Telecommuting jobs are on the rise; in fact, the number of employees working from home in the United States alone increased 115% between 2005 and 2015, as the digital revolution brought handheld and cloud-based computing mainstream.
According to FlexJobs, more than nine million Americans work from home at least half of the time, and approximately 56% of U.S. workers hold jobs that could easily be transitioned to a remote based system. More than ever before, employees of all shapes, sizes, and skill sets are finding ways to click in to clock in.
It’s not hard to understand the appeal, of course. In addition to never having to defrost your car in the winter and having a pants-optional workplace dress code, full-time telecommuters can save more than $4,000 each year just by skipping the daily drive to the office, says FlexJobs.
Employers also benefit big time saving more than $11,000 per half-time remote employee annually. And with marketing and customer service efforts increasingly being taken online, establishing a virtual office can be a great tool for customer relationship management, too.
Get In On the Fun
With all these (and more) potential benefits, it’s little wonder that the highest-ranking office employees are looking for ways to get in on the work-from-home experience. It can be incredibly difficult for CMOs to envision themselves working remotely because they tend to have a hand in just about every level of marketing operation. Even just dealing with emails and basic office communications can eat up a huge chunk of a CMO’s day. Chris Ducker, one of the world’s leading authorities on virtual staffing and management, explains:
“I sat down and made a list of all the email threads that I used to get my staff to copy me into. When I was done, I looked at the list and was amazed. It was a miracle that I got anything achieved on a day-to-day basis! Everything from admin related purchases, to HR recruitment decisions (even on low levels), right up to IT requirements and Operations issues… I now receive an email from just three people in my 200+ employee company on a daily basis.”
The experience isn’t uncommon. Time reports that CEOs work an average of 58.15 hours each week (compared to an average of 47 working hours for the average employee), or regular 10-12 hour days with a few hours clocked on the weekends, too. They spend about half that time communicating with employees and colleagues in meetings and the other half independently planning and strategizing, but many of the survey’s respondents lamented how little time they get to do “actual work,” because they spend so much time simply managing and responding to routine office communications.
Turning To Virtual
Unsurprisingly, more and more CMOs are turning to virtual management solutions; after all, they crave the same lifestyle freedom we all want for ourselves. Ben Hortman, founder of cloud mining company Bet Capital LLC relishes the opportunity to manage both of his businesses from afar without missing opportunities.
“As a creative entrepreneur, traveling the world to meet new artists and potential partners are integral to the progress of my businesses. Through remote management I’m able to feel as though I’m still present and involved in day-to-day operations while simultaneously forging new connections,” says Hortman.
“Becoming a digital entrepreneur changed my life,” Chris Ducker shared in an interview with the Huffington Post. “I have virtual assistants to manage all those time-consuming, annoying tasks that used to make me hate my work, such as replying to inquiries, training new recruits, copywriting, keeping up with social media and SEO, and doing marketing in order to generate new leads. Outsourcing these and other jobs turned me into a business owner instead of being owned by my business.”
Undoubtedly, the freedom afforded by telecommuting is its biggest draw, but the benefits of a virtual office are practically endless. In the first place, talent scouting and hiring become much easier. Remote workers are happier; when responding to the question “how happy are you at work,” telecommuters responded with an average of 8.10, compared to the average 7.42 response from traditional workers, as reported by Forbes. Telecommuters also report feeling more valued, believing they are more productive and have more effective communication with upper management.
But harder working, more engaged employees aren’t the only personnel perk for virtual offices; because they are no longer limited to small, commutable geographic areas, virtual CEOs can legitimately invest in the best and brightest to suit their needs, regardless of whether they live down the street or halfway around the world. This creates the potential for enormous growth and momentum for businesses who can hire the right talent for the job.
Cost-effectiveness, greater efficiency, improved work-life balance, and happier, more effective employees are still just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possible “pros” of taking your business digital. Other benefits, like the positive impact virtualization can make on our environment, avoiding the headache of ever having to relocate your business, and the quick scalability of e-commerce make a virtual office an appealing option for startups of all sizes.
What is most appealing to you about the prospect of a virtual office? Let me know in the comments section.
@steveolenski is a marketer who also happens to be among the most influential writers in the space. He’s been called The CMO Whisperer & Distiller of Truth. He’s looking for his next challenge.