My company doesn’t have an office and never has. At the end of this year, we will complete our seventh year in business with a team of 10 people and still no office. This bewilders some people. Some have argued that we must get an office at a certain point. I would argue that while an office is a great thing to have and has certain benefits, there are benefits to being virtual as well. Here are three of the biggest benefits for our team.
- Being virtual is a perk that attracts talented self-starters. The people on our team love the flexibility of a virtual office. They love the work / life balance it offers, the zero minute commute in the morning, and the comfort of being in their own space. These perks attract amazing talent that I’m honestly not sure we could get if we had office space, even the coolest office space. A virtual office also attracts people that are self-starters. These are people that have the discipline to work hard while someone is not watching over their shoulder. Working in a virtual office is a lot like being self-employed, so our team tends to think that way and at that level, which I think gives us an edge.
- Having a virtual office gives employees freedom. Our team is free to run an errand if they need to, or pick up their kid from band practice. On our team, it is ok to flex time to balance work life with personal life. But with that flexibility is the rule is that the job must get done on time, no exceptions. A virtual office also gives the freedom to work at whatever location a team member chooses. Some of our team belong to co-working spaces and split their time between it and a home office. Other team members just work from home. Often team members will travel and still work while traveling.
- A virtual office creates a fun culture. I know, talking about company culture within the context of a virtual office might seem weird, but having a virtual office means that our team must connect in intentional ways that create a great culture. We regularly laugh (hard) on conference calls, joke on slack and connect on the phone. Our team genuinely likes each other, and that comradery shows through all of our interactions. Then, for the times that we do meet up face to face, it’s like being around old friends. We laugh and enjoy being around each other because that time is a treat that we don’t often get.
There are some drawbacks to having a virtual office too. I will save that for another post.