One of the standout moments this year, because of the enormous drama Corona caused sweeping across the globe, was the fact that the world switched to a virtual operation overnight.
As impressive as it was, however, it’s not like this was any great surprise. We have been evolving in the online space for the last two decades. However, there’s no denying that Covid-19 kicked us prematurely into the realms of future technology.
Sink or swim
It was a real sink or swim moment. For businesses that hadn’t fully explored the potential of virtualisation, there were some teething problems – cybersecurity and connectivity being two of the biggest challenges. But for many companies, it was almost as if they were waiting for this day to happen. The advantages of this way of working have now been proven. For instance, the benefits relating to business costs and the savings associated with agile working.
Let’s look at this from a breakeven perspective. We all know how to find our business’ breakeven point:
Fixed costs / (Unit price – variable costs) = Breakeven Point.
But the reality is, all those components can increase or decrease in response to changes in the economy. Fixed costs like rent can change. Your unit and variable prices can be affected by supply chain and sales.
Using a virtual office to reduce fixed expenses
Ironically, it’s the fixed costs that we ultimately have more control over. Of course, we can increase our unit price to help claw back revenue, but there’s no guarantee people will buy. With fixed costs, however, we can do things like let go of rented office space and adjust our staffing levels.
Currently, we are working virtually as an interim solution during the COVID pandemic. But it has left businesses with a dilemma on whether or not to continue operating this way. Many business owners I have spoken to have expressed their fears about an economic downturn. They are keen to reduce their fixed costs to scale right back. Many want to do this without losing staff who are critical cogs in their engine.
Primarily they aim to keep their staff connected for less. Teams need a secure and streamlined connectivity solution to enable them to work remotely.
Additional Benefits of a Virtual Office
A virtual office doesn’t just reduce overheads. It allows staff to work more flexibly. Helps them manage their time in a way that suits them. This aspect alone can be a significant benefit if you have the right team. There are many studies that show happier teams have less sick days and maximise productivity. Virtual Offices can also reduce the stress of your employees who are struggling with their work/life balance or find their commute stressful.
Working agilely reduces the carbon footprint of your staff, which is much more environmentally friendly as well as cheaper for your employees. This greener way of thinking can also have a positive impact on your companies brand.
Don’t forget to consider the cons
Do, however, be aware of the cons. If staff are not adequately connected, there may be a loss of community and staff may feel isolated. It can also run the risk of lower productivity depending on an individual’s circumstances, but there are plenty of arguments to support increased productivity from remote working.
Mostly, it’s all about using the right tools to conduct a smart, secure operation where staff feel connected and supported, and you as the business owner can keep your costs low.
What If Working From Home Could Be Different To How It’s Been Until Now?
This is a great article that was published in Forbes discussing how Remote Working has evolved in recent months and where it could get to in the future. It goes into more detail about the Distributed Work’s five levels of autonomy and how COVID has made us move up to level 2.
The article was written by Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor