Working remotely is becoming the new normal. With a global pandemic taking center stage for 2020, teams all over the world are realizing that the future is virtual. For freelancers, however, this has been common practice for a really long time. Often your clients are international, or you work for someone in a different state; technology is making this increasingly easy to do.
So what is the difference between a virtual team and an in-office team? A virtual team is a group of individuals who work together via the internet. They don’t need a common office-space but instead work from their own homes - wherever they may be. A virtual team is more than capable of performing the same scope of work as an in-house team does, just potentially in different time zones and in different areas of the world!
So, what are the benefits of having a virtual team, and why are they becoming so much more popular?
The Advantages of Virtual Team
Virtual teams are more cost-efficient
A key advantage to having a virtual team instead of an in-office team is the lower cost. You don’t need to have an office space to rent from as everyone is working from their own respective areas. So, costs like office space and office maintenance are no longer relevant, nor is a large wifi and electricity bill for the office-space! As it’s a virtual team, each individual employee is responsible for their own running costs, which means lower expenses in general. For freelancers, it means that they don’t have to waste money on traveling to and from work, lunches, and any other day-to-day work costs.
Virtual teams expand your hiring pool
You can have a virtual assistant from London for your company based in Los Angeles. You can hire a writer from Spain with ease. As your team doesn’t have to work in the same office, there is absolutely no need for them to be in the same location. This means that you can source talent globally, and focus on quality talent that doesn’t have to be from your local area.
Virtual teams allow you to scale your business more quickly
If you have an office space, it’s harder to scale. This is because it is more expensive - more desks, chairs, computers - potentially even a bigger office space. This is costly for any team. However, if you hire virtually, you can easily expand your team for far less money. Again, it’s much more cost-effective as they have their own equipment and utilities so that you can focus on growing your talent and offering more services to your clients.
Virtual teams allow for happier employees
Having a virtual team means happier employees. They can work to their schedule, and take advantage of more flexible work hours. There is no set 9-5 with a virtual team; as long as they get the work done! The extra free-time they have can be spent however they want to spend it, and it doesn’t have to be monitored by you. There is no meaningless travel just to work in the same environment as you. You can trust your virtual team, and in return, you get incredible employees with a fantastic work ethic and job satisfaction.
You can create a 24 hour work day with a virtual team
Do you need something in your 9 am tomorrow, but it’s already 10 pm at night? No issues - simply ask someone from your virtual team that's in a different time zone to do it with their today. That’s the bonus of having a virtual team; someone is always available to help you meet your client’s needs. One of the biggest perks of freelancing is working virtually, so if you are in a position to hire, consider starting a virtual team.
The Disadvantages of a Virtual Team
Virtual teams have to put more effort into building a culture
Sometimes having virtual teams can be challenging for team members who are used to working in office. When you're in an office it's easier to build friendships and connect with people when you're not in meetings. This can be during breaks, like lunch, or taking the time to go grab coffee. These small encounters paired with in person team events can lead to deep friendships.
Virtual teams are able to build a company culture, however it takes more energy and effort to maintain.
Productivity can sometimes be hampered
Many people have challenges when they first start working on a virtual team to keep themselves accountable and stay productive. There are plenty of people that can be just as productive, if not more productive while working virtually, however it's a transition and a muscle that needs to be learned. Successful virtual teams can provide their employees tips and tools on how to keep up productivity by focusing on how life is more likely lived.