survey, 68% of remote workers say they are not concerned working remotely will affect their career progression. Most people can agree that higher salaries combined with more work-life balance, opportunities for career progression, and less conflict increase the chance of staying with an employer for the long haul.
- Increase employee ownership and buy-in. When employees or contractors are part of a distributed team, they're far more likely to develop a sense of ownership and buy-in and work harder in general. In fact, remote workers say that they work more than the expected 40 hours a week 43% more often than on-site workers. This increased sense of accountability and ownership creates stronger teams and stronger companies.
With current events throwing companies into a tailspin, your company should adopt a distributed or hybrid team to attract talent. By offering a better work-life balance, less stress, and higher pay, your company wins through increased employee buy-in, higher productivity, and lower turnover.
- How to become a CIO: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- How to develop your IT team's capabilities (TechRepublic download)
- Policy pack: Workplace ethics (TechRepublic Premium)
- ZDNet's top enterprise CEOs of the 2010s (ZDNet)
- 6 ways to delete yourself from the internet (CNET)
- Best to-do list apps for managing tasks on any platform (Download.com)
- CXO: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)