The more I speak with companies looking for developers, the more I realize one common thread: Many companies are skittish when it comes to hiring remote workers, whether they’re across town, across the country, or around the world. There’s something deeply ingrained in the culture that says an employee must be on-site to be effective, to be effectively managed, or to be part of “the team.”
However it can’t be denied that so-called “cutting edge” companies are hiring more and more remote employees, and offering traditional, on-site employees more and more flexibility to work from home to promote better “work-life balance.” A recent Huffington Post article claims that 45% of US employees are already working from home.
There are definitely some concerns that must be addressed when hiring remote workers, however, many of the concerns that exist in the thought process of hiring managers and HR departments are more based in myth than fact. So in the vein of a very popular TV show, let’s do a little myth busting.
Myth 1: Remote Workers are unreliable or hard to manage.
This, of course, is a generalization. In any given population, some of your employees will be more reliable than others, and this holds true whether they’re in your office, working in a remote office, or working from home. To overcome the problem of employee reliability, a good manager will rely on effective management practices as well as effective hiring practices. Volumes have been written about how to effectively manage under-motivated employees, and with only a little tweak, they apply to remote employees as well.
We’ve written a white paper all about remote employee management, check it out.
Myth #2: Overseas employees aren’t as “good” as domestic employees.
And we’ve hit on another generalization. Are the employees in your office the best in the world? Chances are, because you’ve hired them, you think they’re near the top. If they were to work from home for a company on the other side of the country, would your employees still be the best? The point is, everywhere is remote to somewhere. Top developers are top developers, whether they’re in your office, across town, or on the other side of the world. And they’re that good because of their commitment to staying up-to-date on leading edge technology and their dedication to their craft; not because they’re located in the same city or state that you are.
Myth #3: Freelancers are unreliable.
Actually, this one’s not so much of a myth. Freelancers can be unreliable. They have to continually be focused on marketing themselves to new clients so they can keep the money flowing in, and they are often working for several clients at once for the same reason. In this scenario, you’re not sure if your project is at the top of their list or if you are priority #6 or 7 or worse.
Sometimes hiring a freelance developer makes sense. Sometimes it doesn’t. We recently published a blog post helping you know the difference. Check it out.
Myth #4: Overseas developers are hard to understand/communicate with.
Reality: In some cases, this can be true. Talent can be found anywhere in the world in today’s globalized economy. But communication barriers can be very real. If you are fluent in a second language, some markets may be more viable than others when it comes to finding offshore talent. But if you’re like most Americans, you’ll want to focus efforts where English is spoken well and is easily understood. This is one of several reasons CoDev has focused its offshore efforts on the Philippines. English is the language of business and education, and accents are very neutral and largely very easy to understand. And just to make things easier, CoDev prescreens all of its candidates for English proficiency before you ever see them.
These are some of the main reasons companies choose to focus on hiring local, in-house developers. But if they’re willing to think just a little bit outside the proverbial box, companies in today’s global climate can save time and find great talent by looking at remote team members.
CoDev can help. We’ve been navigating the offshore remote employee world since 2010, and we’ve hired hundreds of employees for dozens of companies across the US and Canada. Let us help you build your team.