After the pandemic pushed small businesses toward more remote work options, organizations have now begun to increasingly recognize and reap the benefits of becoming fully virtual companies.
Although some companies had already realized the benefits of having a fully remote workforce pre-COVID, this health emergency forced almost all organizations to experiment with remote work options. Although management braced for reduced efficiency as well as less connected and focused workers because of the necessity of remote work, most organizations were pleasantly surprised with the aftermath. Contrary to their earlier concerns, their business operations proved to be either as effective or more productive and their workers were more satisfied with their working arrangements.
In this article, we will discuss the key benefits of becoming a virtual company as well as the challenges that are associated with this growing workforce trend.
Key Benefits of Becoming a Virtual Company
Reduced operating costs
Without all the brick-and-mortar infrastructure to support such as the expense of lease and utilities, companies can save significantly on their overhead costs. Virtual companies can use some of those substantial savings to purchase updated equipment and applications for their workforce as well as provide enhanced salaries and benefits. Organizations can also use the cost savings in other ways, such as for investments in new lines of work or for rewards to their loyal clients.
Happier more productive workers
A study by PGI found that in a virtual office setting, a stunning 82% of workers reported less stress working remotely, and 80% of employees said they had better morale working from home than at the workplace. The main reasons given for this were that remote work provided employees with a better work-life balance and more flexibility to take care of their personal commitments. The employees also could avoid the problems associated with personalities that may clash in an office. Many employees also emphasized the time and stress benefit of not having a daily commute to the office.
In addition, the flexibility that workers have when working at home reduces the amount of paid time off that they use. Also, when your company has happier workers, the turnover rate will decrease dramatically reducing the time and effort needed to find and replace skilled workers.
Wider range of talent available
When your company has a virtual workforce, you can literally look to hire the best talent available around the country and even worldwide. The flexibility offered by a virtual company enables a business to consider the best options for their employment needs. For example, some positions may require full time workers in the same time zone, while other tasks may only need an employee or contractor one day a week for work with no set meetings.
With younger workers, flexibility in their working arrangements has become a top priority. Zapier reported that 74% of IT workers would be willing to quit their job for a similar position that allowed them to work remotely. The trend toward a virtual office has resulted in a much deeper pool of opportunities for both companies and job seekers.
More efficient operations
A recent survey by CIPD showed that 71% of virtual companies reported the same or more efficient operations after making the change to a fully remote workplace. This impressive figure is a result of the benefits described above as well as the positive impact of enhanced business continuity without an office location. Being completely virtual will make your company almost immune from any typical operations disruptions, such as natural and manmade disasters, which would negatively affect the bottom line.
Potential Issues for a Virtual Company
It is important to note that there are some companies that require physical meetings and contact with employees where a virtual company would not be a good fit. In some cases, a hybrid solution of partial remote work and partial time in the office will work better than the virtual company option. In any event, there are also some potential disadvantages that virtual companies should be aware of and work to overcome.
Maintaining camaraderie and cohesiveness
Business experts note that virtual companies must take the time to foster a sense of common purpose among employees and provide ample opportunities for employee communication and interaction. Organizations should always strive to create a supportive, team-like setting for their employees. Also, companies should ensure they select employees who will thrive in the virtual environment as opposed to those who will feel lonely and isolated when not in a physical office.
A virtual office would also not be ideal for an organization that requires a high degree of cohesiveness. An example where it would not be a good fit would be a company that has the frequent need to call emergency all-hands meetings at a moment’s notice.
More attention to security and compliance
Another potential disadvantage of a virtual company is the need to pay even greater attention to security issues. This problem is a result of the more frequent use of employees’ own equipment as well as the increased online connections to an organization’s network. The more devices and connections a company uses, the greater the possibility of cybersecurity attacks. As a result, your company must implement strict internet and email protocols and require good cyber hygiene. In addition, your organization should utilize the most advanced antivirus, antimalware, and firewall tools for protection and offer your employees comprehensive IT security training to meet these challenges.
In addition, there are some companies working for federal or state governments or on specific contracts that must meet security compliance obligations. It is important that your organization review all compliance requirements before taking the steps to become a virtual company.
Use an IT Support Partner to Help You Make the Transition
The benefits of becoming a virtual company are significant, and most companies would be wise to carefully consider this option. However, every company would benefit from a thorough discussion with an IT Support partner, like Network Depot, to assess their potential fit with such a consequential change to their business model. An experienced IT Support partner would also be critical for successfully guiding an organization through this complex process.
With the understanding of the benefits and challenges of becoming a virtual company and the assistance of a trusted IT Support partner, your organization will be able to make the right decisions to help you fulfill your mission.
For help with becoming a virtual company or IT Support in general, please contact Network Depot today!