If the last 18 months has taught us anything it’s that virtual teams can work for any size business. In fact, in any time zone.
The move to WFH for a large proportion of the world’s employeesjust plain worked! This has benefits for the organisation as well as the employee.
Not everyone likes to commute so the opportunity of getting straight to work without that travel time has been lapped up by many. Without that extra time travelling the hours of work were more productive and being at home for that time felt more comfortable and that meant happier workers.
According to Michelle from virtual assistant company Virtual Hand “With the availability of wifi and online platforms to help with planning, keeping track and communication it can all be done outside the office.”
However, with people being remote it does take extra effort to bring teams together; to brainstorm, discuss and allow those unique talents, experiences and knowledge to be shared and encouraged.
In fact, it’s essential that this is done well. Having team members isolated (if they live by themselves) is not good for them so opportunities to co-work, bring together in smaller teams or maybe meet at local cafes for coffee breaks is to be encouraged.
Using virtual teams from all over the world can bring together expertise that was probably not available when on-site work was the norm. Now this has changed the immense availability of resources has no boundaries and organisations can take advantage of this for the benefit of their people and the business.
This may result in downsizing of offices and reducing real estate without the need to downsize the workforce. Utility costs are also reduced. For that matter the ability to increase/decrease the workforce if seasonality peaks are experienced. Perhaps offering 24/7 availability of support for customers is key for a business; this can be achieved using virtual teams across the world and time zones.
Sourcing and selection of the right people for the business may now have changed –parameters re-aligned to the new working practices and getting to know the individuals much more drawn out.
For the many people that have started new jobs during the past 18 months they may never have met any colleagues face to face and although may recognise them when they do – zoom is definitely not the same as face to face.
These extra challenges facing both employer and employee, I am sure, will be embraced by many. Others will carry on as before without recognising the need to adapt and support differently. Like anything new within business, changes will be experienced and viewed from each end of the spectrum, to include time to implement and educate all.
It’s a good thing in my opinion – a great believer in outsourcing and for some employees it may well feel like that. Having to make the extra effort to network and learn about the other team members – whereas in an office environment it certainly gives more opportunities for that networking – in the kitchen, in the lift, at the watercooler, impromptu meetings etc.
I love it – WFH suits me and no doubt, will suit many more employees that didn’t think it would. Getting them back to the office may be the struggle now!