When Tim Ferriss published The 4 Hour Work Week, I doubt he understood the waves it would cause.
Many attribute the book with jumpstarting the remote team revolution. It motivated people to ask for a remote option because they wanted the promise of better efficiency; greater results in less time.
The benefits weren't solely for the employees either. Businesses were able to build leaner, more productive teams, with lower overhead and more profit.
But were those benefits all talk? After all, what happens when someone is out of eyesight? Are they actually working, or just billing you for their time?
While we can't speak for everyone, we see tremendous benefits to working remote. And although they're highly sought, there are certain perks you'll only learn if you've actually worked with a remote team. Fortunately for you, that's how we roll at Lean Labs...
The Benefits of Remote Work That Make It Worth Considering
There are loads of benefits to working with a remote team, but there are some that you have to experience to really understand the gravity of. It's kind of like watching a movie in the theater versus at home. From your couch, you don't feel the suspense that fills the room with gasps and screams. You don't smell the popcorn or feel the uncomfortable thirty-year-old seats. It's a completely different experience.
I can tell you about the theater, but unless you're there, watching a movie, you'll never know if it's for you.
Remote work is similar because it's not for everyone. Some occupations make it extremely difficult to telecommute. Still, if you're looking for reasons to make the jump to a dispersed team, you should know what those special benefits are. The ones you'll only understand by living it. Because at least if you know of them, you'll have a better idea of the potential of remote work.
1. Access To A Larger Talent Pool
Depending on the industry, most businesses gravitate towards specific areas. News and media hang out in NYC, while the techies work from Silicon Valley. This happens for a reason. If you want to hire the best, you need to be where they congregate, and that's where there are more jobs. It's a natural cycle that keeps talented employees and businesses located in one spot.
But there's a downside to that. Not every exceptional employee is willing to move to those locations. Some are fine in their rural home. They have no desire to move, so they search for a remote position where they don't have to.
Also, some businesses don't want to relocate to where the talent is because of the cost in doing so. Having a remote company means those talented employees are back in the pool. You're not limited to the confines of your local region. No one has to commit to a cross-country move to join your organization. You can hire someone from anywhere in the world and they could start the next day.
That's right, you can hire internationally—no work visas required to build an outstanding team from around the globe.
And with that larger talent pool comes a wider variance in opinions, keeping things fresh and bringing new concepts to the table. It gives you an edge over your competition that's stuck in a single mindset.
SOPs will keep your team rooted in what has to happen, but with flexibility, you'll be amazed at how creative solutions can get. That's the hidden benefit that's often neglected. With a remote team, your company culture shifts to a more diverse group, and with that, you're able to generate new ideas that can take your company to the next level.
2. Less Overhead
One of the largest costs of running a business is how much you have to pay for commercial real estate. The costs can be astronomical depending on the locale, and many suburbs are growing because small businesses can't afford the prices.
With remote work, there's no need for a physical office. Every team member can work from where ever they want, and a P.O. box is enough to run your company. Throw in the utility costs you no longer have to pay, and you're talking about massive savings.
Another awesome benefit is that you'll never have to relocate when it's time for your brand to grow. You might need to add a few more accounts to your collaboration tools, but you won't be limited by fire codes and available nearby options.
And, the financial piece that many businesses don't discuss is that you're able to reallocate that saved money. Now, before you start thinking about how you can spend it, consider increasing the pay of your team or providing special bonuses. Offering higher wages is something that competing brick and mortar companies won't be able to contend with, thus, giving you a better chance at recruiting more qualified individuals. It's also a way for you to keep team morale high, encouraging better work from your staff.
3. No Commute
No one likes being stuck in rush hour traffic. Unless you've got audiobooks or podcasts to catch up on, the time is mostly wasted. Even commuting by train or bus isn't as productive as the time spent at your desk.
When you get rid of the commute, you gain a lot of time back. If team members were averaging a one hour commute, you just gave back two for their day. That's ten hours across a work week. Ten hours they can use for anything else. And one of the biggest perks of remote work is the flexibility to create your own schedule.
Since your team will likely be dispersed across multiple time zones, it means your company has extended operating hours. And without that commute, it also means that individuals can work at the times that best suit their creativity or productivity. Rather than being forced to work at the same time as everyone else, just because someone determined those were the set hours, your team can dramatically increase their efficiency by simply working when they're ready.
There's a learning curve to it. Your team will need to stay ahead of projects since they won't always have support during the work hours most convenient to them. But this, in a way, is it's own benefit, as it causes your team to look further out than other businesses, helping them catch issues before they arise.
And the unspoken benefit of losing the commute is that your team has more time for professional development. With all that money you're saving, a bonus can be allocated for your team to strengthen their skills. Whether you hand pick materials or let them choose, they're leveling up and helping your companies overall productivity.
4. Improved Communication Skills
Finally, if you can't read body language or hear the tone of voice, your communication skills need to be above par.
While many teams will use voice chat for meetings and conferences, most dialogue is left to other collaboration tools like Slack. This is essential because of the time zone differences. If you need to inform someone in London of a task, but it's 9:00 pm on the east coast, leaving a message is the only method you have. If that text or video isn't clear, it can lead to confusion and huge lags in your project.
Remote teams get better at communicating because it's a necessity. And while everyone is talking about how great it is that productivity moves around the clock, internal conversations aren't the only perk. Your customer interactions will also improve because your team understands how to effectively reach them.
Gaining the Benefits of a Remote Team
The only way to truly understand these benefits is to manage or work with your own remote team. There are opportunities around every corner, taking advantage of the fact that you have lower operating costs and potentially better talent within your organization. If you can harness these benefits, your business will be set for a culture that exudes productivity and is capable of innovating concepts that leave the competition in the dust.
If you're interested in strengthening your marketing team, we've developed a guide on how to create your own. In it, we share our decade's worth of experience in hiring fantastic talent and explain the steps we take to build a great marketing team.