Around the world, the pandemic spurred a significant rise in remote work arrangements. Regardless of industry or business model, remote teams can have significant impacts—both positive and negative—on a company’s overall financial health. In some cases, remote teams require a company to buy new technology in order for employees to accomplish their work. On the other hand, many companies are saving significant amounts of money by not maintaining a physical office—and some are even seeing increased productivity.
As more companies are beginning to make the decision on whether to continue with remote work, head back to the office or settle on an arrangement that combines the two, it’s essential for leaders to carefully consider what’s right for their unique situation. Below, 14 members of Forbes Finance Council share ways your remote team may be impacting your company’s finances.
1. Increased Procrastination And Competition For Resources
I faced one of the negative effects of remote work: increased procrastination caused by a lack of communication. Additionally, there was a cost increase caused by remote market globalization—more and more businesses began going remote, so they started hiring employees globally. Before the pandemic, we had to compete for resources locally. Now we have to compete globally. – Peter Shubenok, RNDpoint
2. Potential Communications Breakdowns
A lack of communication can create headaches for remote teams. I have worked remotely since 2005, and I have found that increased communication is critical to meeting deadlines and avoiding misunderstandings. – Paul Davis, Strategic Resource Management
3. Higher Travel Costs
As we start coming back to work, remote teams will need to begin meeting up with their broader team at a central location every few months. This will mean that employees who rarely traveled, such as product managers and engineers, will be making four to six trips in a year that they didn’t before. Finance teams need to account for enabling these remote employees to spend time together, along with the associated costs. – Robin Gandhi, TripActions Liquid
4. The Need For A Robust Culture
Working for a remote-first fintech, remote teams are quite literally the lifeblood of our organization. It can be easy to dismiss the concept of culture in remote teams, but when created, supported and pushed to thrive, culture can have a dramatic impact on the financial and overall success of an organization. Happy, engaged employees undisputedly do better work. – Michelle Prohaska, NYMBUS
5. Lower Overhead Costs
Remote work enables companies to remove traditional fixed overhead costs from their financials. Specific expenses, including rent, office supplies, utilities and salaries based on “handcuffed” geographies tied to a central office, can be reduced or eliminated from forward-looking plans. With these savings, management can invest more in R&D or employee learning to drive top-line growth. – John Tytko, Caremerge, Inc.
6. Reduced Need For Physical Expansions
We had considered expanding the physical footprint of our business regionally and nationally before Covid. Then everyone became more comfortable meeting virtually using services such as Zoom. Now, without leaving our office, we’re meeting with clients nationwide. So we’ve expanded our business not through remote teams as much as a remote business model—working with clients in other cities virtually. – Bill Keen, Keen Wealth Advisors
7. More Time Saved For Working And Expense Savings For Employees
Remote workers don’t need to spend money on commuting, eating out, dry cleaning, pet care and so on. On average, Americans spend almost one hour per day in total commute time. If employees capture 100% of their “no-need-to-commute” expense savings but allocate 30 minutes more per day to working—splitting the time savings differential with their employer—they win, and their employers win. – Sean Brown, YCharts
8. Boosted Productivity
A hybrid model with some team members working remotely seems ideal. Less office space and resources are required, and studies have shown that working from home has boosted productivity in many ways. This is also a keen “perk” or benefit in today’s competitive recruiting landscape. Many would even take slightly less pay to be able to work from home. – Leslie Heimer, American Liberty Mortgage | Stockworth
9. Savings On Health Benefits
Offering benefits to a remote team, often scattered across the country, presents its share of unique financial challenges—but also potential savings opportunities. Extra vigilance is required when selecting and structuring benefit offerings. A high-deductible health plan paired with an employer-sponsored health savings account program can realize short- and long-term financial benefits for both the company and its employees. – Tom Torre, Bend Financial
10. Compromised Company Security
When employees are too relaxed about security compliance, it can put your entire company at risk for cyberthreats. To mitigate risk, invest in implementing automated phishing simulations and training videos and set up two-factor authentication. Educating remote teams on cybersecurity is crucial for keeping your company secure from costly threats. – Jody Grunden, Summit CPA Group
11. Access To Global Talent Pool
Remote teams empower companies to access the global talent pool at a fraction of the cost, which in turn drastically reduces recruitment costs—thereby directly impacting the bottom line of organizations that rely heavily on the brainpower of their workforce. – Anil Grandhi, AG FinTax
12. More Focus On Teamwork, Communication And Goals
Remote teams can get the business to focus on teamwork, communication and goals. There are software tools to help you monitor all areas of your business and track the output of employees. This higher level of business monitoring can help focus teams on profitability and customer-centric actions. Trusted employees may be more productive remotely with the time added to the workday and measured output. – Dave Sackett, Visibility Corporation
13. Lower Tax Liability
Among the positive financial aspects of remote teams are the cost savings that come from reduced office spaces and insurance. But other savings include not dishing out huge local payroll taxes in cities such as San Francisco and New York. Utilizing remote teams can also lead to savings for the employees, including the elimination of commuting expenses—plus, they’re not losing any time commuting, which adds to the company’s benefit. – Kurt Kunselman, AccountingSuite™
14. Better Client Engagement
Unlike the days when client meetings meant costly travel and time away for commuting, remote teams can reach clients more frequently for video or call check-ins. Technology such as Zoom meetings also allows you to keep more members of your team engaged. – Sonya Thadhani Mughal, Bailard, Inc.