An Officeless Existence: What it means to be a truly virtual company
In today’s technological age, more and more people are working from home, and turning in their power suits for their comfy pajamas. As an employee of a fully virtual company, Scopic Software, I have experienced all the ups and downs of the digital nomad lifestyle. In a truly remote atmosphere, there is no water-cooler talk, no noisy coffee maker, and no out-of-commission copier. Virtual companies have become more popular with the birth of high speed WiFi and endless virtual collaboration tools. But, what does it mean to be a pure virtual company?
No Geographic Concentration
In a true virtual company, employees are spread all over 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 – a true international experience.
Let Freedom Ring
The days of asking weeks in advance to leave early for a doctor 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!
The best jobs are usually in the big cities. If you’re more of a country person, in a traditional job you would have to endure hour after hour of congested roads, traffic jams, and frustration. 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 and Slack (for remote team management). However, it does not always have the same impact as an office environment.
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. Employees should schedule some active time to make sure they are motivated and getting the activity they need.
Lifesaving Virtual Tools
Without the use of internal cloud-based tools like Teamwork, Slack, Resource, Time, and Workflow management tools, creating a flourishing remote team would be next to impossible. Every business, whether virtual or not, needs to invest in the well-being of employees and find effective ways to track activity and resources. When working remotely, you don’t have the option for in-person clarification, so employees must learn to be masters of written communication.
When working remotely, trust is everything. In order to be able to work successfully from home, there needs to be 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. You also can’t keep track of someone sleeping in or slacking off. Additionally, as a remote employee, you must be self-motivated to maintain your workload. This is an added challenge where some thrive and others really struggle.
When working in an office, there are often meetings, calls, and occasionally events. In a remote setting, meetings occur, but usually they are few and far between. Sometimes employee coffee breaks, meetings, and office parties mean a reduced amount of productivity during the day, and perhaps more relaxed deadlines. When working remotely, your deadlines are pretty cut and dry. In fact, while working remotely, you may find yourself working a bit more than you would in a typical office.
Going virtual isn’t meant for everyone, but it works great for some; especially those who are driven by travel and freedom. In this day and age, work doesn’t have to be in office. It can be from the comfort of your own home or your favorite café. Can you handle the remote lifestyle?
Cara Chatellier is a Marketing Specialist for Scopic Software. She has been with the company since February 2017. She works remotely for the organization from Madrid, Spain, but is originally from Boston, Massachusetts.