The path of full-time employees in 2018 is paved with flexibility. Strict 40-hour workweeks with 9-to-5 days are being shelved in favor of businesses allowing their employees to work remotely or maintain flexible hours that better fit their scheduling needs. Are in-house employees even a thing anymore? Let’s take a look at that.
Take the social media management platform Buffer, for example. The company prides itself as being a fully distributed team with no office that allows its staff to work wherever makes them the happiest. This year, Buffer released their first State of Remote Work report that collected data from more than 1,900 remote workers around the world. Findings revealed that remote work has a bright future, with 90 percent of individuals surveyed planning to work remotely for the rest of their careers.
However, as a small business owner who employs both remote and in-house employees, I still believe in the power of an on-site team.
There’s a lot that their daily presence can do for the business and their respective departments in the long run. Through my own experience, as well as what the State of Remote Work’s findings have taught me, I’ve learned what makes in-house employees a valuable asset in the workplace.
In-house employees get much-needed face time
No, I’m not referring to the FaceTime app. (Although if you work with a predominantly remote team, that might be one of your primary communication methods!) I’m talking about being physically present, IRL (in real life), at the office.
Everyone’s on the same time zone and is (usually!) just steps away from one another in the same building.
Depending on the department and its workload, some individuals might require more daily check-ins than others. Oral communication allows fewer opportunities for engagement gaps to sprout up.
Whether it’s a group setting or one-on-one, speaking to your team enables you to set and clarify expectations. Facetime can help energize employees, too. Some 21 percent of remote workers surveyed by Buffer reported struggling with loneliness as remote employees.
Meeting in person helps to get out from behind the screen and brainstorm new ideas with fellow coworkers.
Body language is another critical component of face time at the office. If an employee is struggling with an assignment, having trouble with a coworker, or has been frequently taking time off, meeting up allows the employer to pick up on the employee’s visual cues. From there, the pair can candidly discuss the situation together.
Working out of an office might be financially better for you
The nature of remote work has long been considered to be time- and cost-effective, with so many remote employees working from home. However, that comes with more hidden expenses than you might realize.
According to the State of Remote Work, 78 percent of respondents do not have their internet bills covered by their employer. The same goes for bills for coworking spaces, at 76 percent. For those employees working from coffee shops or cafés (the preferred workplace locale for 33 percent of respondents), 19 percent spend at least $6 to $10 per week. And depending on the work you do, you might need to purchase expensive equipment or software in order to get the job done.
This is much less of an issue for in-house employees. No matter the size of the business, they take care of these expenses by paying for the internet and providing snack and drink perks. Employees who require more specialized equipment or software programs to do their jobs will also have this provided for them.
Building company culture with in-house employees
One of the greatest benefits to onboarding in-house employees is the ability to create — and keep building — a strong company culture.
Company culture is hardly exclusive to businesses that have one primary headquarters. It can be built across offices, cities, countries — and within remote distributed teams. However, if a business doesn’t have a sense of company culture, opportunities for growth, or opportunities for a great salary, employees will exit — whether they’re on-site or remote workers. They’ll apply for jobs at companies that value them and allow employee to feel passionate about what they do and the business overall.
Look at your existing company culture for in-house employees and remote workers alike:
- Are your employees engaged?
- Do they exhibit positive feelings about the business and the work they do?
- What are their relationships like with their fellow team members?
If the answers to these questions are not positive, it’s time to start developing solutions to get your company culture back on track.
Maybe you’ll decide that keeping your team fully in house is the right direction to take your small business. If not, though, you might consider doing what I do: a hybrid of both. Keep the lines of communication open, provide as many opportunities for growth as you can, and make sure your company culture is an inclusive environment. By putting the focus on providing these benefits, you’ll be able to retain talent — both in house and remote.