1. Widen Your Talent Pool
When you set yourself up to work with remote workers, you widen your talent pool. Ask yourself, would you rather work with ‘A players’ located anywhere in the world, or ‘B players’ located in your office? Look beyond your commuter radius and you can source talent from anywhere in the world.
Increasingly, today’s skilled workers choose where to live first, and find a job second. Hiring remote workers gets you over that “Cool City” barrier, especially if your community is small and lacking cultural attractions. Plus, until the housing market loosens up, asking people to relocate might just be impossible.
At PAi, a financial services company just outside Green Bay, Wisconsin, leaders saw remote work as an opportunity to recruit employees with industry experience.
The company officially launched its telework initiative in 2010 and began actively recruiting employees from outside the area.
“Green Bay isn’t a huge market, particularly not in financial services record keeping,” explains Shelly Gagen, director of organizational development. “This really gives us a chance to expand our talent pool and draw from experienced folks all over the country.”
Gagen says the company divides its remote workforce into two buckets: employees who were recruited as remote workers and those who used to work at PAi but now work from home.
“Work from home has been a response to what employees asked for,” Gagen said. “We had folks who were commuting a fair distance or whose spouses had been transferred out of the area, and working from home has allowed us to retain that knowledge and skill and keep them part of the PAi family.”
2. Reduce Real Estate Costs
If employees don’t have to come into work, you don’t have to supply parking and desk space for them. Lots of small companies go this route, and it vastly reduces the capital required to run their business. Of course remote work “works” for companies of all sizes. McDonald’s, Dow Chemical, and IBM are just a few of the many corporations that use telework as a way to reduce brick & mortar expenses.
PAi saw similar benefits. The company has more than 140 employees and its existing facility is near capacity.
“It bought us some time,” said Gagen. “We were bursting at the seams. If we continue to grow, we will have to expand or move to a new building. From an expense standpoint, we saved several million by growing the remote workforce and introducing work from home.”
3. Expand Your Market & Your Perspective
Hiring sales reps to build remote markets is an accepted business practice. But even employees that aren’t actively engaged in sales can add “perspective value” to your organization. They help you understand pricing norms, consumer preferences–even regional weather or holiday patterns that could impact your business.
“Honestly it gives us different exposure across the county to things going on, different ears to the ground in different communities,” Gagen said.
4. Extend Service Hours
Depending on your product and customer base, a remote workforce can be a simple way to increase service hours and extend the workday. With the right CRM in place (and there are plenty of great options), you can provide seamless customer support from coast to coast without ever scheduling a “second shift.”
PAi has still retained its core service hours, but Gagen says that the remote workforce has helped its customer care center provide some flexible scheduling, cover task work at the beginning of the day, or cover those late day phone calls.
“It just helps bridge any of that overlap or gaps in our ability to provide the right service,” she says.
You can read more about PAi (find out how they launched flex and maintain culture) in our
by Jaime Leick
LMW Content Editor