Virtual Workers take Telework to the Next Level

Teleworking and virtual working is not necessarily the same thing. Generally, a teleworker is still an employee of a company working from a remote location—usually a home office. As an employee, the company remains responsible for all current staff-related costs as well as additional costs to support the remote working location. As most already know, current employee costs include, at the very least: salary; employee medical, dental and other benefits; training; as well as vacation & sick days. Additional costs attributed to telework can include extra software and hardware costs, IT support, Internet and telephone expenses and other general office expenses. [NetworkWorld – The true cost of telework]

With a contracted virtual worker, overhead costs are reduced as the company is no longer responsible for generally accepted employee overhead costs. And, most importantly to some clients, the virtual worker only invoices for time spent working. “It’s a lot less expensive than having resources on staff, sitting on the bench and waiting,” as quoted in the New Jersey Business News article Tough times lead many into virtual work world

Traditional salary costs incurred during slow times, sick/vacation days as well as training are a thing of the past. Companies wanting to integrate a virtual workforce can be helped through the process of redefining job descriptions, typically used by on-site and/or teleworkers, into task-oriented descriptions. This is just part of the process we use to help improve corporate efficiency, increase flexibility and save money through the use of virtual workers –

Now, before I get bombarded with emails about being ‘anti-employee’ — that is absolutely not the case. I was an employee before an entrepreneur and I still believe there are areas where employees are the better or most logical choice. Each scenario must be evaluated individually to assess the suitability for a virtual workforce. Jobs involving construction, guest or customer services as well as some white collar industries do require on-site employees to handle the job.

There are also personality types to take into consideration. Not everyone is suited to the more independent and solitary life of a virtual worker. [“Is There a Virtual Worker Personality? Research says yes—but it’s not the introverts who thrive working remotely, as you might think” – BusinessWeek] There’s also the revenue factor to consider; as any contractor knows, there are ups and downs that necessitate careful financial management and planning. Then, there are those people who are more comfortable with the idea of completely separating their ‘work life’ from the business of living, e.g. not having a home office. For me, I wouldn’t trade my sixty second carpet commute for anything. Even seemingly insurmountable obstacles like financial stability and employee benefits can be overcome and eliminated with the right purpose and plan.

In all my years as an employee, one of the main things I was never in charge of was my continued employment. For me, and many others, the freedom to diversity revenue streams, create more business when needed or scale back when necessary was a force too strong to resist. As a contractor, I have a greater collaborative relationship with my clients than ever experienced in traditional corporate structures.

For companies, the main benefits for integrating a virtual workforce are:

  • Cost effective
  • Improves worker efficiency
  • Flexibility
  • Reduces corporate carbon footprint
  • Retain Baby Boomer expertise

We recommend that companies proceed carefully when considering transitioning employees to virtual workers. A thorough analysis of internal policies, procedures and resources will help identify virtual workforce opportunities. Established virtual workers are entrepreneurs at heart; as business owners themselves, they already have an understanding of expectations as contractors.

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One Response to “Virtual Workers take Telework to the Next Level”
  1. Hmm thanks for sharing, interesting to pass a few seconds on

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