There’s no denying that seeing what’s happening around your business is the best approach when operating a growing company. But with the increasing number of small businesses employing virtual teams to work remotely, this kind of office set-up might just be the perfect option for you.
In fact, not only are the opportunities for a virtual workforce endless, more and more business owners and employees are embracing the tremendous benefits virtual working arrangements provide as well.
Benefits to Employers
When efficiently managed, telecommuting workers can be beneficial for your business in many ways you might not expect. Here are some of them:
Since commuting time is reduced, a greater time of the day can be spent on work responsibilities, projects, and other job-related activities. Unwarranted disruptions that may be caused by colleagues and supervisors are also minimized. As a result, virtual workers can devote more time, be more productive, and attentive, to their duties.
Lowered Overhead Expenses
Imagine how much you can save if you do not have a lease, utility payments and everything else that come with a brick and mortar space. That can probably be a great deal of money you could spare for your business, which in return improves your profit margin. Simply put, lower overhead equates to more revenue.
For instance, in a typical contact center world, the cost of a workspace can range anywhere from $800 to $3000 per agent in a year. That said, a virtual office with 20 home-based agents can save a company of over $60,000 annually.
Reduced Labour Costs
Salaries greatly vary depending on geography. Employers with remote workforce can hire lower cost employees in suburban labor markets or in third-world countries such as Philippines and India, thereby saving a considerable amount of money. And because homebased employees do not need to commute, companies can pay them less per hour based on their deducted expenses.
Additionally, with the technologies available, it is no longer necessary to travel for conferences. Meetings can be done virtually face-to-face using software like Skype and Google Hangout.
Expanded Talent Pool
There’s no limit to hiring talented employees within your geographic location. With a virtual workforce, you can have the most ideal worker for the job, no matter how many miles away they are. Not only does this give you the ability to hire the right person, it also allows you to expand your business into new territories.
More importantly, you can harness new labor sources while at the same time offer more opportunities to physically challenged employees, including but not limited to people with disabilities; employees on maternity, paternity or eldercare leave; and retired workers.
Reduced Employee Turnover
Studies have shown that virtual workers are happier employees as opposed to those who work in an office set-up. And when workers are happy they are likely to settle in a company for an extended period of time. As you may know, labor costs are predominantly the most critical portion of the operating budget of a company. With turnover adding to the equation, those costs remarkably increase. Moreover, in order for organizations to regulate or limit their operational expenses, they must employ variational strategies to obtain and retain top talent. Providing them with the benefit of telecommuting – a benefit which for sure job seekers want – can do just that. Additionally, telecommuting is something employees desire which you don’t have to pay for, hence saving you money.
On top of that, regardless of the industry you are in, having happier workers increases customer satisfaction and productivity.
As your business grows so is the number of your employees. With a real office setting, increasing your workforce often necessitates moving into a bigger space. However, with a virtual staff, you can freely scale up your business without having to fret on how much more square footage you need. Plus, you don’t anymore have to pay relocation expenses for top talent.
Benefits to employees
Although virtual offices may not work for everyone, studies have repeatedly shown that there are significant advantages to working remotely. Here are a few of the major advantages for telecommuting staff.
Better Work/Life Balance
As commuting is essentially eliminated, employees can have that necessary work-life balance, giving them more time to spend with their families and find satisfaction outside of work. In more cases, workers who can effectively handle their work and life are proven to perform better on both fronts.
In addition, professionals tend to be much happier and more productive when stress factors and distractions in the workplace are removed, such as traffic, unfriendly colleagues or suboptimal work environment.
In some heavily populated areas, commuters approximately consume 10 hours of commuting to and from work on a weekly basis, and this travel time has an adverse impact on the physical and mental health of a person. With the absence of commute, teleworkers can do some fitness activity, beat the stressful rush-hour crowd, and even meet with friends. To top it all, they get to enjoy a long good night sleep!
Increased Financial Resources
Working in an office can eat up half of the employee’s entire income. Come to think of the costs of commuting (bus or train fare) or personal transportation expenses – such as fuel, car repair, tolls and parking. Then other fees associated with professional wardrobes, dry cleaning, fast-food lunches, potlucks, birthdays and other office-based social events. And of course, dollars you have to spend for day-care.
Working from home pays for itself by removing or decreasing all these added expenses. Additionally, remote staff can claim some home-office and utility costs as personal income tax deductions. And in return, increases their real income.
As you can see, there are numerous significant benefits employer and employees can get when working in home-based offices. However, keep in mind that such scenario will not successfully work for every organization or individual. It is essential to assess and evaluate all the possible factors involved and have a well-organised process in place before closing your office doors.
Remember as well that not all managers are deemed appropriate to look after telecommuting employees and not all individuals are effective virtual workers.