There are various ways to incorporate remote work policies into the way you run your business. In remote or distributed teams, some or all members of a team perform their work at home or at another location other than a central office, often across multiple locations and time zones.

Although not always the case, distributed teams often benefit from more flexible schedules as well, with staff able to choose when their day starts and ends. A team may be made up of contractors, freelancers, or employees, depending on the needs of your business.

With more than half of full time in-office workers wanting to work remotely, it’s worth considering why more and more companies choose to work with distributed teams.

Reduced operating costs

Although cost-saving is not the only reason to create a distributed team, it can help you boost your bottom line. With fewer people in-house, you won’t need to expand your office space as you grow. You may even be able to downsize or have no central office at all. In turn you’ll see a reduction in operating costs and other overheads like office supplies, furniture, and cleaning services.

You can choose to pay it forward by providing remote employees with a working from home allowance to help with their own costs associated with working remotely, or put it towards face-to-face team meetups or retreats, which help to increase connection and morale.

Attract and retain a wider pool of talent

Offering flexible and remote work options makes your company attractive to more candidates, with 80% of professionals stating they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working.  Existing staff are also more likely to recommend their company to other candidates.

When hiring a remote or distributed team, you can look outside the geographical limits of your organisation. If options are limited in your area, you can look for talent anywhere in the world. Hiring contractors or employees in various locations can give you valuable insights into new markets that you’d otherwise need to invest in researching and possibly take on bigger risks to explore.

When someone on your team is faced with a decision to relocate, whether for family or spouse commitments or simply a desire to travel, remote work offers another solution that allows you to keep a valued staff member and the knowledge, experience and relationships they bring to your business.

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More inclusive and diverse teams

Traditional working environments pose barriers for many people with different abilities and health requirements. Work schedules can be impossible to juggle with appointments and other health requirements and commuting can be particularly challenging.

Many highly qualified, capable people are overlooked simply due to specific needs that aren’t met by the conventional workplace. Remote work allows people to design their own work environments, work around discomfort or pain, have access to any special needs or equipment and alleviate risks involved with commuting. The flexibility of remote work also benefits working parents or people with caregiving responsibilities.

The benefits of employing people with diverse needs and backgrounds extend to the organisation too. A diverse workforce fosters innovation and creativity, brings in a broader range of experience and perspectives, and leads to faster problem solving, improved employee engagement, and better financial performance.

Happier, more satisfied workers

Organisations that work with distributed teams report higher morale, lower stress and less absenteeism. Employees agree, with 90% agreeing that more flexible work arrangements would increase morale,

Remote work allows people to gain more from their day, with even a small reduction in commute time making a big impact. People that have time to prioritise their personal lives and their physical and mental well-being tend to be happier in their jobs, with 80% of remote workers experiencing less job stress.

Increased productivity

Whether it’s office politics, commute fatigue, or unnecessary meetings scattered throughout the day, there are plenty of distractions around the office that can prevent people from working at their best. 65% of people say they are  more productive in their home office than in a traditional workplace environment.

Allowing your workers the flexibility to choose where and when they work results in better motivation and productivity, with 85% of businesses confirming that productivity has increased due to greater flexibility.

Empowering workers to influence their own schedules also means they can work when they’re at their most productive. With the right boundaries in place, early birds and night owls alike can perform at their best.

Reduced carbon footprint

Remote work is environmentally friendly, contributing to reductions in traffic congestion, air pollution, and road wear and tear. By allowing people to work from home or from more convenient locations, you can help to improve your company’s impact on the environment.

Working with distributed teams isn’t without challenges, but with an increase of almost 400% in the last decade, it’s a style of employment that is here to stay. To ensure you build a successful distributed team, make sure you prioritise communication and trust.

As an employer, your responsibilities are different between employees, contractors and freelancers, so be careful to classify your workers correctly. A contractor management system, such as Lano, can help ensure you abide by minimise any compliance risks.