In today’s technological age, more and more people are working from home and turning in their power suits for their comfy pajamas.
Some companies say they are virtual, but they still have a brick and mortar office and several ‘satellite’ offices around the world.
But not us. At Scopic Software, we are a true virtual company, with no offices and only remote employees. There are no long meetings, no noisy coffee makers, and no happy hour drinks with colleagues.
Virtual companies have become more popular with the birth of high-speed WiFi and the widespread availability of virtual collaboration tools. But, what does it mean to be a pure virtual company and, more importantly, what does it mean to be an employee of one?
No Geographic Concentration
Employees are spread all around the globe, from Vietnam to Spain, to the United States. This means, you may have a colleague eating breakfast, as you’re eating dinner. These meals will look very different, too, given the vast cultural diversity of your international team. As a remote employee, you will get to know people from all over the world, and become acclimated with different communication styles and working habits. However, keep in mind, with international diversity come time zone issues and some potential differences in working styles.
Let Freedom Ring
The days of asking weeks in advance to leave early for a doctor’s appointment are long gone. As a remote employee, you have the freedom to set your own working hours based on your availability. Employees don’t have to work from home on their couch, or in a home office, they can pop into a café, or even spend time at a co-working space. If an employee wants to travel from country to country whilst working, as long as the WiFi is strong and their commitment is there, all options are open!
No City, No Problem
The best, high paying jobs are typically in big cities. Cities also offer a variety of coworking spaces which may not be accessible elsewhere. However, big cities aren’t for everyone. Some people don’t want to be a part of the hustle and bustle of city life, and others are just drawn to a small rural way of life. When working remotely, you can have a city quality job, even if your nearest city is hours away. In addition to the accessibility of higher paying jobs, remote jobs also take away the headache of the daily commute. If you are a remote employee, your commute is only as long as you want it to be.
Getting Socially Creative
With a fully virtual company, socializing is done virtually, too. This means plenty of robust Skype conversations with tons of colorful emojis. Productivity is also made very social through platforms like Teamwork, which is meant for remote team management. However, it does not always have the same impact as an office environment. We work extra hard to give our employees the socialization they crave. We do this through sponsored Meet-ups and encourage employees to find a co-working buddy.
However, before becoming a remote employee, it’s important to think critically about what working remotely means for your level of socialization. Sometimes working from home can be isolating, especially for extroverts. The truth is, it’s not for everyone.
Lifesaving Virtual Tools
Without the use of our internal cloud-based tools like Teamwork, and our Resource, Time, and Workflow management tools, flourishing would have been next to impossible. In a virtual environment, a normal work schedule doesn’t exist, everyone is working in different time zones. When written instructions are given, they must be clear, concise, and complete. On demand clarification is not always available when needed, and can often take 12-24 hours. This lag in communication can lead to lost productivity, missed deadlines, or both. Luckily, with the right tools, facilitating proper communication virtually can be made easier. Tools like Teamwork offer organized discussion groups that track all correspondence, and give you the ability to tag colleagues in conversations, and assign tasks. Even though you can’t get clarification in-person, with practice, miscommunications can be reduced.
Move it, Move it
In a traditional office, you can walk from desk to desk, do a lap around the building, or maybe jump into the office gym. However, usually, your home is not as big as an office. It’s important to get up, walk around and get some fresh air. As a remote employee, you don’t have the option to walk upstairs and see a coworker or walk to the conference room. Employees should schedule some active time to keep their energy level up, and their overall bodily healthy in check. Remote employees often move a lot less than their office-bound counterparts.
When working remotely, trust is everything. In order to be able to work successfully from home, there needs to be a mutual respect and trust between employee and employer. In a virtual setting, you can’t stop by your employee’s desk to make sure they’re getting their work done. Everything is results driven. If you’re missing deadlines, not communicating properly, having unexplained unavailability, or providing excuses rather than results, trust can easily be lost. In all relationships, once trust is gone, it’s not easy to get back.
Going virtual has its advantages and its challenges. It isn’t meant for everyone, but it works great for us. If you are interested in learning more about Scopic and what we do, check out our About Us page.
Managing a remote workforce is not an easy task. You must make sure that processes are in place and everyone is on the same page. Create a remote work policy and switch to remote-friendly project management tools. Read our 7 steps to build a remote team.