remote staff

Remote Staff vs Outsourced Staff

remote staff

Some companies have embraced the idea of remote staff. If you didn’t want employees working at home before or during the pandemic, you probably haven’t changed your mind. However, remote work has never been acceptable for some supervisory and management staff. Now that offices have settled into pre-pandemic operations; the idea won’t disappear. 

If you’ve accepted the concept of being responsible for workers you rarely see and can’t control, computer monitoring software is one answer to consider. Perhaps it’s the right time to consider outsourcing as well?

Forty Percent of Office Employees are “Remote Staff”

When Gallup conducted a remote work poll in 2021, they determined that 45% of employees still worked out of their homes at least part of the time. The white-collar remote worker total is 67%. 

Gallup also found that 9 out of 10 workers wanted to work at home at least some of the time. If this temporary business solution is now more or less permanent, it opens the door to other organizational changes; why not outsource?

Should You Consider Outsourcing Your Remote Workers’ Jobs? 

When companies began outsourcing work in the 80s, it was primarily a cost-cutting strategy. Instead of hiring employees to do specific jobs, they contracted them to workers in another city, another state, or even another country. 

These workers weren’t employees, so companies didn’t have much control over their actions. But, in exchange for relinquishing their supervisory and management responsibilities, businesses reaped financial benefits.

  • Lower salaries: fewer full-time workers with full-time salaries
  • No benefits: insurance, vacations, sick pay, or other perks
  • No office disputes or union contract negotiations
  • Fewer employer tax responsibilities
  • No office spaces, workspaces, parking spots, or office equipment

Remote Staff Get the Best of Both Worlds

Remote working employees work independently, just like outsourced workers. They don’t deal with supervisors, coworkers, and other workplace traditions. And yet much remote staff still get the same full-time salary and benefits received when they commuted to the office every day. 

Your management staff is still responsible for remote employees’ actions. With limited communication and few interactions, they have limited control. Except for the benefits and salary you pay, isn’t working with remote staff the same as outsourcing? 

Is it Time to Change the Rules?

If your employees don’t want to come to the office anymore, try keeping the workers but changing the rules. First, allow each employee to choose how to work, then consider transitioning remote workers into non-employees. 

  • Redefine “employee” as a worker who comes to the workplace every day.
  • “Rehire” remote workers as subcontractors who perform their jobs as outsourced tasks.
  • Evaluate remote workers based on work performed per contract instead of hours logged in.
  • Hire new short-term workers on a contract basis.
  • Relinquish some control elements the way you would if you subcontract the work to another country’s workers. 
  • Redo your benefits packages to reflect each employee’s status. 

You Have the Right to Update Your Employee/Employer Relationship

The bottom line is that most employment relationships in the U.S. are “at-will.” Except for specific illegal actions, you can release an employee at any time. You can also reconfigure work responsibilities and arrangements when your employees work from home. 

If you’re dealing with unionized employees, you might have to consider negotiating new arrangements. As pre-pandemic union agreements didn’t likely cover working at home, making changes might be more of a challenge, but it shouldn’t be impossible.

Contact Health Consultants Group

If you’d need assistance with a benefits strategy for your changing workforce, please visit our contact page or give us a call at (800) 367-2482.