Should you change to a virtual workforce?

While there has always been a digital shift in how things are done, the COVID-19 pandemic created a need for implementation of a virtual workforce so companies could continue doing business. While a number of organizations adopted this change with open arms, others are skeptical that a remote workforce can sustain as a permanent model for their operations.

Benefits of working from home

Many companies have started realising the benefits of having a remote workforce in place. One of the major advantages is cost savings. Virtual offices have less overhead because there are no costs of leasing office space, no furniture, equipment, or utilities to worry about. If a small capsule office is needed, the costs are much lower than having to house hundreds, or even thousands of employees.

Additional benefits include:

  • Talent
    • Companies can access talent to fill roles from anywhere in the world. This can be highly advantageous if the employee can’t be found locally.
  • Work-Life balance
    • There are some employees who have long commutes to and from the office. This forces them to have less time with their families. Additionally, some employees are more productive when they don’t have to worry about dressing up for work. This takes a huge amount of stress away.
  • Productivity
    • Studies have shown that 34% of employees feel more productive than before the pandemic since they have been given the opportunity to work from home. At least 52% of executives also feel that way.

Employers who give employees the space to work how they want usually have higher retention rates while getting the work done. With the current workforce shifting to Millennials and Gen-Z, it is important to think about how these employees will want to work going forward.

It’s no secret that some companies would prefer their employees in a structured office environment, but they must understand how their employees’ work. If their teams were more productive while working from home instead of in the office, it may be time to consider having a hybrid work model where employees are working from home at least a few days a week.

Preparing for a virtual workforce

If you’ve decided to move forward in implementing a virtual workforce, there are a few things to put in place to make the transition seamless. While companies were forced to allow their employees to work from home to keep the company afloat, there may not have been policies in place to sustain this type of work environment. Here are some things to think about:


It’s important to follow the legal guidelines where each employee resides to ensure no laws are being broken. This means your HR team must understand all the rules, especially when it comes to tax protocols.

Compensation and benefits

Compensation and benefits are huge for any workforce. It’s important to understand the marketability of each role within the company and pay those employees accordingly. The cost of living may be a lot higher in certain regions. That means those employees may need additional income. It is equally important to be fair when it comes to benefits and vacation time. Depending on the region where the employee lives, holidays may be different, as well as vacation time. Some areas may require a certain number of days off, whereas another locale may not require that. In all things, every employee must be treated fairly.


The company should have an IT policy, as well as the equipment to get their job done. Some companies either provide the equipment for their employees or provide a stipend for those employees that use their own equipment.

There are other considerations that affect having a thriving virtual workforce, including connectivity, team meetings, and other things. HR and the legal team should work together to ensure everyone is on the same page and all policies and regulations are being adhered to.

Should employees return to the office?

If the company is thriving using a remote work model, it may not be in the best interest of the organisation to have employees come back to an office setting. The ultimate goal is to make sure management and the employees are on the same page. It may be more cost-effective to keep employees working from home, especially if efficiency has been an issue.

Getting the right support is key. People First HR can assist in helping figure out whether your company is poised to have a fully virtual workforce that aligns with your strategic goals.