Virtual teams, also known as online or remote workforces, provide maximum flexibility in both the amount and type of work your business can produce. In today’s connected world, they’re becoming more and more widely used, and no wonder: correctly set up, they provide amazing benefits. But if you haven’t been using them already, they might seem a bit mysterious. What can virtual teams do? How do you find the right people? Are they permanent employees or contractors? How much do they cost? How is the team set up? This post will answer all those questions and more.
Rather than “What can virtual teams do?” the more appropriate question might be, “What <em>can’t</em> virtual teams do?” They can’t do anything that requires a physical presence, such as sweep up or go pick up lunch for everyone. They can, however, find a reputable local janitorial service and order lunch to be catered in, as well as most other activities ranging from administrative—answering phone calls, setting up appointments, sending emails—to human resources, sales and marketing, software development and testing, web and graphic design, account management, purchasing, even executive operations and leading teams—really, nearly anything you need. Also, you might want only one part-time virtual assistant, an entire full-time virtual workforce, or somewhere in between. That’s completely doable.
Finding the best employees can be difficult, regardless of how you do it. How do you know they’ll truly deliver? Most business owners have at least one story of a hiring decision they regret. And it’s true that vetting virtual teams comes with its own set of difficulties. While many sites exist for the purpose of connecting you with remote contractors, the vast majority of those sites do little to no research, leaving you to your own devices. Of course, quality workers can be found most anywhere; the difficulty is figuring out who they are. All of that—finding the appropriate sites, weeding through the numerous applicants, candidate selection, interviews, hiring—can make virtual teams seem more trouble than they’re worth. Until you realize that there are companies that will take care of all that overhead. So how do you find the right people to do your work? You don’t. All you have to do is find the people who will find those people for you.
While some companies do have permanent remote employees, and that works well in certain situations, many of the benefits of using virtual teams are best realized when the work is done on a contract basis. Not having to provide vacation or sick time is a significant cost savings. The ability to find the people with precisely the skill sets you need for exactly the time you need them not only saves money, but increases productivity. Hiring people only for the tasks and time required provides the flexibility you need to rapidly scale up or down to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding market.
As the previous section pointed out, there are many cost savings to using virtual teams, especially on a contractor basis. You won’t pay benefits such as vacation. You won’t pay for employee down time because, for example, it’s your slow season. You won’t pay for extensive training for existing employees to learn the new skills you need. And also, you can reduce or even eliminate the need for physical offices. The lease, the utilities, the office supplies: those costs reduce drastically or even vanish depending on how much of your team is remote. The actual hourly rates are dependent on the type of work and expertise level of employee. An overview of the rates you can expect if you work with us can be found here.
If you’ve decided to hire directly, the team setup process is open to negotiation between you and the various virtual team members. Basically, as long as it’s agreed upon, anything goes. Bear in mind that this does put the burden of all the setup activities on you. Researching sites, candidate review, hiring, training, and more will be needed. If, however, you choose to go through a middleman, all of that should be provided for you, and your primary responsibility will be in communicating what work you need done.
Hopefully this overview has cleared up any confusion you had, at least at a high level. Virtual teams provide so many benefits to businesses like yours that we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. If you have any more questions, though, please contact us or simply comment below, and we’ll be happy to provide more information. Here’s to a profitable future through virtual teams!