Bloomberg Businessweek found the number of self-employed who work exclusively from home increased from 3.47 million in 1999 to 4.34 million in 2005 (from the latest U.S. Census data available). More folks than ever are working from their home offices and that means more businesses are hiring these workers for jobs that used to be based on-site.
My curiosity on this topic peaked when I read this tweet:
Irene was questioning this chart, found on VAnetworking- a community of 10,000+ people who work online:
|Hourly Rate of Pay|
|Fringe Benefits @ 35%|
(Health/Dental/Life Insurance, Retirement Plans)
|Overhead Rate @ 50%|
(Office Space, Equipment & Office Supply expense, UI Insurance, Worker's Compensation, Overtime Pay, Administration Costs)
|Total Effective Rate of Pay|
|**Hours Per Year|
|TOTAL Annual Labour Cost|
Is it too good to be true? Can you really save $60,000 by hiring a virtual worker?
My thought: While it's hard to put a value on good work, at some point numbers must be a metric to evaluate value. The chart points to the value of not paying virtual workers benefits or overhead, but the more important value isn't in the cash difference-- it's in the hours. Anyone can get more work done for less money, but getting more work done in less time is valuable.
"No more paying for socializing, hour long lunches or frequent trips to the washroom. Your employee's 8 hour day can be crunched into 3-4 hours with a Virtual Assistant," the VAnetworking article goes on to say.
Virtual workers are held to a strict standard of completing tasks. Once a solid contract is composed, the business can know if the virtual worker is meeting expectations. Virtual workers should have detailed assignments and noted deadlines so they can know what is expected and just do it, thereby saving money and time.
Many virtual workers are skilled in the work they offer and enjoy it, equaling fewer disgruntled workers. Virtual workers also enjoy their flexible hours and home offices, so they are happier and more productive.
My answer is yes, I think virtual workers can save businesses tons of money, but more importantly, they get your work done in a quick, professional and happy way.