- There are already regulations and strategies that strengthen the virtual workforce. A vision that promises inclusion, as well as ending obsolete concepts.
It is not uncommon to hear that COVID-19 ushered us into an unforeseen future with new technological challenges. It has driven us to significant changes allowing us to digitize and automate entire companies. Therefore, the home office and virtual workforce are now an everyday reality.
After a year of chaos, companies have proven that home office is as a profitable model as useful; workers are more motivated, focusing on achieving goals. According to El Financiero, 79% of Mexican companies will keep their virtual workforce. As a result, they generated new strategies to improve work performance and spaces to work from home; the virtual workforce’s impact is already a case study.
Virtual workforce: an effective and inclusive concept
What is a virtual workforce?
It is a Hybrid between digital tools, highly trained people, and distributed teams. The virtual workforce is all those people who perform home office with high digitization of the process. Currently, companies like WordPress or Slack have a 100% virtual workforce, even before COVID-19.
«Never better said, home office, as well as the virtual workforce, are here to stay.»
Virtual workforce, an inclusive and diverse model
Millennials represent a big part of EAP (Economically Active Population) in Mexico. A generation recognized as digital natives, multitasking, self-taught, and nonconformist. His mantra «work to live.»
Millennials embraced and promoted the virtual workforce, as it offers flexibility and freedom; that is to say, people are looking to improve their work-home relationship. The virtual workforce enables a more balanced life; this consequently generates motivation.
Distributed teams are a feature of the virtual workforce. This model allows companies to hire highly qualified personnel, even if they are in another geographical location. Companies that have adapted to home office differently have a competitive advantage, not to mention that inclusion and diversity become easy.
«I think a barrier to diversity has historically been geographic. There has never been a conflict in my mind between quality hiring and diversity hiring. I think this makes both a lot easier, frankly. «Stewart Butterfield. CEO and co-founder at Slack.
Work culture: a challenge for distributed teams
Maintaining effective communication with distributed teams is a challenge for the virtual workforce.
By not having offices to meet, interpersonal relationships are complicated. These relationships are necessary to humanize creative processes. Therefore good communication between teams becomes a challenge.
The work culture keeps the team focused in the same direction. It allows clear objectives, synergy between members, as well as performance improvements. Therefore, having a transparent work culture in front of the virtual workforce is essential.
How to establish an aligned virtual work culture?
- Spread a clear business philosophy.
- Establish efficient processes, from the general to the particular.
- Effectively monitor, set meetings and KPIs.
- Create communication strategies with digital tools.
- Train the team continuously.
Various companies have found that teams established from the beginning with a virtual workforce have adapted better to the model. As there is no resistance to change, a process is more natural when migrating from the traditional to the virtual.
Flexible work in coworking spaces
As a result of COVID-19, many of us have valued human contact; however, it does not mean that we miss the rigid traditional models.
The new generations appreciate having a space to share with colleagues at flexible times. Offices with assigned cubicles are probably not as recurring anymore. On the other hand, Google-style companies will not be one hundred percent necessary either. The virtual workforce demands Coworking spaces. Places adapted for workers’ needs but much more relaxed with a flexible schedule.
Companies like PwC have been revolutionizing the concept of offices for years. Now they have Coworking spaces, fully adapted to their workers’ needs. In other words, if they always meet their goals, they don’t have to go to the offices.
The design reflects how our culture has evolved, which includes technology, such as Google tools. It is changing the way we work.LEER TAMBIÉNMichael Fenlon. Chief People Officer PwC
Regulations, standards, and policies emerge
The home office, due to its underrepresentation, did not have a special regulation. Now, which is apparently permanent, it seeks to establish standards, regulations, and policies. Regulating the rights and obligations of the virtual workforce is already a necessity.
In December 2020, the H. Congress of the Union in Mexico approved reforms to the Federal Labor Law. These reforms establish rights and obligations regarding home office, consequently to the virtual workforce (DOF. January 11, 2021):
- If work activities from home correspond to 40% of the total, it is considered home office.
- The home office modality must be defined by contract without omitting mandatory contributions from the employer such as social security, equipment, tools, and payment services.
- The employer must provide, install and maintain the equipment and tools provided.
- The employer must pay for the telecommunications and a proportional part of the home office’s electricity.
- It is the worker’s right to receive training for the use of technologies.
- The worker must take care of the equipment and tools provided and comply with the computer security and health measures at work.
A labor revolution is undoubtedly happening now. What many millennials asked for and that others believed impossible is becoming a reality. Above all, flexible, diverse, and inclusive work is part of our present time; there are no longer excuses.
As we have said before, the virtual workforce has two faces. It is a path that we have to established to achieve total success. Taking advantage of all the tools we have at hand, we can develop viable work schemes. In conclusion, we can get compatible work with home, enjoyment, and professional fulfillment.
It is a Hybrid between digital tools, highly trained people, and distributed teams. The virtual workforce is all those people who perform home office with high digitization of the process.
1. Spread a clear business philosophy.
2. Establish efficient processes, from the general to the particular.
3. Effectively monitor, set meetings and KPIs.
4. Create communication strategies with digital tools.
5. Train the team continuously.
If work activities from home correspond to 40% of the total, it is considered home office.
The home office modality must be defined by contract without omitting mandatory contributions from the employer such as social security, equipment, tools, and payment services.
The employer must provide, install and maintain the equipment and tools provided.
The employer must pay for the telecommunications and a proportional part of the home office’s electricity.
It is the worker’s right to receive training for the use of technologies.
The worker must take care of the equipment and tools provided and comply with the computer security and health measures at work.