Virtual work is now the new norm. Driven by stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies hastily adapted various remote work arrangements. The frequency of remote work before and after COVID-19 saw a significant spike.
But even before the pandemic, many businesses have already embraced virtual teams. According to OWL Labs, around 6 out of 10 employees work remotely at any frequency. Among these workers, 30% work remotely full-time. Virtual employees number in millions and their number continues to grow as more and more companies see the benefits of this work set up.
What is a Virtual Company?
A virtual company adapts work-from-anywhere set up. Unlike regular work-from-home policies, wherein employees can opt to work remotely on certain days, virtual teams do not report in a centralized, physical office. Instead, they meet on a virtual platform, such as a dedicated, cloud-based solution, messaging software, a company intranet, or any other online means of communication.
Virtual teams do not report on-site and can choose where they will work, such as at home, a co-working space, or any other suitable location with strong Internet access.
Although many businesses in the US already adapt virtual teams, many others are still hesitant. They are unsure about the potential impact of full off-site work on their organization, teams, and employees.
Allshore, remote staffing experts, warns that building a fully virtual company comes with rewards and challenges. Its impact on an organization may vary depending on the industry, organizational structure, technologies in use, and employee management.
Let’s check out the pros and cons of transforming your organization into a fully remote company.
Pros of a Fully Virtual Company
Communication is crucial to business success. In a fully virtual company, all communication threads and files are stored in a centralized database. This means every team member can easily access and retrieve important information they need. Virtual office reduces clutter, cumbersome paperwork, and time-consuming document management. It can greatly save time looking for documents.
Minimize Overhead Costs
By going virtual, you can significantly cut overhead costs on maintaining a physical office space. Virtual companies don’t have to shell out expenses on office space improvement, lease, and recurrent utility bills. Although some businesses do have a main office, you won’t need a large space for the entire team.
Access to Talent
Virtual companies have access to a larger pool of talent. By bringing your work to cyberspace, you expand your workforce and enable you to secure top talents from across the globe. Your company is not limited to talents in a specific geographic location. This also benefits employees as they won’t be forced to re-locate. More and more employees are now looking for jobs that offer the flexibility of a work-from-home setup. And virtual companies are in the best position to hire them.
Virtual companies can offer flexible work arrangements. As such, employees can achieve a work-life balance. This can ensure a happier workforce. High employee satisfaction rate leads to a reduction in employee attrition. This ensures continuous delivery of topnotch service and the sustainability of your business.
In the traditional work set up, increasing the workforce requires additional workspace as well as its attendant costs. With virtual companies, you can add new team members without the need for a larger office space. This enables optimum scalability and agility for your company.
When properly implemented, remote work can help increase productivity by eliminating distractions in the workplace, unnecessary in-person meetings, and commute. Virtual team members stay focused on their tasks and get the job done. Studies even show that remote workers are less likely to take time off; hence, they are more productive. Furthermore, virtual teams are spread across the globe, thus they can transcend time zones. This creates a virtually 24/7 workforce with continuous output.
Tap New Markets
Virtual companies are not bounded by geographic limitations. Through the Internet, you can expand your reach and tap new markets anywhere around the world that otherwise would have been out of reach. This increases your revenue and success.
Cons of a Fully Virtual Company
Creating a virtual workforce comes with some drawbacks that you need to consider. These include:
Having team members from across the globe might create culture clashes. The management needs to implement strategies that will help address diversity issues and ensure that all workers feel comfortable. For instance, the American attitude of being straightforward and upfront can come as disrespectful to international workers who are used to a more timid culture.
Lack of Company Culture
One of the advantages of traditional, on-site work setup is that employees have opportunities to interact with each other. These social interactions foster camaraderie and collaboration among team members. It is also crucial in developing a company culture.
Compared to physically monitoring employees, managing remote workers can be more daunting. You need to develop strategies to effectively monitor the output of every team member. Nowadays, employee monitoring softwares such as workpulse are used to keep eyes on remote employees activity. It is important that the entire team is on the same page and completes their respective tasks as planned. Project management software is necessary to ensure that objectives are met.
Cybersecurity threats continue to pose problems to virtual companies. Hackers and unscrupulous parties don’t choose their targets. It is critical to put a secured infrastructure to protect the confidential information you store remotely. For example, a data breach in specific industries such as healthcare and financial services can have a major impact on your business reputation.
Risk to Reputation
Although many companies are now going virtual, not all customers are comfortable with this setup. The proliferation of bogus companies has ingrained this idea to clients. As such, some people are still wary of dealing with companies that don’t have a physical office. You need to build the credibility of your business by showing testimonials of previous clients.
When deciding whether a fully virtual workforce is best for your company, make sure to consider these pros and cons. Reverting to the traditional work set up after going fully virtual can be costly and highly disruptive to your business. So, think carefully before taking the plunge.
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