What kind of employee is best for your business?

More and more people are going after a new kind of American Dream; they’re starting online businesses. And besides the pay-per-click ad websites and blogs which people hope will go viral, there are a lot of skilled workers out there who can do their jobs from just about anywhere. IT professionals are the obvious remote contract worker, but people in graphic design, illustration, writing, and anything to do with the web are also able to do their work anywhere, as long as they’ve got an internet connection.

As a result, many companies have started to hire people on part-time contracts just to fill in the gaps. There are benefits to hiring contractors, both for the contractor and the employer. But there are also some downsides to working with someone who’s not in the office. And there are some concrete benefits to having your employees in the office, working as part of the team. Here are a few things to think about while you decide whether to hire another employee to work in-house, or you go with a distance contractor.

Teamwork and Synergy in the Office

The biggest benefit of keeping your employees in-house, whether they’re full-time or part-time, is the fact that everyone sees each other on a regular basis. People come up with ideas over lunch or they stop in to chat with a co-worker and are reminded of something important. This synergy within the office improves creativity and adds to the team mentality which can promote success and innovation. There is simply no way to reproduce the effects of everyone sharing an office. Working together is different from working separately.

Productivity and Variety

When you hire someone from outside the office, however, you have a broader market to pull from and you may be able to pay based on product not number of hours worked. Studies about remote workers have shown that productivity among people working from home is very high. Instead of the expected drop in work, presumably caused by the lack of oversight, the result is more focus and better work ethic than if an employee must sit at their desk for a certain number of hours each day.

There are also the short term benefits of hiring a contractor. You’ll get to choose from a huge variety of providers, based on portfolios and actual examples of work. You will also be less invested in a remote worker and can easily hire them just for a short-term job. If it doesn’t work out, you can thank them and move on. But if it does work out, you may want to increase their workload.

The Bottom Line

There are certain jobs that are best done by contractors, such as the design of an annual benefit invitation. But there are also positions that are better filled by a full-time employee, such as one member of a design team. You can get great results from both types of employees, but whatever you do, don’t make a decision simply based on money. Consider the type of work and the atmosphere in your office first.