One of the biggest trends that we are seeing recently is the growth of virtual workers, i.e., employees who can work from home (or anywhere, really). This shift in culture has been fueled by a number of different things. For example, technology has given us the incredible ability to connect with one another. Online conference calls, productivity apps, and file-sharing platforms eliminate any distancing issues entirely. Teams are able to collaborate seamlessly, regardless of where people are.
One of the other major draws of working with a remote team is that it greatly opens up the ability to search for and find talent. This is particularly important for organizations that are looking to fill open roles with individuals that have a very specialized skillset. By being open to remote workers, you allow yourself to put the priority on the individual’s work as opposed to their physical location.
Some firms have estimated that about half of all jobs in the United States are compatible with working remotely, at least part of the time. However, in order for these jobs to be completed effectively, the company needs to have the technological setup discussed above. There also needs to be clear and direct conversations with the team about what the expectations are in terms of hours or response times. By doing this legwork you can set your virtual team up for success and enjoy some additional benefits:
Provide around-the-clock service
If your employees are able to work from anywhere, they should also be able to work any number of hours. This can be particularly helpful for organizations that provide customer service or need to make themselves available to provide assistance or answer questions.
Save on overhead costs
Paying rent is often the greatest expense for any business – and any individual! When you have a team that is largely working remotely you can cut down on many hard costs like rent, property taxes, utilities, etc. However, keep in mind that you may need to supply your team members with the proper equipment to work from home. Or, if not, you need to make it clear that there are certain things (laptop, headset, etc.) that they are expected to supply themselves.
Increase employee satisfaction
Working from home can save employees lots of time commuting. It also gives them the freedom to live in areas of lower rent as opposed to urban areas where many companies are located and where the cost of living can be quite high. Flexibility is one of the biggest things that applicants state that they are looking for in a new job. When employees are happier, they tend to be more productive and absenteeism is reduced.
Virtual teams can provide a lot of benefits to companies, particularly when it comes to time, costs, and productivity. The ease of this transition will depend on your company’s offerings and the nature of your work. However, many businesses have found that going at least partially-virtual is both doable and rewarding.