COVID-19 Resources

Is Your Company Weighing the Options of Utilizing Remote Employees? [The Pros and Cons for Your Talent Strategy]

Written by David Salters and Taylor Fox on November 3, 2020

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It’s no secret that, for a company, much of your success is determined by the people and talent you have in your organization. And since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the talent landscape has changed swiftly and dramatically, which means that companies everywhere are forced to pivot their talent strategies.

What are Talent Strategies, and How Does COVID-19 Impact Them?

A talent strategy is your company’s approach to finding, recruiting, hiring and retaining the right team members for your business. Most companies’ talent strategies are geared toward fostering an engaged, productive, inclusive and fulfilled workforce. And now, in the COVID-19 pandemic, utilizing remote work options and/or finding the right mix of in-house and virtual staff is part of a successful talent strategy.

Many companies are still trying to determine how much of their workforce will continue operating in a virtual environment and for how long. Some big technology companies like Google have already announced they will remain virtual through July 2021, while other companies are taking the wait-and-see approach. Both options impact a company’s talent strategy now and into the future.

Transitioning a traditional workforce into a remote workforce is a challenging endeavor; recruiting a new virtual workforce is just as difficult. And keeping all work in-house and not using remote work at all may put you behind your competitors. So how can you tell which direction is best for your company when it comes to the talent that will help your business succeed?

The answer will be different for each company, but we’ve outlined a few pros and cons for your talent strategy to help you evaluate your situation and make the right decision for your team.

Pros for Having Remote Employees

Health Precautions and Social Distancing Made Easier

Instituting a virtual workforce most obviously helps resolve logistical problems created by COVID-19, and if your team members aren’t coming into a shared office space, it’s much less likely that they may spread the illness to each other.

Flexibility for Employees

Working from home allows employees to be more flexible—especially if they are managing remote learning for school-age children.

More Efficient Time Management

In some cases, remote work provides for increased employee production because in-office distractions are removed. Plus, eliminating commute times creates more production hours.

Cost Savings

Remote work allows companies to decrease or even eliminate certain overhead costs, like rent, parking, utilities, meals and entertainment and travel.

Scalability

If your workforce is operating virtually, it’s much easier to staff up and staff down without logistical considerations, like if there’s available office space.

Location of Talent

If your team doesn’t have to be in a specific location, your company is able to select new employees from a larger talent pool that may be outside the geographic area you’d typically recruit in.

Cross-Pollination of Talent

When your team members are working in varying locations, it may foster better collaboration and a diversity of ideas.

Cons for Having Remote Employees

Decreased Employee Engagement

If your employees aren’t all in the same building, it can be challenging to measure their engagement with their work and your organization. Because of fewer face-to-face interactions and reduced team-building events, it can be hard for employees to build and maintain relationships with each other—a key ingredient to a happy and productive workforce.

Difficult Interview and Selection Process

If your in-person interviews are replaced by video interviews, it can be difficult for you and your team to connect with a candidate as in a live interview. Conversely, virtual recruiting also makes it difficult for your candidates to get to know your team part of the interview process.

Still, skills assessments, as well as leadership and personality assessments, may be able to help close the gap if done well.

Loss of In-Person Training

Because training is conducted virtually, it could lead to the delayed development and engagement of your staff.

Social Isolation

If your employees are operating virtually, they may feel socially isolated, which can create mental health issues and decrease collaboration and engagement for your team members.

Weighing the Pros and Cons to Make the Right Choice for Your Workforce

With many questions still unanswered, companies should consider a virtual workforce as here to stay. It’s important that every organization should consider how much of their workforce should be remote, for how long, and weigh the pros and cons of having remote employees.

As you consider these pros and cons and begin to implement changes to your talent strategy, review the existing culture and functions of your teams and departments. Try a pilot program and review the progress. If things go well, you can deploy across more areas of your company.

At least experiment with virtual work before brushing it aside.

2020 has challenged almost every organization to review its talent strategy both near term and long term, and employing a remote workforce has revealed itself as a valid means of conducting business through unusual circumstances.

If you have questions or would like assistance with your company’s talent strategy, connect with a Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting advisor who can help

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