Remote working has been on the rise ever since the internet has become mainstream. As more and more companies throughout the world adopt the internet as their primary source of communication, the requirement of physical presence keeps decreasing. Millennials are also finding that working remotely is more beneficial as their working conditions can be catered to their personal preferences; It also gives them a better work-life balance.
With the advancement of telecommunication technologies, the idea of having virtual teams are becoming more feasible. For businesses, virtual teams can open up a vast range of new possibilities as it eliminates geographic barriers, enables new workforce demographics and gives businesses the opportunity to find the best talent from all over the world.
Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group) believes that offices will eventually be “a thing of the past”. In an interview he says that “many employees who work from home are extremely diligent, get their job done, and get to spend more time with their families. They waste less time commuting and get a better work/life balance. To force everybody to work in offices is old school thinking.”
Advantages of Having Virtual Workers:
Virtual offices with virtual teams come with a myriad of advantages. It is more economically beneficial as you can save lots of money on office rent, electricity bills, and maintenance. This can give companies some revenue boost and can especially be advantageous to startups. You also don’t have to deal with the hassle of managing your employees as much as you have to do with your in-house workers.
Many would argue that virtual teams are not going to be as productive as they would be in an office environment, but that’s just not true. As freelancers have the flexibility to choose the place they want to work in, they can find the kind of environment that works for them and makes them productive, be it a quite bedroom or a coffee shop. An office environment on the other hand forces employees to work in an environment whether they like it or not.
Finding the Right Talent:
Hiring virtual workers are now easier than ever thanks to freelance portals like Fiverr, Behance, etc. You simply go to these websites and hire them for a specific job, and if they do well, you offer them a permanent role in your virtual office. Finding a talented freelancer requires good communication between employer and employee. Some initial questions that can help are as follows:
1. The reason for freelancing?
Freelancing is not as easy as it sounds. In order to successfully do it, one must have a hustler’s mindset. Some people freelance because it allows them to work on things they love. Others do it because of certain restrictions such as raising a family or personal issues. People who love freelancing are the ones you want to hire because they will get the job done. However, certain people freelance because they do not play with others. These are the type of people you want to avoid as they can cause a stir in your workplace.
2. How long have you been working as a freelancer?
This might be a very simple question, but a lot of times employers forget to ask this. Don’t get me wrong; it is completely fine to hire new freelancers but asking them how long they have been freelancing gives you an idea as to what kind of freelancer he or she is. If they have been freelancing for a while now, then they have their stuff figured out as to how they process their work and how to manage their time and client demands.
3. What are some of the past projects you have worked on?
You have your freelancers’ resume in front of you, and you can clearly see what they have worked on. Despite that, you need to ask this question and see how they respond. The upside of a freelancer is that they can work on multiple types of work and they may have liked some of them while others were just to see if they can do it. Listen to them talk about those previous projects. If their face lights up while talking about a certain job, then you know they are passionate about it. This is a good way to see if they are a right fit for your work or not.
As reinforcement, you can also rely on portals like Speak With A Geek which offers pre-vetted freelancers. This type of pre-screening based on technical expertise makes it very easy for employers to hire the right freelancers. Plus, you can always review their previous work and see if they fit in your company.
4. What are your ways of communication?
The most crucial part of being a freelancer is communication. Since most freelancers work from a remote location, it is absolutely vital to know how they intend to communicate with you. It can be either via emails, phone calls, faxes or any sort of app that keeps track of their work. The reason most people hire freelancers is that they are efficient in their own ways but as an employer, you need to have regular updates on their work progress.
Some Things to consider:
Having a virtual team is by no means ‘the ultimate solution’ for all types of businesses, though. It’s always possible that many unanticipated obstacles may emerge from having virtual teams. For example, time zones from a different part of the world can make communication a difficult task. Creating a workplace culture is also much harder when no one shares an office. But as more and more companies such as Basecamp and Mozilla are embracing virtual teams are showing the world how advantageous it can be, and with the advancement of new telecommunication technologies such as virtual reality headsets and augmented reality headsets, virtual teams are only becoming more convenient.
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