In case you haven’t opened your eyes lately, you may be surprised to find that there has been a recent workplace revolution going on. Between changing lifestyles and the immense technology innovation, the age of the online worker is upon us. More and more companies are choosing to hire online workers and freelancers to take over projects that were once dedicated to in-house, full-time workers. If you haven’t opened your eyes to this transition, it is definitely the time. Between the costs of hiring full time people and the growing reluctance of top talent to work in a 9-5 setting, it will soon become the norm to outsource work to virtual workers.
More and more businesses are choosing to hire online workers. Even large businesses are beginning to get their feet wet in the online worker age. Small businesses in particular are mostly manned exclusively with online workers from all over the globe. It is the age of the online worker – an age where it is common to work from your home, work the hours you want and make the living you desire.
History of the Online Worker
Freelancing has been around in some form since the 1800’s at least. At that time up until about 25 years ago, of course the term mostly applied to writers and artists. When the internet started to develop, workers from all different industries began to turn to online work. In the beginning, online workers were really only a reality in big cities where reliable internet connections could be found. But today with internet accessible to nearly everyone, the landscape has changed. Almost anyone can conceivably find work online if they want to.
The online worker of today’s world has an arsenal of technology at their fingertips. Between video conferencing capabilities, cloud based file storage and smart phones, it is possible to work from anywhere in the world … without ever stepping into a physical office. As technology continues to improve, this trend will do nothing but continue.
And it isn’t just technology pushing this trend. There are benefits to both the online worker and the hiring company.
Benefits of the Online Worker
More and more of the younger generation is valuing work/life balance above all else. This generation doesn’t want to spend hours commuting to work. When they can earn a living by becoming an online worker, they are adding hours to their day. These are hours that can be spent with family or friends.
Online workers are also happier because their expenses are lower. They do not have to pay for milage, tolls and wear and tear on a vehicle. They also do not have the expenses associated with a professional wardrobe and accessories.
Benefits to the Business
One of the best benefits to a business who chooses to hire online workers is being able to source high talent. Instead of having access to only the competent candidates in your city or local area, businesses who hire online workers can access talent from across the globe. The quality of workers that are able to work remotely, manage their own time, and deliver high quality products are the type of people you want and need with you and and are the types that most businesses want to hire.
By hiring online workers, you will bring together a group full of different backgrounds, cultures, and outlooks which benefits a business immensely when there is a unique problem to solve or they need to reach out to a wider audience.
And last but not least – costs to hire and maintain an online worker are much lower than an in-house worker. The average business can save over ten thousand dollars per worker per year by hiring a virtual online worker compared to an in-office worker.
- The number of absences without leave and sick days will greatly reduce.
- Expenses associated with office space are reduced or eliminated.
- You can hire remote workers to work on an “as-needed” basis or a specific number of hours per week.
- On-boarding costs are reduced.
The Future of the Online Worker
While “work from home” used to be an elusive term generally reserved for those workers who were about to lose regular employment, it is now quickly becoming the norm, especially for the millennial generation. As technology continues to improve, more businesses will embrace the idea of the online worker and reap all of the benefits that remote workers bring to the table. Working from home isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
There are now several online hiring platforms that take all of the guesswork out of hiring online. They vet their candidates and help businesses find the right fit. These platforms make it easier for both the online worker and the business looking to outsource. It is truly a win-win situation.
How We Need to Adapt to Online Work
When it comes to being a part of a remote workforce or hiring online workers, not everything is equal. While there are many strategic benefits to virtual workers, we have to adjust accordingly – both for the online worker and the business owner.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. This cannot be stressed enough. The caveat to working online is that everyone misses out on 70% of nonverbal communication – facial expressions, voice tones, and eye contact. Working from opposite sides of the world in different time zones, cultures and languages – communicating the smallest things are a must. This is why virtual companies use everything from email, Slack, Skype, and Whatsapp to keep in regular contact in an informal manner. It allows everyone to have some of the nonverbal communication and connect with each other in a more natural way so that not as much gets lost in translation.
As we turn to more and more virtual work, trust is another factor that cannot be underestimated. As a business owner, you won’t be able to run across the hall to check in on workers. They may even be working while you sleep. The absence of trust will crush a virtual setup. As an online worker, you need to be able to trust the rest of the people working alongside you, as well as your boss. Trust in both directions will be extremely important as the age of the online worker continues.
Virtual workers need a company culture too. In fact, culture is more helpful for an online worker than it is for in-house staff. Because the workers are spread across different cities or countries, everyone must share similar values and work ethic if they are to be successful. Culture must be exhibited by both business owner and every single worker that is hired.
The age of the online worker is upon us. If you haven’t noticed, it is becoming far more normal now than it was even a year or two ago. With the technology advancements that are popping up each and every day along with the desire to have more control over work/life balance and work hours, this trend is going to do nothing but increase over the foreseeable future. If you have not yet embraced the idea of either working from home or hiring virtual assistants to help grow your business, now is the perfect time. It has never been easier or more accessible to find, interview and hire the top talent from across the world.
If you are ready to jump on the bandwagon and hire an *online worker, head on over and create an account at Freeeup today. The process is easy and the workers are top-notch.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.