West Coast Way’s Vision for Working in the 21st Century
Virtual Worker – a qualified business professional working from a remote location (usually a home-based office), providing temporary or ongoing business administration & executive support or project management services on a contract basis. Virtual Workers offer services including: office administration, project/operational management, graphic & web design, writing, research, legal secretarial, transcription, event planning, and specialized CFO & CEO services.
One of the key differences between what we call a virtual workforce and telecommuting is that we’re referring to contract work, but in a slightly non-traditional form. Telecommuting can offer some benefits but it also comes with many challenges that contribute to the reluctance to pursue it as a viable alternative to in-house employees.
With a virtual workforce, we’re talking about taking traditional ‘job’ descriptions and breaking them down into task descriptions. The tasks are then outsourced (but, we are not advocating $3/hour offshore work) to qualified virtual contract workers to handle that particular task or tasks. We have found that you’re lucky if an employee has training, experience and interest in about 40% of their job and the rest is filler representing important tasks that still need to be done by someone.
What we advocate is moving from in-house or telecommuting (where you’re still an employee performing a job for one employer) to outsourcing the specific tasks to talented, efficient, professional virtual contract workers. One of the benefits to the employer (or client for contract work) is that you no longer rely on a single resource to perform a multitude of tasks, but instead have a team of focussed, independent business owners taking care of essential support services ranging from administration to CFO requirements. And, this team is available to you on a flexible, as and when needed basis that can adapt to your changing needs.
For the virtual contract worker, you no longer rely on one employer (client) for your financial security, but instead can diversify your income stream through multiple clients AND you get to work at those tasks you most enjoy doing. As I’ve already covered in previous posts (Virtual Workforce Tip #4: Virtual Worker Personalities & Achieving Success) working remotely is not for every personality type; therefore, consideration should be given to ensure the right fit for the virtual worker and the client (a.k.a. employer).
It is one of the foremost goals of our company to get the knowledge out to decision makers and managers. This business model won’t fit every organization, but in my 20+ years of experience, I can confidently say that it offers solutions to a variety of in-house issues.
It’s not a complicated idea, but there is substantial analysis and planning required in order to implement effectively and maintain for sustainable success. It is a misnomer that somehow it’s easier to trust an in-house employee over someone working offsite. The same issues remain whether you can ‘see’ someone working or not; they’re either an ethical worker or they’re not. For virtual contract workers the risk in underperforming is high…your contract ends and your reputation goes down the toilet. When offering your services to multiple clients, it’s essential to always perform at your highest level and consistently deliver quality results in a timely manner. The proof is in the output.