Working in the ‘gig economy’ can help grow a business faster than before. When setting up a workforce, it is convenient to have access to a slurry of freelance workers. There is only so far you can expand when relying on freelancers. But, more workers means more space, and creating a bigger workplace presents a challenge for up and coming businesses.
But, the modern workspace has evolved. With technological advances in telecommunications, we no longer need a physical office. There is no point in investing large amounts of capital in setting up a workplace when the same work could be done remotely.
The question is, how do you instill a distance working culture in your business? There are two options, either you can use an outsourcing firm or a team of individual remote workers. Each method has both advantages and disadvantages – the way forward depends on your unique business needs.
What’s the Difference?
Virtual team members are just that, team members. These workers are integrated into the structure of your workforce. Once these teams are established, they are managed by your business as an extension of your core team. The tasks best suited to a remote worker are continuous and repetitive tasks, such as administration and data capturing.
With outsourcing, you only have contact with the firm’s project manager. There is no contact between you and the workers. This is suited to projects that have a set number of outcomes and those that need specialized skills or equipment. Because of its large workforce, outsourcing is good for projects that require large amounts of work.
There are several overlapping qualities of remote-staffing and outsourcing. You may hire remote staff through an agency or have an outsourced team that reports directly to you. Every company is different.
It’s all about the bottom line. Outsourcing may result in a lower cost-per-project, as defined by an agreed set of outcomes. Following this model, outsourcing has a more rigid pricing structure.
Remote-staffing provides flexibility, quickly allowing up- and down-scaling. As the size of the team changes, so do your costs.
Level of Control
Outsourcing typically involves a single-point-of-contact between your business and the outsourcing firm. In contrast, remote workers are often managed in-house. This means that you are involved in the work process and thus have more control of the final product.
Control is traded for effective time management. The more hands-on control you have on the final product, the more direct management is required. The same is true for distance working operations. If you decide to use an outsourcing firm, you will not be required to directly manage the team, saving time and resources.
The reverse is true remote-staffing. Remote-staffing requires intense involvement in the management process. This translates to time, energy, and other resources being spent on the project.
There is an advantage to using an outsourcing firm over remote workers because the system checks and balances are already in place. When learning to manage your own remote team, you have to establish these protocols from scratch.
Pick Your Team
In contrast to outsourcing, remote-staffing gives you the ability to choose your employees. With outsourcing, you hire the company and have little to no say on who is on your project. Outsourcing firms typically have access to a wide range of talent. This makes finding the people with the right skill-set for your project an easy and streamlined process.
If you hire each remote worker individually, it may be more difficult to find properly qualified personnel.
Your company culture is essential to any business, particularly a new one. Remote workers communicate with the different members of your core team. They are as much a part of your company as any physical worker. Whereas, using an outsourcing firm has more of an air of separation from the main team.
The tough choice is to decide what kind of ethos you want to create. This largely depends on the function in question. For example, if you are outsourcing accounting functions, the core team won’t need to be involved. If you were wanting administrative tasks done, your core team would need to be involved.
Breaking Down International Barriers
One of the chief drawcards of distance work culture is that you can hire people from all around the world. Outsourcing firms offer a benefit in this regard because they often have international branches.
This has the added bonus of finding employees in countries where the price of labor is cheaper than in your base countries. You can do this by finding a group of remote workers. But, outsourcing agencies have preexisting global ties, making this process effortless.
The choice of whether to outsource or use a remote team is largely dependent on the amount of work to be done.
If there are huge quantities of work, it may be easier to hire an outsourcing firm than to set up a remote team from scratch. Simply because outsourcing firms already have access to a large number of skilled workers on-hand. This also makes outsourcing a better choice for projects that will need to be rapidly upscaled and downscaled.
Both methods of distance working improve scalability. By negating the constraints of the physical office space, you create space for infinite growth.
- The ‘gig’ economy has allowed businesses to grow by employing freelance workers. There does come a time when your needs outgrow individual freelancers. This means that you will have to get more hands to do more tasks. Expanding physical office space is expensive; this makes distance work an elegant alternative.
- There are two main types of distance work: outsourcing firms and hiring remote workers. Remote workers become a part of the core team of your company. They are well suited to repetitive tasks, such as administration and data capturing.
- Outsourcing is suitable for large projects and business processes that need specific skills and equipment. Pricing is generally based on project criteria or hours of work required.
- Remote-staffing takes a more hands-on management strategy. This gives you more control over the final product. But, with outsourcing, you communicate with a single project manager who oversees the rest of the team.
- Both methods allow for workers from all over the world. There is no physical barrier, making room for a global search for talent. This may also lead to decreased labor costs. It is easier to do with an established outsourcing firm, as they already have international contacts.
- If you are recruiting your own team of remote-workers, it may be difficult to find personnel with the skills you need. If you work through an outsourcing agency, there is skilled labor on hand.
- Although outsourcing may be cheaper per project, remote staffing offers more flexibility. This is because there is no fixed contact with an external firm.
- Both methods improve the scalability of your company. Once protocols are established, the group of employees can be added to the team with minimal effort. Using a large firm can help scalability, as there is access to a greater number of skilled employees.
A business cannot survive on freelancers alone. When you start to break through your shell, you need to make sure you have enough people to help you through the transition. Bringing on more full-time staff is expensive and requires an expansion of the physical workspace. Thanks to developments in telecommunications, this is no longer necessary. Remote workers and outsourced teams can be just as productive – or even more so – than physically present employees. At Noon Dalton, we are able to customize the perfect solution for you and your in-house team.