It is no secret that the remote workforce is growing. More and more organizations are embracing remote work environments. In fact, 4.3 million Americans currently work remotely right now (1). However, there are still a large number of organizations who have still not made the switch. They are not sure how to go about making the change or if it is a good fit for their company.

If you are like the many organizations who are thinking about enabling your workforce to go mobile we have shared a list of pros and cons you should consider before making the leap.

Pros

Increases diversity

Growing your remote workforce is a great way for your organization to become more diverse and inclusive. Enabling remote work breaks down geographical barriers that could exclude potential candidates for employment.

Companies who embrace remote work often have more diverse groups of individuals who live all over the world. This is a big advantage if you consider the fact that diversity and inclusion are key some of the key components that drive innovation and collaboration. Diverse teams made up of individuals who have a wide range of backgrounds, work styles and ideas promotes creativity and a healthy inclusive work culture.

Improves ability to attract and retain talent

Companies who allow employees to work remotely gain a strong competitive edge when it comes to talent acquisition and employee retention. The number of employees who want to work remotely and increase the flexibility of their schedules increases every year. Offering opportunities for remote work has become a big factor in attracting new talent for many industry leading organizations.

In the 2019 remote workforce report it was found that remote employees are 13% more likely to continue working at their current place of employment for the next 5 years than onsite workers (2).

Boosts productivity

Another major benefit of enabling employees to work remotely is that it can significantly increase productivity. Many organizations worry that some of their employees will not be self motivated enough to get their work done from home but, recent surveys have concluded that it has quite the opposite effect. In fact , some organizations have seen as much as a 77% increase in productivity after making the switch (3).

In many cases remote working environments give employees more flexibility. Employees can become mobile workers, they have more flexible hours, have fewer interruptions and have more control over their environment. All of these factors have a huge impact on motivation and productivity.

In many cases remote working environments give employees more flexibility. Employees can become mobile workers, they have more flexible hours, have fewer interruptions and have more control over their environment. All of these factors have a huge impact on motivation and productivity.

Cons

Increases potential security risks

One thing to consider before you grow your remote workforce is the increased risk of security issues. Organizations with a large remote workforce are more vulnerable to cybercrime and online security threats than companies whose employees work in office.

However, this is a threat that can easily be avoided with proper planning. There are many companies that specialize in providing secure cloud services for remote companies.

Decreases effective communication

Remote workers communicate differently. They use mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops to engage with their peers. As mentioned before these teams are often more diverse. These two factors are usually benefits however, they can have a negative impact on effective communication. Working in an online environment and in groups with varying communication styles requires a different kind of workplace etiquette.

To prevent the degradation of communication throughout your organization it is wise to integrate diversity and inclusion training into your mobile workforce management plan. This is will help your employees learn how to navigate online diversity and how to deal with issues such as unconscious bias. It can also raise awareness about differing communication styles which will improve the efficiency of your remote workforce.

Reduces collaboration

When employees work remotely it has the potential to slow down collaboration. Face to face interaction makes it easier to quickly share ideas and thoughts in a meaningful way that is more challenging to achieve in an online environment.

However, this can be avoided if you plan ahead. Many remote companies keep the collaboration going by embracing the right tools and by setting aside time for employees to have causal conversations virtually.

Conclusion

For many organizations enabling their employees to work remotely has created many competitive advantages that include increased productivity and a more diverse workplace. However, it is important to consider how you will address the challenges it can bring. Increasing diversity awareness and effective communication through training is one of the best ways organizations who make the switch can get the most out of their remote workforce.

To learn more about enabling your remote workforce and adapting to change read the Watch the Webinar replay of Using the New Normal to Create a Competitive Advantage.

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