The allure of virtual work has been on the rise in recent years, for both employees and employers. Still, not every company with the capability to go remote has been keen to jump on board immediately. It’s understandable– anything new introduces a certain level of unknown.
However, your organization could be missing out on real business advantages— including expanding your talent pool and improving your profitability— by not going remote. Though the transition to a virtual team takes some planning, it truly does have wonderful perks. If your organization is considering making the jump to a remote workplace, this is what you need to consider and how to prepare for your transition.
Remote Work Perks
There are numerous reasons why having a virtual team could be greatly beneficial to your business– these are some of our top picks.
Expanded Work Day Coverage
A virtual team that extends throughout a country, continent, or even globally opens up your ability to serve clients in various time zones. Where typical onsite offices adhere to the business operating hours of the headquartered main office, virtual teams have the ability to accommodate more clients across the globe consistently. You instantly become more available as a company by simply expanding your team across time zones in a remote setting– which could even help you win more business down the line.You instantly become more available as a company by simply expanding your team across time zones in a remote setting– which could even help you win more business down the line. Click To Tweet
Access to More Talent
By extending your team without concern of physical location, you significantly increase your odds of finding that amazingly specialized person you’ve been searching for to fill a particular role. Plus, many employees now consider the ability to work from home a huge job perk. Your virtual workplace status could make you more appealing as an employer to lure in those talented individuals that you’re seeking.
Cut Down on Cost and Carbon Footprint
You could save on some potentially high overhead costs such as your office rent, electricity, and parking. Instead, apply some of your planned office expenses to cover your team’s remote office expenses. With less overhead and logistics, you can have everyone working just as efficiently from home as if they were in an office for a significantly lower cost.
Additionally, by eliminating the commute for your workforce, you’re also reducing your company’s carbon footprint. Remote work reduces traffic congestion and air pollution by ditching the daily commute. A win for your organization, staff— and the environment!
Productivity and Positivity Boosts
If your virtual team will be working from home, you may see an increase in accountability, productivity, and overall well-being. Virtual employees often become more self-sufficient in finding answers and organizing their work; fewer distractions and a personalized work environment are big contributors to this! In fact, 65% of remote workers say that they are more productive at their home office than a traditional office.65% of remote workers say that they are more productive at their home office than a traditional office. Click To Tweet
Plus, by cutting out lengthy commute times for your virtual team, you also open up more free time for them to spend with family, friends, exercising or other hobbies that they’re passionate about. This is good for both their well-being and your company. Happy employees do better work– it’s backed up by research.
How to Plan for a Virtual Workforce
Still, virtual workplaces aren’t without their challenges. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t move forward with a remote setting, but rather, you’ll need to build in culture and staff connection activities into your virtual organization plan. After all, everyone needs a sense of team and belonging.
Prioritize Remote Collaboration and Engagement
It can get pretty lonely out there. If you work from home, alone, you might start missing that human interaction you got from the water cooler banter, the lunchroom chit chats and the friendly “good mornings” from people walking by your desk. These seemingly small exchanges all offer the opportunity for your team and colleagues to get to know one another better.
Because of this, it becomes imperative to make an extra effort to engage, communicate, and collaborate with each virtual team member. For starters, use the video function for all of your internal meetings— and require video on! “Face-to-face” time does make a difference, and the ability to see and respond to another human on the other end of your computer helps to grow feelings of familiarity and trust. If your team uses a messaging platform like Slack, create channels that are just for fun or paired to specific interests. When team members need a small “social” break from work, these can be welcome opportunities to engage with co-workers in a way other than just work talk.Use the video function for all of your internal meetings— and require video on! “Face-to-face” time does make a difference. Click To Tweet
And, if your finances allow for it, plan an annual in-person company retreat. Gathering in person once a year is a great way to continue to build strong relationships and boost morale across your organization. You’ll be amazed at the team bonding and support for your organization that occurs by bringing everyone together, even if just for a few days.
Communicate Early and Often
As a manager, you won’t be able to keep as close of an eye on your team– a top concern for many organizations considering the jump to a remote workplace. You won’t be able to simply “pop by” to ask a question. Nor will you know for sure if everyone is at their desk and ready to begin their day at 9:00 a.m. sharp.
As a boss, this can feel like an unsettling loss of control. But when you employ the right people, the small freedoms that come from remote work are actually empowering. Those who are inclined to slack off at home would likely find ways to slack off in an office, too– and wouldn’t you rather work with people whom you can trust?
This may mean that you need to adjust the way that you evaluate your team’s work and performance, however. You will have to be more rigorous in validating the quality of their work and keeping up to date with how they are doing– physically, psychologically, and with their overall workload. Communication is crucial for this. Consistent 1:1 meetings should be prioritized and a culture of open and frequent communication needs be established early. Daily small team scrums are also helpful in aligning priorities and workloads. Additionally, you may need to provide some coaching to your team on best practices of remote work, including the need to account for child care and setting an appropriate start and finish time daily to prevent burnout.
Can a Remote Workforce Work for Your Team?
This all said…is a virtual team the right call for your organization? The short answer is: it depends. There are obviously many factors that will influence how well a virtual shift could go over at any given company, and a potential change as big as this should not be taken lightly. Some companies who want to give employees a bit more flexibility even opt for some sort of hybrid agreement, offering split time between home and office.
Should you decide to move forward with virtual work, understand that it takes planning– but the payoff can be huge for your staff and your organization.
The Perkuto team has always been a virtual workforce. If we can provide assistance as you navigate your options and/or provide suggestions to connect your virtual teams (safely!) to Marketo, we invite you to start the conversation now.