Pros and Cons of Keeping Remote Teams Post COVID-19
As businesses in some states begin to reopen and resume normal operations following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners may be considering whether it makes sense for certain employees to remain remote. For some businesses, virtual teams were put in place as a temporary solution and have proven to be advantageous, while others may still be on the fence. Either way, businesses will depend on their employees to successfully return to full operations, and ensuring their satisfaction during this transition is crucial. Business owners should consider the following pros and cons of keeping remote teams post COVID-19 before making any final decisions.
Remote teams can increase productivity if employees are allowed a flexible schedule. Many employees like the flexibility of setting their own hours, and in turn are likely to work during the hours when they feel they are the most productive. As long as employers are clear about deadlines and the amount of time that should be allocated to a certain task, remote employees should have no trouble submitting their work on time.
Employee retention and scalability
If key team members need to relocate for any reason, remote working allows them to stay on with the company and prevents the loss of knowledge and investment that would occur if that individual could no longer continue their position. Remote teams can also allow businesses to increase their staff without having to move into a larger office space, as well as have staff located in different parts of the world. This can provide business owners with a greater pool of qualified candidates, and can even allow businesses to offer 24/7 customer service.
Lower overhead costs
With remote teams, business owners will no longer need to lease office space, buy furniture for the space, or pay for utilities. In addition, virtual workers often come with their own office set up, so employers will not incur costs for computers, internet or phones. In turn, business owners can reinvest those savings into other areas of the business.
It is significantly more difficult for employers to see whether or not work is getting done when employees are not physically in the office. Without the ability to simply walk down the hall to have a face-to-face conversation, employers must be skilled at using online video and collaboration tools. Employers also must make sure virtual employees truly have the desire and discipline to work from home, as some people struggle to separate their work life from their personal life when doing both in the same space.
Limited team collaboration
While flexible schedules can be beneficial for employee productivity, it can create difficulties for team collaboration, especially if employees are located in different time zones. Some employees will be available to communicate during normal business hours, while others will have to work outside of normal business hours, either waking up very early or staying up late, to discuss matters with team members. Not only can this be burdensome for employees in managing work and personal life demands, but it can also make it harder to create a culture of teamwork and inspire employees to work together towards a certain goal.
Legal and security risks
If employees are working from different states, or even countries, business owners must learn the employment laws, hiring practices and payroll taxes for each location. This is significantly more difficult than knowing the laws of just one location. Additionally, when important information is stored in the cloud and not locked in the office file cabinet, virtual work leaves businesses open to potential security risks, such as the accidental loss or release of customer or business data.