Virtual Employees: What They Do And Why You Should Hire Them

virtual employee

Want to hire a virtual employee for your business?

Most companies hire virtual employees to scale their businesses quickly and reduce their overheads.

In this article, we’ll cover the five key benefits of hiring virtual employees for your business. We’ll also highlight a few things to keep in mind when hiring them and where you can hire them from.

 

The article contains:

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Let’s get started.

 


What Is A Virtual Employee?

A virtual employee, also known as a remote employee, is a person who works full-time or part-time for a company from a remote location. While most people confuse virtual employees with freelancers, they aren’t the same.

Freelancers are self-employed individuals who usually work for multiple clients at the same time. An employer doesn’t have much control over when the freelancer performs their work, who they work for and the money they charge for their work.

However, virtual employees work for a single employer. This gives the employer more control over various aspects of their job, from what tasks they do to how much they’ll be paid for it. They’re like a regular employee — just not in your office!

With the growth of smart workplace software, it’s fairly easy to hire and manage virtual staff. This is why most companies are comfortable in going virtual and running parts of their business without a physical office.

So why do companies hire virtual employees?

 


The Five Benefits of Hiring Virtual Employees

Here are the five benefits of hiring virtual employees for your company:

1. You Can Quickly Scale Your Business

One of the major issues with scaling a business is the overhead costs you’ll have to bear.

Think about it.

To scale your business, you’ll need to hire more employees. And to house them, you’ll need to invest in larger offices which involves a lot of overheads like rent and utilities.

However, as virtual employees are remote employees, you don’t have to expand your office space to scale your business. You just hire them and they work for you virtually.

This way, you can comfortably expand your business offerings without having to set up additional office spaces. For example, if you’re an SMB, you can provide 24×7 IT support without having to set up a call center.

2. Low In-Office Cost

When you hire in-house employees, you have to take care of various expenses like:

  • Tech expenses like an internet connection and software.
  • Office expenses like rent, office supplies, heating and air conditioning.
  • Maintenance costs.
  • Miscellaneous expenses like food and beverages.

As virtual employees work from home or other remote locations, they are fully responsible for their work environment. You might only have to provide them with the software required for the job and nothing else. This significantly reduces the expenses you’ll have to bear after hiring them.

3. Can Enhance Diversity

Another benefit of hiring remote workers is that you can hire them from another city, country or even another continent! As this gives recruiters access to a global talent pool, you can hire skilled and experienced virtual employees from anywhere in the world.

Additionally, you’ll be recruiting people with widely different ideas and outlooks towards life. This can make your brainstorming activities more diverse, adding more creativity and innovation to your business ideas.

4. Can Provide 24×7 Services Without Overworking Your Staff

When your business and staff are located in one place, it can be hard for you to cope with customers and clients from across the world, especially if you offer services like IT support.

For example, if your business is in London, your peak operating hours will be at night for your clients or customers in Sydney. You can only provide them services if you and your staff stay awake all night.

However, as virtual employees work remotely, you can hire them from around the world to attend to clients and customers from various time zones. This way, you can grow your business while you and your employees work comfortably.

5. Can Increase Employee Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Another benefit of hiring virtual employees is that they can have a better work-life balance — leading to increased motivation and job satisfaction.

How?

  • Virtual employees don’t have to spend time and money on commuting for work.
  • Most of them have flexible working hours – this lets them handle work and personal responsibilities easily.

As they get the freedom to enjoy a good work-life balance, your virtual team is more likely to be satisfied with their job, which can motivate them to be more productive.

 


The Three Things To Keep In Mind When Hiring Virtual Employees

hiring virtual employees

While hiring virtual employees comes with tons of benefits, there are a few things you need to keep in mind during the process:

1. Know What Jobs Can And Can’t Be Done In-Person

Remember, you can only hire virtual employees for work that doesn’t need their physical presence.

This includes jobs like:

  • Content writing
  • Data entry
  • Customer support
  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • And many more.

But not all jobs can be done virtually.

For example, hiring a virtual employee from Noida, India, to show clients rental properties in Washington DC, the United States is impossible. Jobs like this need someone in-office with you to perform their duties.

Thoroughly know what the job entails before deciding to hire someone virtually for it.

2. Create The Right Job Description

Once you have identified what job can be given to a virtual employee, you need to create a job description for it.

While the job description for a virtual employee is not that different from the one for an in-house employee, it should clearly list out how the work will be carried out virtually.

Here are a few things your job description should contain:

  • Information about your company — what you do, details about your services and products.
  • The activities involved in the job.
  • The skills and experience required.
  • The work hours of the job — you must specify the time zone your company works in.
  • The tools they’ll be using — common workplace and project-specific tools.

For example, if you’re hiring someone for graphic design, your job description should mention that the candidates should be familiar with popular design tools like Adobe Photoshop.

It’s also a good idea to mention what workplace software they’ll be using, like Slack for communication and Google Docs for file management. This way, the candidate will have clarity on how the work should be done virtually.

3. Ensure That You Have The Right Processes In Place To Manage A Virtual Team

While you could have the best possible virtual team, you could still face tons of issues.

Think about it.

Your virtual employees will be working from their home or any remote location.
Without investing in the right tools and creating flexible processes, it’ll be hard for you to manage them.

Two tips to cope with this are:

A. Invest In The Right Software And Tools

Your virtual employees could be thousands of miles away. This requires you to invest in tools that help you communicate project demands, share relevant files and also monitor them.

Here are three essential tools for managing virtual employees:

  • Communication tools like Slack and Zoom, that help you instantly message your virtual team members and hold meetings with them. For example, you can host virtual project meetings to discuss a new product.
  • File management tools like Google Docs, that let you easily collaborate on documents and save them online.
  • Performance tracking tools like Time Doctor, that help you monitor your virtual employees during their work hours.

B. Have Flexible Work Timings

As your virtual employees could be from different time zones, you need to have flexible work timings to keep your business moving forward.

Remember to set work hours that are convenient for you and your virtual team. This ensures that you can keep the ball rolling without overworking your employees.

Also look for timezone overlaps when your entire team can be online. This way, you can still conduct full-team meetings at reasonable hours for everyone.

 


The Main Challenge With Hiring Virtual Employees

The major reason why most businesses shy away from hiring virtual employees is that it’s hard to monitor them.

Think about it.

When your employees could be thousands of miles away, you won’t be able to:

  • Know what they are doing during work hours.
  • Verify if they are actively working on their tasks.
  • Know if they access websites or apps that violate company policies.

Luckily, performance trackers like Time Doctor make it super easy for businesses to manage virtual employees.

What’s Time Doctor?

What is Time Doctor

Time Doctor is a powerful performance monitoring tool that is used by large companies like Apple and Verizon and by SMBs like Thrive Market to monitor their employees.

Here’s a closer look at how Time Doctor makes managing your virtual employees a breeze:

1. Know How Your Virtual Employees Spend Their Work Hours

Time Doctor auto-generates a detailed Project Report that breaks down how your virtual employees spend their work hours. You’ll know who is working on what project and the duration they spent on it, in real-time.

As these reports are highly accurate, you can use it to bill clients for the work done.

Time Doctor accurately monitors time

2. Prevent Distractions During Work Hours

Worried that your virtual employees are distracted by unproductive websites and apps during work hours?

With Time Doctor’s distraction management feature, you don’t have to.

Whenever an employee uses unproductive websites and apps like social media, the tool displays a pop-up alert asking them if they are still working. This little nudge is usually enough to get them back to work.

Time Doctor Alert For Unproductive Websites

Time Doctor also gives you a Web and App Usage Report that shows you the websites and apps accessed by each employee and the time spent on them. You can use it to determine if they’re using non-work related sites and apps like social media that violate company policies.

Apps and Websites Visited

3. Ensure That They Work Actively

Time Doctor’s inactivity tracker helps ensure that your virtual employees don’t log idle time as work hours. The tool automatically pauses the timer if there has been no activity on their keyboard or mouse for over three minutes.

This way, your remote workers can only log active hours as hours worked.

Note: Time Doctor only tracks if any keyboard keys were pressed or not. It does not track which keys were pressed.

Inactivity Tracker

4. Quickly Pay Them For Their Work

Time Doctor’s payroll feature helps you automatically calculate the remuneration to be paid to your remote workers.

It easily integrates with most payment methods such as TransferWise, Paypal and Payoneer. However, it also allows you to choose any other payment platform to pay your virtual employees.

Time Doctor Payroll Feature

 


The Top Five Virtual Staffing Companies

Here are the top five companies that offer quality virtual staffing solutions:

1. VA Staffer

va staffer

VA Staffer is a popular virtual staffing agency that provides skilled employees who work from home or the VA Staffer office. With over five years of experience, VA Staffer offers services to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Key virtual employee services:

  • E-commerce solutions
  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Lead generation

2. Virtual Employee Pvt Ltd

virtual employee website

Virtual Employee Pvt Ltd is a staffing company that offers virtual employee services across North America, the United Kingdom and other European countries.

Key virtual employee services:

  • Content writing
  • Web designing
  • Software development
  • Mobile app development
  • Digital marketing

3. Virtual Staff Finder

virtual staff finder

Whether you’re an online entrepreneur or a small business owner, Virtual Staff Finder helps you hire suitable virtual employees. Based out of the Philippines, it’s more suited for businesses looking for long-term staffing solutions.

Key virtual employee services:

  • Customer support
  • Graphic design
  • Content writing
  • Web development
  • SEO

4. Task Virtual

taskvirtual

Task Virtual has some of the most experienced and qualified virtual employees for businesses. Based in India, the company offers a wide range of virtual staffing services at competent rates.

Key virtual employee services:

  • Content writing
  • Social Media management
  • Web Designing
  • Data entry
  • Internet research

5. 24/7 Virtual Assistant

247 virtual assistant website

24/7 Virtual Assistant offers virtual employees who help manage your personal and business activities. With locations in India and the United States, they chiefly provide services to small business owners.

Key virtual employee services:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Data entry
  • Administrative support
  • HR management
  • Real estate services

 

Conclusion

Should you hire virtual employees?

The answer is yes!

They can be as flexible and productive as regular employees while costing you a lot less!

Check the remote staffing agencies we mentioned here to start building a virtual team for your business quickly. Once you hire the right talent, use the tips we mentioned here to manage your virtual employees easily.

 
Try Time Doctor

Liam McIvor Martin

Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor—a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams.

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