The Top Reasons to Consider Hiring Remote Employees

A female employee in her late 20s sits on a couch wearing a phone headset as she works remotely in front of a laptop.

In the current labor market, with almost negligible unemployment, competition for new hires is intense. When small business owners can’t find qualified employees to work locally on-site, it may be time to consider hiring people to work remotely.

Advances in technology and always-on connectivity make it possible for the right people to complete a wide variety of tasks off-site. When the right talent and skills aren’t available through traditional routes, remote workers can often provide what businesses need. When small business owners open their minds to the possibilities of remote workers, they can not only get the work done but also capitalize on a number of other benefits.

Consider these four reasons to hire remote workers for a small business.

1. Remote Workers are More Productive

A study from Global Workplace Analytics showed that remote employees are 20% to 25% more productive than office-based employees.

That increased productivity is a result of fewer distractions and the ability to work during the hours that work best for an individual employee. In addition, remote workers have improved work-life balance, so the usual stress of trying to balance work and life doesn’t hamper their productivity.

2. Remote Workers are Cheaper Employers

Many employees need more flexibility in their work schedules, whether they’re caring for children, aging parents, or just need an extra half hour each morning to find time for exercise. When they don’t have the flexibility they need at work, many employees simply take a sick day to get it. That can cost employers up to $1,800 per year, per employee, according to research.

But when employees work remotely, they have the flexibility they need built in and can maintain productivity around their personal schedules. Many remote workers also continue working even when they really are sick.

Employers also save money on real estate, furniture and other in-office costs by allowing remote work. Some studies show a savings of up to $10,000 per year, per employee. In addition to saving money for the business, remote workers also help reduce a business’s impact on the environment by significantly reducing greenhouse gases, research shows.

3. Remote Workers Offer a Larger Talent Pool

Instead of only hiring among the local workforce, small business owners open to remote employees can hire the right person for the job, no matter where they live.

Small businesses can access a larger group of potential candidates by considering working with remote employees, such as parents who prefer more flexible schedules and international or expatriate workers who have the needed skills but are not local.

Keep in mind, before hiring foreign nationals as employees you’ll need to check the laws in their country of residence, as some countries don’t allow employers without local offices to hire employees within their borders. However, you can hire workers as independent contractors no matter where they live, because independent contractors are responsible for paying their own taxes and don’t require any employer withholdings.

4. Remote Work Boosts Employee Retention

Almost half (46%) of employers that allow remote work say it has reduced turnover, according to the Global Workplace Analytics study. Remote workers are happier and more engaged, and therefore, more loyal and less likely to leave.

Keeping employees on board doesn’t just help keep a business going and growing without interruptions; it also saves big bucks. For instance, losing a valued employee costs an employer $15,000 on average, according to the Work Institute. That figure includes lost time and productivity, as well as recruiting and training a new hire, which can cost thousands.

By considering remote workers, small business owners can access new levels of talent and join a fast-growing workplace trend, while saving money and boosting productivity. Maybe the best new employee will be the one you never see face to face.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank, National Association, and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank, National Association or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever. Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank, National Association, Member FDIC.