Remote Developer vs. Onsite Developer: What’s a More Viable Option?

Hiring can be one of the hardest tasks for an employer. Especially during Covid-19 when work culture has suffered immensely and many offices are now working online. While there are many offices which are still working in-house, should you consider hiring remote developers for your software business? Or, should you stick to conventional in-house developers?

We will answer this question in this article. We will compare remote and onsite developers in 7 areas to make the choice easier for you.

But firstly, let’s see what is meant by remote and on-site development.

Who is a Remote Developer?

As the name indicates, a remote developer is a professional who works remotely. A remote developer can work in different areas like:

Within these fields, there are many other subfields. A website developer can work on ecommerce websites, he may work on custom website development or on ready-made templates that people can use to make their websites.

Who is an Onsite Developer?

An onsite developer, as given by the name works inside an office and physically interacts with the team. Such developers work on software and hardware provided by the company in a dedicated space. They do the same work as a remote developer but they do it inside an office space. They are usually paid a fixed salary and they work for a fixed number of hours.

A comparison between Remote and Onsite developers

Here are 7 areas of comparisons that will help you choose between a remote and an onsite developer for your business.

1. Cost

Hiring a remote developer is cheaper than an on-site developer.

That is because online developers charge much less than an onsite developer yet, it may not be the case everywhere in the world. The cost/hour varies from developer to developer and from county to country. Plus, every developer has different capabilities so you might be getting low-quality work that will save you money but not in the long run.

E.g. If you hire a developer from a software house in Islamabad, Pakistan, it might not cost the same as a developer from Delhi (India). Prices vary from region to region.

In-house developers are mostly costlier. Salaries, rent, bills, hardware, medical insurance, etc. all come at a big cost. These costs are greatly reduced if you hire a remote developer plus, you can get experts on your project if you hire well and can save the cost without compromising the skills.

Keeping all that in mind, if the costs are comparable, hiring an in-house developer is the option to go for!

Remote Developer

Cheaper yet quality can be questionable

On-site developer

Costlier yet work is more reliable

2. Time

A good thing about remote work is that you have wider choices and hiring is faster and can be done for each project separately. You can avoid long-term commitments with remote developers and can hire new developers suited to the needs of a new project.

According to Neil Patel, it takes time to hire an onsite developer. For the desired skills you need to make a long-term commitment for that individual to invest his time and skills in your company. Yet, it takes less time to communicate an idea with an onsite developer, and desired results are achieved faster.

Another thing to consider is that you may end up spending more time explaining an idea to a remote developer than to an onsite developer. To achieve specific results, it might take a lot of revisions and long-awaited meetings in case of remote work.

Remote Developer

Hiring is easier but communication takes time

On-site developer

Hiring takes time but communication is faster

3. Productivity

While it might seem insignificant, distractions can greatly hinder the productivity of a developer. For an onsite developer, distractions like lunch breaks, chats with colleagues, traveling, etc. can be very distracting. These things in turn reduce the time to get work done and lead to more hours spent to meet deadlines.

On the other hand, for a remote developer, there are fewer distractions and he can work faster and more efficiently. According to Mark Murphy who is the chairman, and CEO of Leadership IQ, remote workers are 87% more likely to love their remote jobs!

Although the communication gap can slow down work a bit and affect productivity, overall there aren’t many factors that would keep a remote developer off work.

Remote Developer

Less prone to distractions

On-site developer

Faces more distractions

4. Communication and Relevance

Faster communication is one of the biggest advantages of hiring an onsite developer. With your employee in front of you at all times, you can monitor him closely, talk face to face and understand each other better.

An onsite developer gets to interact with teammates, collaborate and solve problems together. He can also learn from others helping him build up skills like better time management, resource management, and communication skills.

Even during personal meetings, miscommunication can occur so imagine the issue, being amplified in the case of a remote developer. On top of that, an onsite developer understands the company, its goals, and its issues and can give valuable feedback.

A remote developer, on the other hand, will only be concerned about the outcome of a project and won’t be able to contribute in the longer run.

Remote Development

Slower communication

On-site development

Faster communication

5. Flexibility

Remote work is no doubt more flexible than onsite work. Every individual is different and doesn’t work the same way. Many prefer remote work as it allows them to balance their personal and work-life better. With flexible deadlines and no distractions, work becomes easier.

The freedom allows a remote developer to work on his skillset and on his personal goals. Plus, as an employer, you can scale up and down the remote workforce. Additionally, you can also hire experienced members faster as per the need of the project.

Onsite developers, on the other hand, work during certain hours and cannot be accessed 24/7. You may hire a remote team from different time zones so your work never stops but an onsite team of developers only works for a limited time.

Remote Development

Offers more flexibility

On-site development

Offers Lower flexibility

6. Work Quality

An issue with remote work can be the risk related to quality work. When you are hiring an individual, it’s hard to guess if their portfolio is legit or not. Plus whether they will provide you with the quality they claim is also questionable.

To solve these issues you will have to organize technical interviews to assess the candidate. You might also need a representative in that country to make hiring better and faster in the area.

Quality won’t become that much of an issue if you hire an in-house developer. You can better monitor, control, and guide the developer due to face-to-face communication.

According to ZDNet, you might as well hire a single highly skilled in-house developer, who brings more value and long-term profits to your company rather than hiring 4-5 remote developers who have questionable skills.

Remote Development

Work quality is subject to certain factors

On-site development

High work quality with better control

7. Confidentiality

Every business has a secret recipe for success. When a company hires an employee, those secrets are shared putting them at risk. An in-house developer works on hardware and software provided by the company and is monitored the entire time. That makes it harder to leak confidential information.

On the contrary, when you work with a remote developer, you don’t have that much control over his system and his actions. Therefore, confidentiality becomes an issue. While there are ways to protect the information, it’s still harder in the case of remote development work.

Remote Development

Confidentiality at a higher risk

On-site development

Confidentiality at a lower risk

Our suggestions

Considering the above comparison, it comes down to the nature of your business and what you prioritize the most. If reducing cost is important then you can consider a remote developer who brings value for the amount paid.

If you want to hire quickly and don’t have any confidentiality concerns then you can again hire a remote developer. If you require a long-term employee who can provide high-quality results and can communicate with you as fast as possible, then an on-site developer is the better option.

If you want your employees to be the most productive and promote flexible work hours, then you may hire a remote developer.

What you choose at the end of the day depends on your unique requirements and goals. The above comparisons are subjective and may not apply to every developer you consider. Thus, it’s important you thoroughly evaluate all sides of the matter before you make any decision.

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