At present, climate change is a significant issue that is being widely discussed. Recent images released by NASA have shown the dramatic consequences of record high temperatures in Antarctica, where snow was seen to be melting. In addition, the aftermath of Australia’s devastating bush fires is still being felt and the ash is yet to fully settle. Science is supporting the actions of Greta Thunberg, who is sailing around the world in order to encourage people to take action. It is clear that the time for action is now.
Despite the limited impact individuals can make, corporations have the capacity to do more. Carrying a metal straw, a reusable water bottle, and a roll of bamboo tissue in my carry-on is one small step, but there could be greater potential for businesses to adopt measures that have a positive financial, operational, and environmental impact. Wouldn’t it be worth considering the possibilities? After all, many businesses now operate almost entirely remotely in the “virtual” world.
Just what is a “Virtual” Business?
At Works, we are dedicated to enabling remote working, so this is the primary focus of our work. A virtual organisation is a business in which all personnel carry out their work from remote locations. There is no central office or physical premises for the team to be based at – instead, they utilise the internet to interact with each other.
It is important to bear in mind that virtual partnerships are not limited to small businesses or unknown brands. In fact, some of the most renowned organisations in the world are managed by virtual teams of employees.
With over 230 employees from 20 countries, Scopic is one of the largest virtual enterprises in the world. Specialising in the creation of websites and mobile applications, Scopic is an organisation that you may not be familiar with. However, Scopic is delighted by its rapid expansion, which shows no signs of abating any time soon.
At Basecamp, we understand the complexities that come with managing distributed teams, which is why we offer our platform as a way to coordinate your own remote team. All 115 or so of our employees work remotely, giving us a unique insight into the challenges of distributed teamwork, and providing us with the expertise to create a platform tailored specifically to the needs of this type of working.
We at Buffer are proud to employ more than a hundred people across many remote locations. It’s no secret that working remotely has been beneficial to software developers, but it’s important to remember that it can also be advantageous to many other roles, such as salespeople, marketers, human resources professionals, accountants and more. We are grateful that you’ve taken the time to read our blog and thank you for your support.
Zapier began as a group of three flatmates working together from a single residence, and has since grown into an international team of more than two hundred employees. Our company is in full agreement with Zapier’s CEO, Wade Foster, that clear and effective written communication is essential for any organisation that functions in a decentralised manner.
The effectiveness of our organisation is testament to the fact that we are always true to our word. Our team members are located in different countries around the world, making us an international organisation. Through taking a trial-and-error approach to our work, we have acquired an extensive knowledge of how to successfully create and manage both remote and on-site teams.
In what ways do “Greener” Virtual Companies exist?
In 2023, the transportation sector accounted for 26% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, amounting to approximately 1.786 billion metric tonnes. If fewer people had to contend with traffic on their daily commutes, there would be many positive results for society. On average, American commuters spend 26 minutes travelling to and from work each day, equating to one hour of their day being spent commuting.
Moreover, this is not just a matter of pollution. How many households require two or more cars to travel to and from work every day? The production and disposal of cars have a particularly damaging effect on the environment due to the plastics used in their internal components. It would be beneficial to both the environment and to the financial situation of families if they were able to reduce the amount of cars they own.
The question of where to establish a business is an important consideration. Working from home can be beneficial in terms of reducing energy expenditure, as there is no need to provide a separate office space for employees. Instead, they can use their own residences as places of work. It is important to maintain a comfortable environment in our homes, even when they are not in use; therefore, there may be a greater incentive to remain in our own abodes, rather than having to heat or cool a separate building.
Due to not having to spend a considerable amount of time in the car travelling to and from work, remote workers are able to sidestep the numerous negative health implications that this commuting entails. Should employees take better care of their wellbeing, this will result in fewer days off due to illness, fewer visits to the doctor and reduced healthcare costs.
Even employees who work in the office can benefit from the reduced use of paper that comes with remote working. The report which needs to be read before today’s meeting can be easily accessed as it is in Portable Document Format (PDF), and can be read directly on any computer. Thanks to the advances in remote communication and collaboration technologies, it is now possible for groups to hold discussions without the need for any physical flipcharts.
Positive Unintended Consequences
By enabling more people to work remotely, both individuals and the planet can benefit from the increased flexibility and economic opportunities. Furthermore, companies that hire employees from different parts of the world can benefit from a more diverse workforce, which can bring increased creativity and problem-solving skills to the company.
The growth of remote working has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the worldwide economy, as it has enabled resources to be spread out beyond major cities or nations which have traditionally held them in concentration. As Jo Palmer highlighted in the radio interview, this shift has enabled rural towns that have experienced a decline in population due to people leaving for the suburbs to be restored to life. When employing remote workers, money is redistributed on a global level, making the practise often likened to that of the legendary Robin Hood.
It is important to remember that many people who work remotely do so out of necessity rather than preference. This includes working mothers who must balance their career and family commitments, as well as those who require the reasonable adjustment of teleworking due to physical or mental health conditions.
Telecommuting Unites the World
Our research has demonstrated that remote working has a positive effect on an individual’s overall concern for humanity. With some members of your team based in Northern Italy, the news of the spread of CORVID-19 there has had an even more powerful impact on us. Interacting with people who exhibit racism or prejudice on a daily basis makes it harder to ignore such behaviour. Working remotely has really brought Walt Disney’s words to life, showing us that the world is indeed a very small place.
It is not necessary to make a complete transition to a virtual working environment to reap the benefits of remote working. Introducing this flexibility to employees, even on a trial basis, is a step in the right direction. We strongly suggest that you consider hiring your next software engineer as a remote employee. If you need any advice or guidance, our team would be delighted to assist you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us so that we can discuss how we can help.