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. After a year of chaos, companies have proven that home office is as profitable as applicable; 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 from home. It is certain that the virtual workforce’s impact is already a case study.
What Is a Virtual Workforce?
It is a hybrid between digital tools, highly trained people, and distributed teams. The virtual workforce are all those who perform home office with high digitization of the process. Companies like WordPress or Slack currently 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 Mexico’s E.A.P. (Economically Active Population). A generation recognized as digital natives, multitasking, self-taught, and nonconformist. His mantra is «work to live.»
They embraced and promoted the virtual workforce, because it offers flexibility and freedom. Needless to say, people are looking to improve their work and home relationships, and this labor model enables a more balanced life, which consequently generates motivation.
Distributed teams are a feature of the virtual workforce. They allow companies to hire highly qualified personnel, even in another geographical location. Companies adapted to home offices 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 … 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, but they are necessary to humanize creative processes.
Having a transparent work culture in front of the virtual workforce is essential because it keeps the team focused in the same direction. Also, it allows clear objectives, a synergy between members, and performance improvements.
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 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, we do not 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, that is to say, places adapted for workers’ needs but much more relaxed and with a flexible schedule. Companies like PwC have been revolutionizing the concept of offices. It is certain that if employees always meets its 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.Michael Fenlon. Chief People Officer PwC
Regulations, Standards, and Policies Emerge
Indeed, regulating the rights and obligations of the virtual workforce is already a necessity. The home office did not have a special regulation because it wasn’t widespread. Due to the pandemics, we have discovered its benefits, and right now, it is permanent.
In December 2020, the H. Congress of the Union in Mexico approved reforms to the Federal Labor Law, which establishes 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.
- This modality must be defined by contract without omitting mandatory contributions from the employer such as social security, equipment, tools, and payment services.
- Employers must provide, install and maintain the equipment and tools provided.
- They 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 technologies.
- Workers must take care of the equipment and tools provided and comply with the computer security and health measures at work.
A Labor Revolution
We are undoubtedly witnessing a labor revolution and what others believed impossible is becoming a reality. Above all, flexible, diverse, and inclusive work must be part of our present time, and there are no longer excuses.
Notheless, the virtual workforce is a path that we must establish and structure to achieve total success. By taking advantage of all the tools we have at hand, we can develop viable work schemes and make work compatible with home, enjoyment, and professional fulfillment.
FAQ Virtual Workforce
It is a hybrid between digital tools, highly trained people, and distributed teams. The virtual workforce is all those 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.
This modality must be defined by contract without omitting mandatory contributions from the employer such as social security, equipment, tools, and payment services.
Employers must provide, install and maintain the equipment and tools provided.
They 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 technologies.
Workers must take care of the equipment and tools provided and comply with the computer security and health measures at work.