A conversation that is happening around workspaces the world over is how to get the best talent – one that is productive, motivated and cost effective. Today’s world is inundated with startups – companies which are revolutionising all aspects of life, providing unique technologies and benefits to consumers and, in the process, creating interesting disruptive businesses. These dynamic companies cannot afford to hire talent in the same old-fashioned way where everyone is a full-time employee, with a contract of a year or more, perks and most of all the time in getting productive.
No. Today’s companies need talent that mirrors them – flexible, productive and cost-effective.
This is where the need to relook the traditional methods of hiring comes in. With the rise in telecommunications and the ability to work and connect remotely, startups and recruitment agencies for startups are now looking beyond the traditional full-time employees at a wider and more flexible pool of talent that is waiting to be tapped into. This talent, which can be remote workers, part-time workers, and those who are recruited on a project basis, can be optimized and used to create a more productive workforce.
Think alternative: Remote hiring
A number of studies have shown that working from home, or remotely, brings about more productivity and less employee turnover. One of the best examples of this is of CTrip, a Chinese travel company which was included in a study conducted by Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang. In the study, half the staff members were given the option of working remotely, while the other half had to work from the office.
At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that those employees who worked from home were much happier, and also showed an improved productivity by going through 13.5 percent more calls than those who worked from the office. This clearly proves that working from home/remotely is directly related to improved productivity.
Another study conducted by Paypal India has found that freelancing in India is enjoying strong growth prospects – a survey based on 500 freelancers across the country has revealed that 23 percent of the freelancers earned upto Rs 60 lakhs annually, while most freelancers earned Rs 20 lakhs annually. While the study revealed that most of these freelancers were men under the age of 40, a large number of women are also actively getting drawn to it. Many talented people, who do not wish to follow the regular 9-5 jaunt, do not want to be tied down to one particular company, or need to balance their home and work lives, often opt for freelance/work-from-home profiles.
The general misconception about remote working/work-from-home is that it creates an environment for lethargy, distractions and hence, less productivity – so how do the results from the two studies mentioned above tally? Well remote working opportunities are found to provide the following benefits to employees and their employers:
- Saving up on office space: By hiring remote talent, you have fewer people in office, hence, doing away with the need to have large office spaces. The cost of office material, furnishing and utility bills such as electricity also reduce – a godsend for startups which are looking to utilize their funds more efficiently.
In the CTrip experiment, for example, the company saved USD 1,900 per employee for nine months, just by allowing them to work from home.
- Travel time is avoided: In big cities, especially those like Mumbai and Bengaluru, travelling is a nightmare which can take up to four hours of an employee’s day. By hiring talent to work remotely, employees and companies get to save on the hours spent travelling, which can then be used for other more productive work.
Employees also don’t need to navigate through the tribulations of peak time traffic, hence, allowing them to be fresher and more energized at work.
- Less distraction: While the popular belief is that homes are distracting places to work at, especially if you have kids, offices can sometimes be even more distracting. Constant coffee breaks, chats with co-employees, and frequent meetings may lead to less productivity.
On the other hand, employees who work from home often tend to work that much harder to prove themselves, do not get distracted by colleagues and take shorter breaks.
- Contingencies do not affect: In case of contingent situations such as floods, work does not get affected if your employees are working remotely/at home, as opposed to if everything is located centrally with full-time staff. You can carry on with your business as usual, with your employees working from their own remote stations.
- A healthier workforce: By allowing your staff to work remotely/from home, you also enable them to incorporate essentials such as exercise, family time and time to follow hobbies/personal interests, into their work lives.
This means fewer days off due to illnesses and doctor visits and ultimately creates a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.