The gig culture is now mainstream culture, and the virtual workforce is a reality. Virtual workers are more than a reality, really – they may actually be the preferred method of labor for many companies.
Let’s take a look.
SurePayroll finds that working remotely adds to productivity. Traditional management values may say “when the cat’s away, the mice will play,” but these new stats say otherwise. Because the water cooler is no longer and office politics are no longer an issue, people get things done faster. 86% of employees surveyed prefer to work alone. Just as importantly, 66% of management surveyed say that employees who work alone are telling the truth – they actually are more productive.
Not only are virtual workers more productive, but they are more efficient as well (the holy grail). As mentioned above, fewer distractions can lead to better outcomes. Not only does it cause a rise in work produced, but the work that is produced is better, according to ConnectSolutions. 30% of workers surveyed said that working remotely allowed them to increase efficiency. Another 24% said that virtual work was about the same, which is a cost savings for companies (overhead, insurance, time lost commuting, sick days, etc.).
Why do we see increases in productivity and efficiency in the virtual worker? Morale also goes up, and this is likely connected. PGI found that 82% of virtual workers had lower levels of stress than traditional workers. What’s more, the same study showed that 69% of virtual workers were absent less than when they had to report to a physical office.
Even if a company gets only the same levels of productivity, efficiency and morale, the company still benefits from the virtual worker. When employees are responsible for their own housing, costs for the enterprise immediately go down, according to Forbes. This is true even of the biggest companies in the world. Aetna stopped paying for 2.7 million square feet of floor space ($78 million) when it created 14,500 virtual jobs for 35,000 employees. American Express reported savings of $10 million when it began its virtual work programs.
Greater Employee Engagement
Many of the findings here may seem counter-intuitive, and this finding is perhaps the most interesting of all. 87% of virtual workers feel a higher sense of connection to the company than traditional workers, according to the Harvard Business Review.
The virtual worker is automatically a green worker, because the remote worker has a lower carbon footprint. It turns out that less of the work commute is a big deal when it comes to the environment. The virtual worker created a decrease in the annual fuel consumption numbers of the United States in 2013 by 680 million gallons, a respectable move of 0.5%. Going green also helps to attract young talent to a company, because the Millennial generation is very attracted to companies with a social conscience. Freedom, or the perception of freedom is another very important idea that will help attract young, elite talent, which is embodied in the virtual worker concept.
Virtual is the Future
The virtual worker is a mainstream worker. 23% of workers are completing at least some of their work from a remote space, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This statistic is corroborated by the New York Times, which reports an even faster rise in telecommuting. Outside of America, fully 79% of knowledge workers are virtual workers. 60% of virtual workers stated that they would leave their current job for one with more freedom to work remotely. There is a rising number of upwardly mobile professionals who are leveraging the Internet to work remotely full time as employees or as contractors.
When your workforce is global, then “the world is your office.” The stats above show you the advantages of the virtual workforce. As long as you have the right structure around them, you can look to reap many of the benefits mentioned here!
Make sure that your virtual team has the infrastructure that it needs to perform to its highest capacity. Call the VoIP experts at Joon for a consultation on how to build out your virtual communications strategy.