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Monday, April 11, 2011

Should Companies Allow their Employees to Work Virtually? | THE FOUNDERS DEN

The traditional nine to five job will soon be a thing of the past. More companies are learning that when employees are given the flexibility to work a schedule that assures them life-balance they are often far more productive than employees who work restrictive schedules.

Virtual professionals are on the rise, and the Internet is allowing many individuals to work anywhere. There are numerous benefits that businesses experience when they decide to break away from the traditional nine-to-five model.

Productivity Rises with Flexibility

When Best Buy implemented flexible and virtual work schedules for many of their employees, the company reported outstanding results. One of the biggest benefits reported was that employees seemed more engaged and motivated when they were given the opportunity to make their own work schedule. When employees have some power over their work schedules, companies benefit from a productivity standpoint.

Working Virtually Reduces Employee Stress

Graphic artists, coaches, psychologists, programmers, journalists, management consultants and even web designers are detaching from the corporate office and reconnecting with their clients from the comfort of their home. In professions that are traditionally considered high-stressed, working from home allows an individual to balance their home-life and can alleviate some of the stress that many employees experience when working 12 hours or more a day in an office setting.

Companies have the Potential to Hire Talented Mothers

Childcare is a rising issue for many individuals. Not having adequate childcare often disqualifies many people (primarily women) from working in a traditional corporate setting. Unfortunately, companies are eliminating their potential to employ numerous highly qualified mothers because of rigid work schedules. Allowing employee flexibility is essential for companies that want to hire top talent without the fear that children will interfere with their hiring ability.

Flexible Schedules are Great for International Companies

International companies find that allowing their employees a more flexible schedule can work to their advantage. Companies that work with customers in multiple time zones benefit tremendously from flexible schedules. Willing employees that work outside of the nine to five restriction can be a great asset to companies with international clients.

Environmental Benefits

Businesses are also increasingly thinking about the environment as they develop plans for their companies. Working virtually makes environmental sense because it significantly cuts down on commutes and is simply better for the environment. Employers who want to create a business that promotes sustainability should consider allowing their employees to work virtually.

Not Every Employee Should Work Virtually

Companies must also realize that not everyone has the personality traits needed to work virtually. Working through Internet service is more realistic for someone who has a type-A personality and is an ambitious go-getter. Self-motivation and discipline are both needed for virtual employees. These traits will help them to excel no matter what location they work from.

As Internet technology evolves, it’s inevitable that the number of companies that allow their employees to work virtually will grow. For many employers, it makes economic and logistical sense for their employees to embrace the business idea of working virtually. It is estimated that one in five Americans do not work a typical nine-to-five schedule, and this number is expected to soar in the coming years.

By Eric Rice

LWI and The Founders Den

The Founders Den

The Founders Den is a collaborative group of successful entrepreneurs, attorneys, investors, tax professionals, and advisors who are committed to sharing their knowledge, expertise, and resources to improve the environment for rising startup businesses. The Founders Den Members come from a variety of professional backgrounds and business sectors, and are focused on leveraging their wisdom and experience to offer advice to young companies, and in select cases the Den serves as an incubator for promising ventures who are in need of support to turn their plans into reality.

Eric Rice is a successful entrepreneur and has built a number of businesses in sectors ranging from financial services to gaming. He is currently the CEO of LWI, a non-traditional marketing firm specializing in social media and online branding.

Eric Rice

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Martin Waters

Eric Donsky

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Owner, Principal Consultant

Frederick Gaston
Business Litigator
Gaston & Gaston, APLC

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