Richard Branson’s words from some years ago seem like a forecast of today’s workplace “One day, offices will be a thing of the past”. While organisations still need to travel some distance when it comes to completely removing their physical offices, many are realising that the rapid changes in the world need us to adapt quickly in the way we do business – and forming virtual teams. The information revolution, changing visa regimes, millennial workforce motivators – the world as we know it has disrupted completely. And that is the change, Branson was referring to.
Many organisations know that the solution for these changes is the presence of Virtual Teams, which can be engaged and sustained over a period of time. The reasons for choosing to have a virtual team might seem practical, but a Harvard Business Review article has also shared a validated perspective of how remote workers are also more engaged than those who work in an organisation’s office.
In order to understand how the virtual teams are becoming the future, it is important aspect to know the eminent business sense they make, for organisations.
Viable Business Reasons To Create Virtual Teams
- Virtual teams are the best approach for companies who are looking to find the right talent and expertise, as per their budgetary requirements, anywhere in the world.
- Such teams save organisations from the challenges and cost of setting up additional infrastructure in locations where they want a presence, but a physical office is not always needed.
- As political scenarios change, new policy changes and visa regulations come into play. Therefore, hiring or moving talent across countries can become logistically difficult. Virtual teams save companies that hassle.
- The reliability factor is higher than the direct outsourcing approach where the deliverable’s quality and employee’s performance tracking is not within the organisation’s direct control.
- Virtual employees are on your company payroll for a short-term, predefined period but they are dedicated to working only on your assignments. They are not like freelancers on multiple projects.
Technology and accessibility to global talent has made it possible to make this a sustainable phenomenon of having offshore employees. It is turning out to be the most optimal manner in which ‘remote working’ can be used by having a dedicated resource pool of your own. Here is some information on how technology is making it possible to manage virtual teams.
We have seen above how a virtual team works well for an organization and is effective even from a communication perspective.
Now, it is imperative to also have a look at what works well for a virtual employee too – since both these aspects together make the team a viable option.
What Works Well For A Virtual Team
- Employees are looking for flexibility and empowerment today. They want to work for organisations that can provide them with these two elements. As virtual employees they are able to get both these aspects.
- Virtual employees do not have to worry about travelling to a new location or the transition related changes. They can work from where they are located and deliver the results.
- Finding the right jobs based on expertise areas is made easier for the virtual employees when there are organisations who are available to hire for such offshore roles. It also gives them a higher degree of stability as against being in freelance roles where they are trying to juggle multiple projects which are extremely short term in nature.
Studies from the past few years, (starting with one in 2009, which was a study of 80 global software teams, done by BCG and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management) have shown that well-managed, widely-spread, virtual teams have been outperforming those that share office space. Yet another report by Aon shared that using virtual teams can improve employee productivity upto 43%.
We now know, based on our understanding and statistics, that virtual teams can be a huge business impact and are showing a steady growth in the business context. Organisations, as well as employees, are choosing to become a part of virtual teams since it suits their requirements. Such a fitment of requirements is difficult to find with any other form of work arrangement as this stage.