Why You Might Want to Keep Your Business Virtual

Virtual Working Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric

Well Covid-19 has been a turbulent time hasn’t it?

In many ways it has divided people, arguing about rules, watching and judging behaviours, it has brought out some very ugly traits. It has also brought out the wonderful side of human nature in many more aspects, the generosity, kindness, warmth, the pulling together. In the early days of madness, I had a stranger offer to share her pack of loo roll with me! I can tell you, I was REALLY touched by that.

In years to come we will remember 2020 and the Covid epidemic for the loo roll famine….well it wasn’t a famine it was more like the loo roll mosquitos has landed and wiped it out! So, her generous offer was quite a selfless act.

Anyway, I digress, another thing Covid has shown us is that businesses really can evolve and the idea of a 40-hour week, working under the nose of your MD isn’t absolutely necessary for productivity.

I imagine this time has been REALLY difficult for the micro managers who need to see staff with their own eyeballs to trust they are doing their work. I feel for them and their staff as emails and calls have probably gone crazy in the manager’s attempt to keep control. This makes concentrating on the actual work really hard and can increase stress levels dramatically!

But there are others of you out there who are probably realising your staff are VERY trustworthy and continue to be productive without someone breathing down their neck.

The work might not be getting done 9-5, but it is getting done effectively. Staff may be working during their old commute time and balancing it with family life and having children at home, but they ARE being productive, maybe more so, because they are able to prioritise their own time.

Obviously, there are some sectors this practice would be impossible, but I am talking to those of you who have been able to manage, surprisingly well, with the enforced working from home malarkey.

Restrictions are beginning to be lifted, cautiously enabling some business to go back to some sort of ‘normal’….But….

Why would you return your staff to an expensive office? Why would you choose to spend hours in a box to get to your place of work? We all know the rush hour commute is bad for our stress levels, risk of accidents is high, worrying about being late, on hot days, sitting with windows open breathing the petrol fumes, or the sweat of fellow commuters on trains….oh the joys.

Instead, you and your staff, could maybe sleep in a little longer, enjoy a leisurely coffee and breakfast, and still be at your desk way before your start time (if you choose), feeling a lot more refreshed, and a lot less stressed.

What is there not to like?

Here are some reasons to stay virtual as much as possible.

Reduce commute costs for staff

The cost of getting to work can be a real drain, fuel, train and bus fares. I once had a job where the cost of fuel took 20% of my wage every week, so not only was the journey stressful (anything up to 4 hours a day for a 20 mile journey) it was costing me, but I had no option, and I did totally and UTTERLY love that job.

In allowing home working, if it suits you and your staff, you are cutting their costs, so effectively giving them a kind of pay rise! They could have more money in their pocket at the end of each month. Bingo!

We have been brainwashed into thinking we need to travel to one place of work to get the job done.

Covid has proved that isn’t the case.

Better Time Management.

If employees aren’t travelling to work that time could be used more productively. You employ them for 8 hours a day, but their actual commitment to you can be way above that when you factor in the journey to the office. Travelling can add many hours to their working day, causing weariness and fatigue.

While they are present in the office, they may not be effective due to the time needed to recover from a stressful journey and get into ‘work mode’, or sheer exhaustion from the hours spent travelling.

Continuing to work from home would give employees more control over their working day, leading to a better work life balance, feeling more trusted and valued, and in turn being more productive.

Save The Planet!

In accepting that home working is a solution for you and your staff, you are contributing to saving the planet, there will be fewer fumes because your staff are no longer travelling those miles, your carbon footprint would be reduced, a big plus in today’s world!

Reduce Business Expenses – Increase Profit!

The cost of running an office, or a suite of offices can be immense, everything is more expensive when it is for a business, be that phonelines, utilities, rent is phenomenal, insurance, the list goes on. By keeping your business virtual, you are cutting those costs and increasing your profitability.

There are so many co-working spaces these days, there is no need to pay for an expensive office 12 months of the year, especially if your team need to travel around the country to carry out their role. Obviously there is a place for face to face team meetings, Zoom et al, are all well and good, but there really is no substitute for being in a room together, the energy and ideas, the visual cues for when it is a good time to speak, are so much clearer when physically face to face. The thing is with co working spaces and rooms to rent by the hour, meetings could be arranged without the need for a static office and the cost could be significantly reduced.

Improve the Health and Well Being of Your Staff

Your employees are your most valuable asset.

Working from home might improve the health of you and your workforce. No longer sitting together in one space, breathing in goodness knows what from others or poor air conditioning etc. The NHS has a name for it, ‘Sick Building Syndrome’, where sickness could be caused by the building you are working in. I didn’t know that, did you?

Work related stress may also be reduced if your staff are more in control of their working day and environment. According to the HSE, ‘In 2018/19 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to ill health.’

Imagine what would happen to your productivity if you could reduce those numbers!

Increase Growth Without Committing to Permanent staff

The virtual world is now geared up to help companies on the verge of growth. You might be busy enough to need to expand, but the recent past has demonstrated nothing is guaranteed, and so before you leap into the commitment of employing permanent staff, consider virtual services which are readily available to help you grow in a more manageable way.

I have a few suggestions in a previous blog here.

Obviously, this won’t work for everyone, but it might be worth considering whether you really do need all your staff in one place to run your business efficiently in the future.

The future really is now!

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