In 2017, tech giant IBM made the bold and surprising decision of calling all its virtual employees back to the office. The company, which was one of the pioneers of the remote work culture, said its decision was an attempt to “improve collaboration.” But even as we debate whether this move is going to mean gloom and doom for the organization, we’re seeing companies with all-remote teams flourish and thrive. Companies are starting to hire virtual employees because of the benefits it offers in terms of cost as well as access to talent.
Take Buffer, for example, the popular social media analytics tool, which had over 1,000,000 users as of September 2013. At the time, their team comprised 12 members based in four different continents! Today, Buffer’s team consists of 75 people working in 50 cities. The Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, regularly hires remote workers for various roles, as does Github – both head-quartered in San Francisco. Flexjobs, which helps job seekers find telecommute jobs, is a 100% remote team and is spread across six different time zones.
As a company spread across three time zones, at Kolabtree, we have experienced for ourselves the benefits of having virtual employees. Our job is to help businesses and academia consult scientists from all over the world – and we’ve been witness to some really surprising collaborations across borders. Here’s why we think businesses should hire virtual employees.
1. Access to talent
At Kolabtree, we’ve helped businesses around the world consult scientists and academia. We’ve seen an Amazon reseller in the USA get help predicting his sales from a data scientist in the UK. We’ve helped a world-renowned speaker consult a scientist for scientific information to back his TEDx talk. There are thousands of businesses out there, who need to access a specific skill or specialization, but are bound by geographical restrictions. Hiring remote workers gives you the ability to access exactly what you’re looking for, with all those job description parameters checked. If you hire virtual employees, you also access low cost offshore workers, without compromising on quality—here‘s how TimeDoctor does it.
2. Increased productivity
3. Virtual employees are well-connected
But let’s remember that remote work does not mean all work and no play. Working remotely is does not have to mean working alone. It’s essential for virtual employees to feel connected and have water cooler conversations as well. Remote teams do many of the things that in-office teams do: celebrate birthdays, festivals and even have (virtual) holiday parties!
Have you experienced the benefits of hiring virtual employees? We’d love to hear about your experiences! Write to us in the comments below or Tweet to us!