Given that more than 40 percent of American workers now spend part of their time working outside the office, people are getting more comfortable with virtual teams.
If you’re looking to build your team or expand your productivity, adding a virtual team or a virtual structure to the way you do business could help you grow. You’ll be able to offer customers or clients more while saving money.
Here are just a few of the pros and cons of dealing with a virtual structure.
1. Get Great Talent
When you’re working via a remote or a virtual team, you get the best talent around with less hassle. It’s hard to do the work of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring talent. It’s also a challenge to handle the payroll.
With virtual teams and a virtual team structure, you can take advantage of staffing agencies and service providers. For example, you could employ virtual assistants or virtual receptionists for your customers to reach out to 24/7. Rather than having to provide office space for them, you could save money and save yourself the work of worrying about them.
If you’re working in the tech sector in any way or you need to put together a custom software project, it’s hard to pay for a bunch of developers.
They’re an expensive group to employ if you want quality work done — and you’ll have to find a team that can work together easily. Rather than trying to put together your own dream team, you could hire someone else’s team and connect it to the rest of your staff.
Instead of having to worry about balancing out where you spend the most on staffing, you’ll get more for your money with a virtual team. They’ll be able to get work done while you do the hard work of bringing in income for your business.
2. Time Zone Differences Add Up
One of the major faults in a system of remote workers is that if you’re dispersed all over the globe, it’s hard to get together. If you’ve got a lot of tight deadlines you’re working under, getting everyone on board at the same time is a struggle. When your projects need to get done or need to be revised ASAP, you might have to wait a whole day until your team finds out.
If there’s an emergency meeting to be held, you’ll need to notify everyone far in advance. Getting everyone on board at the right time is challenging if you’re all across the globe. Even if you’re just dealing with people on the west coast and east coast, timing is going to be an issue to deal with for meetings.
Make sure that you’re prepared for time differences as you put together your team. If you have people working on mission-critical aspects of a project and they’re halfway across the planet, it’s going to be hard to stay connected. Tools like Slack that keep everyone in conversation are a big help when you’re working on major projects.
3. Save Money with Contractors
When you use contractors, you save a lot of money. Given that labor costs are among the biggest expense in the budget of millions of companies, any relief is welcome. With the help of contractors, you can cut corners all over the place.
Contractors help you because you don’t have to pay for much office space. Rather than having to provide computers, desks, chairs, and a break room, you can pare things down to the bare minimum. You might want to house some of your data on an onsite server so that you always have direct access to the projects you’re working on and any communications.
Contractors also take the burden of paying for insurance and benefits off of your back. You don’t have to worry about unemployment if you’re hiring a virtual team through a staffing agency. Usually, they handle all of the staffing needs and leave you to reap the benefits of having staff that’s dedicated for less than seeking them out yourself.
4. Scale with Ease
Companies expand and shrink all of the time. When you’re a new business trying to keep your head above water, you might need to scale back temporarily to preserve the future of your company. If you suddenly get a contract with a large company, you’ll have to scale up and fast.
Rather than trying to do this through the typical recruiting and hiring process, a company that seeks out staff for you could come in handy. If you’re willing and able to work with a virtual structure, this could save you a lot of time and money to get the process started. Whether you’re scaling up or down, a virtual team is a way to go.
5. Problems Escalate Quickly
When you’re dealing with a team that’s spread out, it’s hard to deal with accountability issues. If an issue has been living inside of a project for weeks while everyone got their hands on it, it’s hard to track down where it began. A problem that starts off small spreads quickly and becomes a toxic issue fast.
If you can’t halt progress on a project immediately because it’s hard to contact everyone, you’ll be stuck dealing with the problem for longer. Rather than having your problems run out of control or miscommunication grow into an unstoppable beast, avoid unnecessarily working with remote teams.
Check out some research to learn more about managing these teams.
A Virtual Structure Works for Lots of Companies
While it’s not for everyone, a virtual structure brings so many benefits to small and medium-sized businesses. The ability to grow and expand beyond the normal limits of small business means that you could be competing with companies that seem out of your league.
If you’re looking to start raising funds for your company, check out our guide to raising money specifically for non-profits.