There was once a time when being far apart was an inconvenience to business. In order to work with someone, you’d have to travel long distances or pay a lot of money for long-distance phone calls. It could be such a drag that many people avoided it altogether and focused just on local business, limiting their potential for growth.
We’re lucky to live in a time with technologies like videoconferencing make it possible to work with people across the state, country, or even the world. Increasingly, companies are hiring virtual employees based in different locations who work together through online communication – these are called dispersed (or virtual) teams. It may seem that even with available technologies, working together in-person is still the ideal. On the contrary, there are many advantages to working in dispersed teams. Here are seven reasons why some businesses are choosing to hire around the globe.
Wide Variety of Talent
When you’re only looking at local applicants, you might not get what you’re looking for. Expanding your hiring pool to a national or international search will bring in more candidates that meet or exceed the job qualifications. Often, however, these candidates aren’t able to relocate, or require a hefty relocation fee – not to mention the travel arrangement just to get them in for an interview. Hiring them as virtual team members makes it feasible to choose from a diverse array of skills and talent. Your business will benefit from going with the best of the best, regardless of location.
High Job Satisfaction
What can managers do to make their employees happier (and therefore more productive?) Let them work from home. Studies show that telecommuting is linked to increased job satisfaction because it gives workers flexibility and better work-life balance. Unless they have offices in multiple locations (and sometimes even if they do), companies with dispersed teams usually have most of their team members working in a telecommute situation.
Telecommuting is also associated with increased productivity, often a result of being able to choose one’s own work environment. With dispersed teams, employees can be expected to show better overall job performance. Virtual meetings can be held quickly and efficiently, saving time for other work duties.
Cultural and Educational Diversity
In the global market, knowledge of different cultures is key to understanding your client base and gaining new business. When you hire virtual workers in different locations, you’re more likely to add people to your team who are from diverse cultures and backgrounds. You’ll also find people from diverse educational backgrounds, who attended unique training and degree programs that focused on desirable skills. There are many benefits to having a diverse workplace, such as increased creativity and innovation.
Expanded Business Hours
The typical 9-to-5 schedule works for a lot of businesses, but the standard workday isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Some companies could benefit from having extended hours, especially those that provide customer service or who have clients in other time zones. Hiring employees from different areas of the world will make it so you can expand your service hours as needed to include working hours in those locations.
Access to New Markets
Your dispersed team will be able to make connections with potential clients in their area. That means not only new business, but new markets that will open up to you. Imagine having access to a whole new wave of people interested in your product or service. It could be a huge boost for your company’s growth.
Decreased Office Costs
Now let’s talk numbers: the cost of an employee doesn’t stop at their salary and benefits. It also includes things like workspace, computer equipment, office supplies – and the list goes on. Your dispersed team won’t need a big communal office because they’ll each have one of their own. You’ll also save on those employee costs, by the way, since people living in some areas have a lower cost of living than others. Hire from smaller cities or emerging countries and you’ll end up with extra cash for growing your business.
The benefits of hiring at least some of your employees from dispersed locations far outweigh the downsides. Sure, you’ll have to have a reliable videoconferencing setup to be able to communicate, and you won’t be able to look forward to office holiday parties. There are still plenty of ways for dispersed teams to be social, stay in touch, and become close-knit. If you’re looking for ways to decrease costs, boost productivity, and expand your reach, consider getting some virtual employees on board.