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Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Workers

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The tiny Irish island of Arranmore hit headlines a few weeks agoo with the announcement that they are seeking remote workers to telecommute from the island, in an attempt to boost the population. Arranmore boasts 469 inhabitants, only 22% of which are currently employed. The island council has written an open letter to Australian and US workers, citing the high-speed broadband, Guinness on tap and idyllic beaches as reasons to consider the move.

While life on Arranmore would certainly put the ‘remote’ in ‘remote working’, such a call demonstrates an awareness of the future of the workplace beyond that shown by many large corporations in mainland Ireland. In a time where the workforce is seeking greater flexibility and better work/life balance, employers will find it difficult to attract and retain top quality talent without providing any remote working options, making it an imperative that proactive business leaders consider the advantages and disadvantages of employing remote staff.

 

The Pros

Larger Talent Pool

The most significant advantage of hiring remote workers is the access employers now have to a vast, international talent pool. When a job posting is not restricted to workers within commuting distance, thousands of potential superstar employees suddenly become ripe for the taking.

 

Cut Down on Costs

There are two key ways in which hiring remote workers can significantly reduce company costs. Firstly, in not requiring employees to work from a central office location, businesses are removing the need to pay for renting/buying a workspace, the internet, electricity, cleaning, computers and broadband – the list goes on.

Secondly, remote workers are often considerably better value that office-based workers. If an employer does not require their staff to physically turn up to work each day, they can hire from any area – including ones with a lower cost of living than where the company’s headquarters are based, such as rural zones. On sites such as UpWork, for example, remote workers’ prices range from $4/hr to $70+/hr, hailing from all over the world.

Additionally, there has been research to suggest that remote workers are more likely to accept lower pay, work longer hours and forgo company-provided health insurance if it meant they were permitted to work from the comfort of their own home.

 

Higher Retention Rate

A study by Staples Advantage found that 76% of remote workers considered themselves more loyal to their company after being offered the option to telecommute, and that 39% have turned down a job, a promotion or outright quit because the company did not offer flexible working options.

Many traditionally office-based workers are finding that remote working is an increasingly attractive alternative model to consider, as they have children or gain other responsibilities outside of their professional lives. More and more employers are offering remote working options to their staff to prevent competitors, who are similarly wising up to the advantages of this system, from poaching their most experienced employees…perhaps snapping up a few of their own along the way!  

Increased Productivity Levels

‘Work smarter, not longer’  is fast becoming the mantra of the modern workforce. If an employee is able to tailor their working day to their own personal preferences, in an environment of their choosing, they’re considerably more likely to be productive and engaged throughout the day. That being said, remote workers are 53% more likely to work over 40 hours a week, according to recent studies, increasing organisational productivity as a result.

 

The Cons

Potential Security Risks

The Blueface Business Communications Technology Insight Report 2018 found that 57% of organisations with 200+ employees had experienced a cyber incident, such as hacking or phishing. When employees are permitted to use their own computer equipment in a non-secure environment, they are considerably more vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks, potentially compromising company data security.

However, there are numerous steps employers can take to overcome these odds, such as recommending workers avoid using public WiFi networks and providing stringent security guidelines upon hiring new staff.

 

Loss of Company Culture

While remote working options are statistically proven to actually increase employee engagement, such a work arrangement company-wide can somewhat dilute the sense of culture that has been so integral to successful modern business models until now. Employees are less likely to develop a genuine rapport online, let alone arrange to socialise out of hours or organically collaborate on a new idea. That being said, there are some great ways employers can promote a positive culture for their remote workers, such as the ones explored in this Forbes article.

 

Issues with Communication

Inevitably, if managers are only communicating with staff during brief windows of time each day, there is ample opportunity for the misinterpretation of instructions, or a lack of clarity in the project objective. It’s more of a commitment for an employee to pick up the phone and call their supervisor to clear something up than to pop their heads round a door, or to pass someone in a corridor.

However, if employers rise to the challenge and adapt their communication practices to suit a remote workforce, there’s no reason why communication should hinder the productivity of the company. Investing in an instant messaging app for employees and ensuring managers are in constant contact with their team throughout the day will eliminate most potential issues before they have a chance to cause problems. Face-to-face interactions, such as video conferencing, are a further valuable tool for managers to ensure that they are getting the most out of their staff.

 

Our workforce is evolving in a way that may feel scary or uncontrollable to some employers. However, the benefits to remote working are hard to be argued with – there are many great reasons companies should consider moving with the times and expanding their talent pool beyond their immediate geographical location. Arranmore is on the right track – you should  be too!

Posted by Susannah Hunt on 24 July 2019

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Improve your chance of finding a job during COVID-19

Improve your chance of finding a job during COVID-19

Taken from : How to land a job during COVID-19 by Michael Malone (Galway Daily) ​With Level 5 set to last for around four more weeks and uncertainty about what restrictions will be in place in the coming months, those in search of a new job may feel they are facing an uphill battle. But for those on the job hunt during the pandemic, it is important not to give up. That’s according to Sarah Hayes of Sigmar Recruitment, who says that there are a number of things people can do to improve their likelihood of finding a job. ​ “Look at what is in your span of control and be proactive,” says Sarah. “The labour market has turned on its head since March and is constantly changing with government restrictions being implemented. “But it’s important not to give up as there are companies still hiring.” Top 6 tips to improve your chance of finding a job during COVID-19 1. Analyse the market Where are the jobs right now? Well, there are certain sectors that have been decimated by the pandemic, but others are still going strong. For example, DPD have just announced that they are expanding their operations and will create 700 jobs before the end of the year. Sigmar is hiring most across Manufacturing & Engineering, Technology & IT, Construction, E-Commerce, Customer Service, Health & Safety and Supply Chain & Logistics. The Lifesciences/ Pharmaceutical sector is busier than ever right now, with resumed elective surgeries, vaccine development, diagnostic testing and respiratory device production. Many companies are looking for multilingual speakers, for whom there is a great demand. So if you speak more than just English, there are opportunities out there. Familiarise yourself with who is hiring – keep an eye on the news, set up job alerts on the jobs boards, follow companies on LinkedIn, identify a recruitment consultant that recruits in your area and ask them to keep you updated on the market. 2. Market yourself Your cover letter, CV and your LinkedIn profile are your primary tools to market yourself. Prepare your CV, spend time on it and ask a recruitment consultant to help you to get it right (they will do this free of charge). Your CV and cover letter should always be tailored for the role you are applying for. Look at the job spec and mirror it back in your CV. It is also extremely important to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Make sure you have a profile picture, create a compelling summary, add your projects, populate the skills section, and remember when recruiters and even bots are searching for profiles they search for keywords and buzzwords. If you don’t have these, then your profile might be missed. Change your status to ‘Open to new opportunities’ and get active on LinkedIn – don’t just sit back and wait for someone to contact you! Connect with hiring managers and HR professionals in the companies you want to work for, send them your CV directly and ask them whether they are hiring. You should also follow the company pages so that new job announcements will show up in your news feed, in case you miss your dream job! 3. Network online Joining groups and forums relevant to the job you are looking for and skills that you have can be a great way to build connections and relationships with people who have similar profiles. Networking can be a great way of finding a job – some experts say that over 70% of jobs are found by networking. So as well as keeping an eye on the best recruitment websites, get networking and boost your chances of finding that dream job! 4. Upskill It’s a great time to identify gaps in your skillset and upskill – look at jobs being advertised online and see if you can identify any particular skills/qualifications that you are missing that might help with securing that job in the future. In lockdown, many people are finding themselves with much more free time than before – so what better time to look for online courses to close those gaps in your knowledge, learn a new skill set or even a new language. There are countless apps and online courses out there – so find out where you’re lacking and get learning! 5. Open up your search Perhaps one of the more positive things to come out of the pandemic is that people are becoming less tied to one location, as companies are learning that working from home is not only possible, but also beneficial for many people. There are a lot of remote working positions out there now, so don’t just limit yourself to searching for a position in your direct locality. Open up your search and keep an eye on jobs advertised in different locations but can be worked from home. 6. Step out of your comfort zone To stand out from the crowd, you may have to be creative. With Covid-19, there has been a shift towards video interviewing but Sigmar is also seeing an increase in video applications. Get yourself in front of a camera and talk through your CV and reasons for applying for a particular position (remember, like in your CV, to tailor your answers depending on the job!). You can send this video along with your CV, or directly to a hiring manager through LinkedIn. When it comes to interviews – most are taking place virtually. Therefore it is important to ensure you are prepared – make sure you have been sent the link in advance! It is also important to check that you have a good internet connection, that your camera is working and positioned appropriately, your background is professional, you are dressed appropriately. Look directly at the camera to make eye contact, and let them know that you’re the ideal candidate. If you do all of this, you give yourself every chance of landing a new job, even in the most unusual of times.

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“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

The latest data from Sigmar Recruitment’s Employer Sentiment Report suggests that most companies plan on hiring more contingent labour in order to deal with the extended market turbulence. Having surveyed 1000 Irish based companies, 91% of respondents said they are more likely to hire temps or contractors than before COVID-19. Commenting on the results, Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment says; “This may signify a fundamental shift in how workforces will be constituted moving forward as employers are wary of future market shocks. Whilst demand has rebounded since March, companies just don’t know how the market will react to a possible second wave of infections, topped with Brexit fears, so there are still challenges ahead for organisations and as a result they are hesitant to commit to permanent hires.” One third of all companies surveyed said it was likely or highly likely that they would increase the % of temp/contract staff they already engage. “This is the norm in early stages of an extended recovery. Seeing this trend emerge at polar ends of the labour market is indicative of a new K-Shaped labour market.” says Rudden. He adds; “When viewed, in parallel with the explosion of the gig economy in the last decade, we now see increasing demand for temporary or contract workers in most white-collar industries, not just the traditional area of office/administration roles.” Companies surveyed expected requirements for temp/contract talent to be highest across IT, engineering & life sciences, accountancy, and HR along with office/administration. Hiring on a temporary or contract basis gives organisations an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ i.e. hiring initially on a temporary basis before converting to permanent. “Given companies’ uncertainty at present, this model is potentially a perfect solution that enables businesses to ramp up and meet demand while the future looks uncertain. At the same time, it enables jobseekers to find work quickly. In our corresponding survey of 3500 candidates, the majority said they were more likely to consider temp or contract work than before the COVID-19 pandemic struck,” says Rudden. Flexible labour in demand at polar ends of the economy; powering growth in recovering sectors and offering interim cover for harder hit sectors 91% of employers plan to expand contingent worker numbers as increasing uncertainty looms 82% of candidates would consider temp or contract positions if given more flexibility, like remote working Further, 82% of candidates said they would be more likely to consider temp or contract work if they were offered flexibility, such as remote working. This is significant change in attitude considering 60% of respondents had not worked in a temporary or contract capacity in the past two years. Rudden adds, “It likely not only reflects the impact of the current crisis in terms of people having lost employment but perhaps a wider acceptance that flexibility may be required as we move forward.” Whilst market uncertainty prevails, what is certain is that we are in the midst of an extended period of transformation in the workplace with blended workforces i.e. a mix of permanent and temp/contract staff perhaps becoming the norm. “Prior to COVID-19 there were already several examples of major multinationals with a significant proportion of staff engaged as agency temps or contractors. We predict an increase in such models being used by other businesses going forward,” says Rudden. For a copy of the report, contact Barry Rudden on +35314744612 or email brudden@sigmar.ie