This contribution comes from Bryan Miles, CEO of BELAY and author of Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore.
From day one we were a company of two (my wife and I), so remote made sense.
But as we grew, we wanted to maintain a 100% remote workplace for BELAY. We decided on the virtual business model for a variety of reasons, but the primary motivator was a desire for a better quality of life — for both us and our employees.
There are some major perks to being 100% remote as well as some challenges. One of our Core Values as an organization is “VISION: We are leaders in our industry. We refuse to accept the status quo. We have the vision of what can be.”
To do that, we work consistently on our culture and check in with our employees to be sure we aren’t becoming status quo but instead are continuing to be leaders in culture.
Here are 3 reasons to consider going virtual as your company grows.
1. Going Virtual Makes You a Better Communicator
In the virtual workplace, the Swiss army knife for all cultural woes is communication.
Whether in the office or out, I’ve found that effective communication is the best way to overcome disputes and inspire connections. And when it becomes an essential element of a company’s culture, effective communication will prevent most disputes from ever happening in the first place.
We tend to err on the side of over-communication.
What does this mean?
We encourage our team to use the virtual nod. Meaning when emails are sent, you let everyone know you are on it with a simple reply back.
Short on time? We don’t shame emojis. A thumbs up or a smiley face is all we need to know that the team is aware of the ask and on it.
This standard of over-communication makes everyone better communicators.
2. Going Virtual Makes You a Better Vision Caster
Culture is based on a shared vision. And if that vision is passed down effectively throughout your organization, it doesn’t matter if you share a desk or live across the ocean from one another.
In BELAY’s case, our vision is to provide world-class virtual assistance to companies across the country. And we trust our 600-plus team members to carry out that vision as if they owned the place.
We may work in separate locations, but we have shared values of gratitude, teamwork, vision, passion, fun and God. As long as we’re all on the same page in these areas, we’re going to succeed and serve our customers well.
3. Going Virtual Makes You Smarter with Your Money
Personnel budget is often the largest expense any business has. Unless you’re a one-person show, it is likely that you are spending a lot of money on people.
If all your money is tied up in personnel, you will choke on your own payroll.
But, growth is a good thing! Adding people will help spark new ideas, produce products, and offer services that generate revenue and help you accomplish your organizational objectives.
When it’s time to hire that next person, the first thing you’re going to want to understand is how much this hire is going to cost. In addition to salary, you must factor in:
- health insurance
- dental insurance
- vision insurance
- life insurance
- short-term disability
- paid vacation
- sick time off
- volunteer time off
- retirement plans
- workers compensation costs
- equipment & resources
- training and meetings
- travel & expenses
- 401(k) matching
- cell phone costs
- internet costs
The list feels endless …
And this is just to get you started. A general rule of thumb is to add 35 to 50 percent to the salary you intend to pay. This is the “true cost” of your next hire. (And probably a number that is going to turn your stomach inside-out.)
The cost of even one full-time employee can be discouraging.
For growing businesses and organizations who need help, adding employees means accruing fixed costs versus variable costs.
Today’s business climate demands agility — especially in the area of staffing. That’s why businesses are relying on freelancers and outsourced services more than ever.
Going virtual allows you to “lock in” a fixed monthly cost that is much, much lower than adding a W-2 employee.
But, sometimes you need to see all the facts before you can make a decision. We’ve created a tool to help you gauge just how much an employee can cost. Fill out the Employee Burden Cost Calculator below. Once you have the final number, we’d love to have a conversation to see if we might be the right fit for you.