How the virtual world can help you run a better business

How the virtual world can help you run a better business

Faster online access, smarter technology, flexibility, lower overheads and improved work/life balance – these are the attractions that are shifting the dynamics of business into the virtual world.

Like virtual pop-up shops across the globe, virtual businesses are succeeding where traditional businesses are falling behind. Market uncertainty, workers looking for work life balance and shifting outside metropolitan areas, business overheads, labour costs and turn over in staff are the fundamental facts for businesses taking the mind shift to the virtual environment.

The introduction of higher speed broadband/wireless access and greater technology is making it less expensive, more productive with a larger percentage of employers embracing flexibility and work/life balance

Three important factors contribute to the virtual business – creating a specialised and highly skilled team, smarter technology and leadership and constant communication and collaboration.

Virtual workers, known as ‘Knowledge Workers’, are highly skilled and trained and predominately use the latest technology and systems. These Knowledge Workers are flexible and come from highly qualified, trained and experienced backgrounds and operate their work from home or anywhere in the World. Virtual business leader creates a stronger skills base by accessing and choosing specialists from a pool of people in their field who are capable of driving innovation and working online.

A great virtual team predominately is up to speed and uses the latest technology and systems. The team integrates a diverse range of knowledge and expertise and allows a work-life balance without the daily commute. Smarter technology, apps and online systems such as iPads, smartphones, email, inexpensive phone services and/or Skype are the central tools and allows businesses and its virtual workers to communicate effectively.

Virtual business owner, Michael Young, managing director of specialist education and training company Transformed, established the virtual company to create greater innovation and efficiency across the business and hire the best people in their field of work. He wanted to move away from the typical business and office model to build a company with the most experienced and skilled virtual workers in their field and concentrate on the company’s core business – education in Project Management, Building and Construction and Procurement and Contracting.

“I searched for the right people who are like-minded and highly skilled, searching for a better work-life balance and contribute their skills to producing a great company. In the traditional model, hiring people to fulfil roles needs ongoing management, supervision and training to keep them occupied for 38 hours of the week. A virtual business requires ongoing motivation, flexibility and innovation, the right skilled people who are unique in their own offerings and by using the latest in technology and devices we can operate across the globe,” he said.

“My strategy is to gain a higher performance for the business across the Transformed team (who are located across Australia and London) and maintain close and constant communication – via email, Skype and phone. We produce a combined and collaborative effort and each individual has their role and purpose and when it comes to celebrating we certainly know how even at a distance – I like to recognise their success,” he added.

According to Young, the key difference is that a virtual team looks at the outcome measurements for the business, whereby it doesn’t matter how many hours as long as there are results.

“Office workers often base their results on the amount of input of hours,” Young added.

The virtual versus traditional office comparison – the virtual model is leaner, efficient and more sustainable economically and environmentally whereby the traditional office environment provides an office and safe environment but with higher overheads.

Not all workers are suited to the virtual business environment instead preferring the safe, set hours and social interaction of the office environment. There are no restrictions on output measurement but know they can work their 38 hour week.

Pip Orr

Pip Orr is a Specialist in Virtual Media, PR and Communications

Dynamic Business

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