Building Competitive Advantage When Your Team is Remote
“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” ~ Jack Welch
The world gets smaller every day as more companies and products saturate the market. What are companies doing to set themselves apart?
As a greater number of employees desire to have a greater sense of work-life balance, remote teams are becoming more popular in many of the world’s largest companies. While many critics of remote teams are skeptical about their efficacy and productivity, and there are certainly challenges that come along with it, remote work can be cited as a competitive advantage giving companies a leg up on the competition.
Advantages of remote work
- Lower office space costs. Companies can drastically reduce the amount of square footage required for their offices by utilizing remote employees. Reduced office space means reduced rent, lower electricity utilization, decreased office expenses thereby reducing the overall overhead costs – reduced costs equals higher margins!
- Companies that offer remote working opportunities are very attractive to candidates. Employees are more willing and likely to accept a position with a company that they believe has their best interests for work-life balance at heart.
- When a disaster such as the recent pandemic strikes, companies with remote teams can easily and fluidly meet the needs of its customers and employees. For some, the transition may be seamless and more or less transparent as they quickly and easily transition to a remote model without any interruption to their normal business activity. Customers appreciate this resiliency and will become loyal customers to those which can continue to offer their products and services despite whatever may be going on in the world.
- When your team is remote and employees feel supported, encouraged and have shared responsibilities, they are more likely to work together as a cohesive group. They are empowered to make decisions, to do what is right for your customers, and are eager to work collaboratively to solve even the most difficult of problems.
- Companies who foster a culture where remote work is not only accepted but encouraged see a higher retention rate than other companies. Let’s face it! Employee turnover is an expensive business but when employees are satisfied and fulfilled in their roles, they are more apt to be loyal and dedicated to the company and their jobs. According to PredictiveIndex.com, “remote workers say they’re likely to stay in their current job for the next five years which is 13% more likely to stay than onsite workers.”
- Employee satisfaction and productivity go hand in hand in many organizations. When employees not only enjoy the job that they are doing but appreciate the workplace perks, they are more likely to be cognizant of their performance. Perks like compensation, health insurance and profit-sharing are all valuable to an employee but more importantly, most employees appreciate the work-life balance that remote work affords them and they are willing to do what they have to do to maintain this advantage. While there is a common misconception that remote employees tend to slack off or are not as productive, research shows that in fact, most remote workers are more productive since they experience fewer workplace distractions and can focus on the task at hand when and where they want.
In most industries, the competition can be steep and the challenges of obtaining market share can be difficult. Why not build a competitive advantage from within, incurring costs savings, employee retention and satisfaction, and loyal customers!
Companies around the world are separating themselves from the pack by creating remote work teams. For example, GitHub, Zapier, Crowdstrike, and Buffer have each risen from among the ranks within their respective industries because they have implemented and effectively utilize a remote workforce according to Entrepreneur.com.
While building a remote team may not solve all of a company’s problems or change the perception of their culture and products, it does go along way towards building a corporate culture in which employees want to work and will give it their all for the benefit of the organization. Will a remote team work in every industry and company? Certainly not but whether leaders choose to take remote work to the extreme or to begin small allowing only select employees to transition, remote work will help to build a competitive advantage and give a company that edge over the competition.