These days more and more businesses have recognized the advantages of virtual teams and many are making the change permanent. This dramatic change offers many advantages for managers who can seize the opportunity. Have you fully considered whether this new mode of doing business is right for your company?
At Wing, we provide high quality virtual assistants to companies and have helped businesses in a variety of industries to successfully integrate virtual teams. With flexible service offerings and unlimited assistance at a fixed price, Wing covers all the commonly cited advantages of virtual work and more.
What are commonly cited advantages of virtual teams?
With a flexible schedule, virtual employees can add tremendous value to a company’s bottom line all while maintaining a healthier work-life balance. If you’ve done your research, you probably know that experts often point to a host of advantages to working virtually, including:
- Increased retention rates
- Catering to more clients
- Lower rates of absenteeism.
But business owners who have made the transition to virtual work also report many other advantages you might not know about.
8 little-known advantages of virtual teams
Here are some little-known advantages that we’ll discuss in this article:
Coupled with the well-known advantages, these benefits make a compelling case for bringing a few virtual assistants onboard.
Skills transfer is easier among remote workers
When your team operates virtually, you will naturally develop more tools and resources to transfer skills. You might produce some quick training videos, write a training guide, or develop an online course for onboarding. This makes the skills transfer process smoother in the event that you need to bring in new talent.
Wing lets you design custom workflow charts for your virtual assistants. Drag and drop tasks into a flowchart to give a clear picture of processes and procedures. And if you’re too busy to create a flowchart, your Wing VA can do it for you. It’s a great way to automate your work so your virtual assistant can move on to subsequent tasks while you handle other priorities.
There is a lower barrier of entry for career shifters
Prior to working virtually, changing careers was a lot harder. But it’s a commonly held belief that Gen Z will change jobs more than any other previous generation. This isn’t a bad thing. A newcomer to your industry can offer a fresh perspective. And by being a member of a virtual team, career changers can offer a variety of helpful skills to your team.
Wing trains VAs in a variety of skills regardless of their backgrounds. Whether it’s content marketing, sales, customer support, reception, or even more specialized skills like Amazon sourcing, your Wing VA will arrive with a toolbox chock full of useful skills and ready to contribute on day one.
There is evidence that virtual teams are “green”
The obvious reason that many people conclude that virtual teams are “greener” is due to decreased emissions. Since virtual employees aren’t commuting, they are not releasing as many pollutants into the atmosphere. And it’s true. According to at least one scientific study conducted in Spain, working virtually has contributed to improved air quality.
But consider the other ways a virtual team helps the environment, for example less paper and plastic waste. If your business often incurs travel costs, that’s another way you’re helping the environment by going remote. The fact that these “greener” behaviors are excellent cost-saving measures is an added bonus.
Wing VAs are available to connect with your company on any platform that is convenient for you. Whether it’s Zoom or Slack for meetings, or Freshdesk for customer interactions and HubSpot for CRM tasks, Wing has you covered.
Flexible schedules make people want to work longer hours
The old days of the 9 to 5 schedule are long gone. These days business teams run around the clock if they want to. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you have to be working 24 hours a day; business hours can be whatever you want them to be. If you’re working with qualified team members, they can manage tasks when you’re offline and you can review when you get back.
Wing offers unlimited assistants. You can decide which 8-hour blocks you’d like your VA working in, then fill your assistant’s task queue with work and he or she can complete it during pre-approved business hours. Wing assistants work all over the world, are fluent in English and results-oriented, so you can be confident they’re working even while you’re off the clock.
Prevents workplace or transport-related accidents
Employers assume a certain level of liability when conducting business on-site. Whenever there is an accident in the workplace, the business runs the risk of being held responsible. According to the National Safety Council, workplace injuries cost businesses approximately $171 billion in 2019.
This doesn’t factor in transport-related accidents en route to the workplace. According to a 2018 WHO study, the number of road-related traffic deaths worldwide was 1.35 million and road traffic has led to about 50 million injuries globally per year. Any way to cut down on those risks and increase productivity should be welcome for businesses.
Naturally, this is not an issue with virtual workplaces. This is another one of the advantages of virtual teams like Wing. With employees off-site, workplace accident liabilities disappear. In addition, since Wing virtual assistants don’t need to commute to work, there are no transport-related accidents (or delays) en route to the job.
Allows differently-abled people to work full-time
A more inclusive workplace is a stronger workplace. Employees from different backgrounds offer a wealth of experiences that can help inform your sales, marketing, and strategy all at once. Working virtually helps support these ideals by opening the workplace to differently-abled employees. Without physical barriers, everyone is free to contribute equally.
As workplaces have expanded virtually there have been many reports of increased inclusion, and not just for those with physical disabilities. The list expands to those with mental disabilities and even pregnant women. The New York Times recently published a story detailing how pregnant women feel more comfortable in a virtual workplace.
Wing VAs work all over the world and are available 24-hours a day. Plans are flexible and offer one or more assistants for unlimited work either 4 or 8 hours a day per week. If your business has specific needs, you can contact us to work out a specialized plan.
Remote workers are able to prioritize their health
Similar to increased inclusiveness, remote work allows employees to have more space for their personal concerns. By not commuting or worrying about prescribed office hours, workers can build a schedule that works for them, including doctor’s appointments as needed. This leads to happier and more productive employees overall.
Wing VAs work in teams so in the unlikely event that your VA needs to take a leave of absence, there will always be a trained, knowledgeable replacement in the wings who can hit the ground running. Contrast this with a non-managed approach where businesses contract individual VAs for remote work and you’ll begin to see why it’s worth the investment to go with a trained, dedicated solution.
More affordable monthly insurance premiums
Speaking of medical needs, we should talk about health insurance premiums. According to estimates from Indeed, it can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 to hire, onboard, and train a new employee. And this estimate doesn’t even include employee salary and benefits.
For U.S.-based employers, health insurance premiums can top the list of costs for benefits. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, this can tack on thousands of dollars extra annually.
But there is another way. This is one of many advantages of working with a managed VA service like Wing. Wing pre-vets and hires qualified virtual assistants, handling all the overhead of insurance premiums and benefits so you don’t have to.
With Wing, you can be confident you’ll get a quality employee but you won’t have to deal with the hassle and cost of insuring them. And on the employee side this is also a benefit because VAs can be confident that they have reliable health coverage in the event of an emergency.
Besides advantages of virtual teams, consider potential downsides
You wouldn’t be researching the benefits of virtual teams if there weren’t also disadvantages. After all, if virtual teams were always the answer, everyone would be using them. Here are some common downsides to virtual assistants as well as some you may not have considered.
Workers must spend more on their internet connection
It’s an unavoidable fact that being a virtual employee means spending more time online and having to pay more for an internet connection. The cost of a reliable, high-speed internet connection varies from place to place, but unfortunately there’s no getting around it.
As an employer, you might consider this a benefit, since you do not have to invest as much in physical capital like office rent and furniture. But for the employees who absorb these costs, it can be a drawback to virtual work and can inhibit finding top talent.
So what to do about the added costs of an internet connection for virtual employees? For starters, you could look into offsetting the cost with savings in other areas. Providing a gym membership or lending workplace equipment like laptops and monitors to virtual employees shows that you care about their well-being even though you can’t cover certain costs.
The specifics of this arrangement will depend on your business and location of your virtual employees, but it’s worth looking into some cost-saving measures in order to retain top talent.
Virtual team rapport needs time to build
In survey after survey, one of the most common complaints about virtual teams is bad communication. Good managers know that communication often boils down to rapport.
Coworkers don’t need to be best friends, but there should be a level of collegiality to make things run smoothly. When a team doesn’t have good rapport and are not comfortable with each other, there can be lapses in communication and costly mistakes.
It’s important to view the time it takes to build good rapport as a meaningful investment for a functional remote workplace. Wing VAs are fluent in English and work as part of a managed, dedicated team focused on your business.
It’s a lot easier to build rapport with your virtual assistant if you’re working with the same face every day. Wing also offers plans with an additional virtual assistant for businesses with more demanding workloads.
You need to safeguard company data
It seems like every other week high profile companies are reporting data breaches that leave customers vulnerable to cyber crime. When this happens, companies often incur massive fees. These costs come in the form of settlements with customers or sometimes with governmental agencies.
Major companies like Yahoo have even seen data breaches impact the sale of the company. While larger firms can absorb these costs, this can be a death knell for smaller companies.
What does data security have to do with your virtual team? For starters, no matter what industry you are in, you most likely will be dealing with some data that requires confidentiality. It could be client emails and financial information or even just internal employee documents. Nevertheless, your virtual team needs to know the basics of data security when handling these files.
When dealing with confidential information, it helps to have extra oversight. An operations manager oversees each team of Wing VAs and can ensure that the proper security protocols are being met. These managers have experience working with clients across a variety of industries and they, as well as your Customer Success Manager, are there to make sure your VA is delivering results.
Wing Is Your Best Resource for Virtual Teams
While there are many advantages of virtual teams, staffing can be a big undertaking. Wing makes everything much easier by providing users with reliable, professional, pre-vetted virtual assistants.
Your Wing virtual assistant can complete a variety of common administrative tasks and perform specialized VA skills like social media marketing and sales. With unlimited availability during selected business times and a response time of 3 minutes via call, text, mobile app, or Slack, Wing offers options for whatever your business needs.
Schedule an intro call or chat with us today to find out how we can help your business.
Dan Eder writes frequently about digital marketing trends, SaaS, and e-commerce. He has previously worked as a content writer at an SEO agency for tech companies, an e-commerce specialist at a Fortune 500 company, and a journalist for several educational outlets. Read more from him at www.daneder.com.