Remote working vs Office Pros and Cons

Remote Working vs Office: Pros and Cons for Recruiters

In 2018, the Financial Times reported 43% of all UK employees have flexible working conditions with 89% of British workers believing that flexible working conditions would boost their productivity; it’s clear there’s an undeniable appetite for remote working and a place for it in the recruitment industry. But is it right for your agency?

If you’re considering whether remote working would be beneficial to your recruitment agency, we’ve investigated the pros and cons to help you decide whether you want to provide flexible working conditions for your recruiters.

What is remote working?

Remote working allows recruiters the freedom to work outside the confinements of the office environment. This could be working from home, a co-working space, on-the-go or at a cafe. Remote working is part of a wider concept called flexible working.

The root of flexible working relies on the trust that your recruiters will agree to work their contracted hours in a way that is most productive for them. This could be a traditional 9am-5pm in the office or, alternatively, working remotely for part, or all, of the working week.

Other examples of flexible working include compressed hours, start and finish times that are school-run-friendly or a ‘flexitime’ model which lets your recruiters choose when their workdays start and finish based on client and candidate requirements.

But working in the office is still the norm for the vast majority of recruitment agencies. So what are the pros and cons of working in an office environment?

Working in the office

According to a Microsoft-sponsored survey, “73% of companies today rely solely on in-house employees” – but this is slowly changing. Marissa Meyer, chief of Yahoo, says, “People are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together”, providing food for thought on the debate around working in the office vs. remote working.

Pros:

  • It’s much easier to continuously develop a positive workplace culture aligned with your mission, vision and values when everyone is working in the same offices.
  • It allows your recruiters to work collaboratively, which can boost overall performance and teamwork.
  • New recruiters can shadow experienced recruiters, improving the onboarding and training process.
  • In the office, it’s often easier to manage your recruiters’ time, keep them motivated and offer support when required.
  • In the office they can learn by listening to their colleagues, observing best practice and improving performance and skills by osmosis.
  • It’s easier to witness and celebrate the achievements of your recruiters. Seeing success in person, rather than over the phone or reading data analytics, is much more powerful.

Cons:

  • An open office is often a loud and distracting environment which can negatively affect recruiter productivity.
  • The cost of renting office space is one of the largest ongoing costs for any recruitment agency, especially ensuring there is desk space for a growing workforce.
  • There’s a higher likelihood of injury: the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that office workers are 2 – 2.5 times more likely than non-office workers to suffer injury from a fall.
  • 45% of UK workers spend over an hour a day commuting. As well as the time commitment, there is also a considerable cost whether that is towards petrol or public transport.

Remote working

Powwownow reported that 67% of employees want the flexibility of working at home. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of remote working for recruitment agencies?

Pros:

  • Working at home can inspire your recruiters to think more laterally, giving them time to recruit smarter as they’re removed from a distracting office environment.
  • If you want to attract the next generation of recruiters, offering the option of remote working is considered a real perk as part of a benefits package,
  • When geography is not a barrier, you can source your recruiters in different parts of the country, widening the pool to find exceptional recruiters.
  • The ability to reduce your office space by decreasing the number of full time desks required, which will assist in reducing your ongoing rental cost
  • In a study conducted by HR association CIPD, 3 out of 4 workers reported that flexible working has a positive effect on their wellbeing. Therefore, recruiters can feel less stressed when working from home as there’s a much greater opportunity for work-life balance.

Cons:

  • Recruiter isolation – working alone for lengthy periods can lead to isolation, which can be highly demotivating.
  • Remote working lacks direct personal contact. This may lead remote recruiters to work without the support they need.
  • With no direct supervision, there’s a risk for recruiters to take advantage and slack off.
  • If your recruiters don’t separate their work and home lives, they may end up working all around the clock and suffer considerable burnout.
  • Having the IT infrastructure in place to support recruiter to work remotely.

The key is finding the right balance that makes commercial sense for your agency and allows your recruiters to work as productively as possible and achieve a work life balance. Building a successful culture is just one aspect of creating an exceptional recruitment team.

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