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The New Year gives opportunity for a fresh start or a burst of motivation to change something for the better in the coming year. One resolution that you might not think of is the aspect of "going virtual" in your workplace. We all want to make resolutions that will bring a positive change in our lives -- saving more money, being healthier, helping the environment, being happier, etc. and believe it or not, incorporating a virtual element to your workplace can help accomplish all of those things.

So what exactly does going virtual mean? It's different for different companies. Some companies are run solely in a virtual environment, with every employee telecommuting at his or her remote location. Other companies have a main "headquarters" location with satellite offices peppered throughout an area, even the world. Other companies utilize a combination of in-house and virtual employees, or have a flexible environment where employees are in the office some of the time and at home at others.


Regardless of the way that it's implemented, a virtual working environment can provide a host of benefits to your business, and hiring companies who support virtual environments can also save you money due to lower overhead costs. Here are just some of the benefits that a partially or completely virtual workplace can provide:

Top talent. You are able to find an ideal employee match for each role since you are not restricted geographically.

Lower overhead costs. With many or all employees working out of their home base, you don?t need to pay the ongoing expenses of a physical office and are able to offer more competitive prices to clients as a result.

Happy, loyal employees. Providing flexibility so employees feel in control of their schedules allows for a healthy work-life balance, making them more likely to stay with your company long-term.

A healthier environment. Work-from-home or telework employees require little to no commute, thereby reducing pollution, traffic, and stress.

While a virtual working environment may not work for everyone, and is certainly not possible for everyone (restaurants, for example), if your company is able to offer this flexibility, it just may be worth a try! Managers may feel concerned with forfeiting the control and supervision that physical presence in an office provides, but there are many ways to ensure employees are on task and productive.

Paying per project versus per hour can be a great solution for both employer and employee. You can also videoconference, schedule regular phone meetings with everyone, or adjust other company policies as necessary.

We support virtual teams at Radar and we've enjoyed success with it. Having flexible, happy employees lets us do our best for our clients while being able to charge competitively for big results. Marketing and design are industries where virtual environments can work wonderfully when prepared for well and carefully implemented.

So which direction will you be taking this year? Will you be moving toward the future of online business or staying behind? Face to face is certainly effective, but you never know who or what you might miss out on for the sake of face time. Happy New Year!

quotes

"People are very impressed with how slick and professional our new site looks, and that it gives us a 'big company' look even though we're small."

Aaron Sherman,
Marketing Director
NextComputing

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