Consider the Virtual Office
For many people, the idea of being tied to the computer at their desk is an outdated concept. Rightfully so, as online tools are changing the way the average person works. The concept of working from home has been around for quite a while but was often inaccessible to many office workers. As more companies focus on digital markets, and, with the advent of more powerful tools & services, so called “Working Remotely” is becoming a regular part of the way many businesses operate. Not much more is needed, on the employee’s part, than a computer with an internet connection. With wireless internet access being available in so many places, the remote worker is no longer restricted by the length of the ethernet cable in his den. Some workers choose to travel the world without having to take time off from their job. Remote work is particularly popular in the tech-sector. Some software companies and other digital agencies are even able to operate entirely remotely, with no office or physical location.
The benefits of creating a virtual office scenario ring true for both the employee and the employer. The employee gains a huge amount of flexibility, and employers often report seeing an increase in productivity. When employees and employers are both happy, business can thrive! Microsoft’s whitepaper ‘Working Without Walls’ shows the results of a survey of the reasons employees enjoy working remotely:
2. Save gas (55%)
3. Avoid traffic (47%)
4. More productive (45%)
5. Less distractions (44%)
6. Eliminate long commute (44%)
7. Quieter atmosphere (43%)
8. Less stressful environment (38%)
9. More time with family (29%)
10. Environmentally friendly (23%)
To many readers, it is likely that the above is not news. What is often overlooked about having workers operate virtually, however, is the potential for businesses to reach markets that would otherwise be unavailable to them. If the requirement that employees be physically present at an office everyday is lifted, they can utilize their location strategically. For example, a remote sales team is able to travel to meet potential clients while still handling inbound marketing daily from their computers. Or perhaps a tech company based on the west coast could open new doors by hiring remote workers in other major cities across the country. These employees could perform their day to day work from home and be available to demonstrate products/services with nearby clients or offer support. These scenarios can enable a business to provide the all important personal touch to a huge new base of customers.
There is also the possibility of finding remote workers outside of the country. The business then becomes global! This expansion can create access to under-serviced markets where the opportunity may exist to offer a cheaper solution than what is currently available. Aside from reaching new audiences, hiring globally often brings new ideas and solutions. It can also bolster an environment of multiculturalism that boosts moral and serves to enrich the workplace. There are skilled workers in every field in every country of the world. While time differences can sometimes raise issues, there is usually a solution if everyone remains a little flexible. It is worth noting that international hiring can complicate taxes. For this reason it is advantageous to create a close-contact independent contractor relationship when looking abroad for workers.
Virtual meetings and scheduling are handled simply through a variety of services. Google offers both of these and more by simply setting up an email account with them. With a website or virtual service available to replicate just about every office function, productivity on the go is a convenient possibility. Widening the reach of a hiring campaign to include remote workers across the country (or even across the globe) can prove to be a major boon for business!