If you need to develop a mobile application, a website, or some other new technology, you’ll need to put together the best possible team. The options are practically limitless here; you could build a full-time in-house team from scratch, you could pull together a ragtag team of freelancers, or you could work with a development agency, i.e., hire remote developers.
Should You Hire Remote Developers?
One of your best options could be hiring a remote software development team—but it’s not the best play for all companies or all situations. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of such a move, and explore how to approach your decision.
The Advantages of a Remote Development Team
There are several benefits to working with a remote development team, including:
Flexibility in hiring
For starters, if you’re willing to hire people remotely, you’ll have a much larger pool of individuals and teams to choose from. You can work with almost anyone, from anywhere around the world, rather than being limited to the people in your current city or state. Ultimately, this helps you find more skilled, talented developers to add to your team, and can help you find more competitive cost structures.
Speaking of costs, you’ll likely pay less for managing a remote team than you will with a full-time in-house team in a traditional office setting. As previously mentioned, the bigger talent pool means you’ll be able to find skilled people at lower prices. But on top of that, your overhead costs will be much lower. It costs several hundred dollars per month per person to lease an office, at least, and you can cut that expense to zero by operating remotely.
Higher employee morale
Typically, software developers who work remotely tend to have higher morale than their traditional office-bound counterparts. They get to work from home, they can skip traffic, they have flexible hours, and they can work in ways that better favor their personal style. As a result, you’ll see higher levels of productivity, a better overall attitude, and perhaps most importantly—higher rates of retention.
Minimal impact on work
Software development is a job that isn’t dependent on the structure of a traditional office. To code effectively, all you need is a decent device, an internet connection, and your mind. Granted, you’ll occasionally need to collaborate with teammates, test your product, meet with clients, and handle other responsibilities—but these can be accomplished with the help of cloud software. There’s virtually no impact on the quality of the finished product by working from home, especially if you choose the right team to work with.
Faster response times
If all your software developers work in the office from 9 to 5, it may be harder to get in touch with them after-hours—which means a server outage at 8:30 pm might go unattended for an extended period of time. But if you have a remote team with rotating hours and constant availability, you’ll enjoy much faster response times.
The Disadvantages of a Remote Development Team
Of course, there are some disadvantages to working with a remote team as well, including:
Hours and availability
Depending on where your remote team is located, you may run into some issues with hours and availability. This is especially problematic if you’re working with a team that lives in a different time zone.
Sometimes, remote teams struggle with communication; they’re unable to meet as effectively in a remote environment and may struggle to write as well as they speak. However, most communication issues can be resolved with time and patience.
Building a work culture is easy when all your team members are working in close proximity. But if all your team members are in different areas, nurturing that culture becomes very challenging.
It’s not especially hard to take a traditional team and make them remote. It’s much harder to take a remote team and bring them back to the office; if you ever intend on going back to an office, you’ll have your work cut out for you.
Not all remote teams are alike. You’ll need to do your due diligence to make sure you’re getting the best possible talent.
So how can you make such an important decision with so many pros and cons to consider? The best approach is to establish your top-level priorities. For example, is it more important to you to get the best possible finished product, or to ensure you have a top-notch company culture? Are you willing to navigate the hurdles of remote communication if it means saving money and getting access to better talent? You’ll be making tradeoffs no matter what; the only question is which tradeoffs you make.