March 26, 2014
Working in a Virtual World—Weigh Your Options
Filed under: Entrepreneurship
Education comes at a price. And while earning a degree is hard enough, graduating in debt and with no job prospects is even tougher.
If that’s the case, you’re already living the headlines:
- “For Recent Grads, Good Jobs Really Are Hard to Find”—The Wall Street Journal.
- “It’s An Exceptionally Bad Time To Be A Recent College Grad”—The Huffington Post
- “Average Student Debt Climbs To $29,400, Up 63 Percent In Less Than A Decade: Study”—The Huffington Post
That’s grim news—even with the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2014 survey expecting employers to hire about 7.8% more graduates than the Class of 2013.
We live in tough times with degrees from the school of hard knocks, where more than 1.6 million graduates with four-year degrees soon will be competing for jobs. They’ll join the ranks of earlier graduates now unemployed or underemployed, still reeling from the Great Recession. Add to their numbers well-educated, but sidelined professionals who would welcome work that uses their skills.
Virtual Jobs Take Workaday Skills
Like other jobs, virtual work requires hard skills and soft skills—the qualities that all employers want.
Most of all, it takes workaday skills. The fundamentals that apply to any company or industry, such as:
- Can you listen?
- Can you connect?
- Can you continue to learn?
- Can you master the technology?
- Can you bring new ideas to the table?
- Do you work well with others—and alone?
- Do you know when to step up—or back away?
At the end of day, can you put them all together, perform the job and serve clients and their customers well?
If you can, the virtual workplace could use your talents.
Given this economic woe, how do you give so much talent a home? One way is with virtual workforces that move with the times and morph to the marketplace.
Consider this Option—Working Virtual
Consultancies, websites and surveys are devoted to workforces that are remote, mobile or virtual. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics went through more than 500 telecommuting studies, reporting on the pros and cons of working this way for companies.
The advantages include:
- More opportunities for the underemployed and unemployed—citing “18 million Americans with some college education aren’t working.
- Businesses options to scale up and down—stating “having access to flexible at-home workforce allows call centers, airlines, and other to add and reduce staff quickly as needed.”
While the benefits are many, there are concerns, such as:
- Remote work is not for everyone—believing workers “should be comfortable with technology or arrangements should be made for remote tech support.”
- Keeping work secure—although “90% of those charged with security in large organizations feel that home-based workers” are not a security concern.
Working from home—whether as a professional agent or a corporate telecommuter—has come of age. Independent workers make up 30% of the American workforce today. And that number will continue to increase, where an estimated 63 million Americans will telecommute by 2016.
Becoming a home-based agent is a proven work option, but do your due diligence. Research any company well. How thorough is its training? How does it pay and reward people? Know what you’re getting into beforehand, and decide if the culture and chemistry are a good fit. It’s worthwhile to check out what employees and agents are saying about a place, such as on Glassdoor.
Tapping into Talent and Technology—Virtually
A virtual workforce draws its strength from diversity. For example, Working Solutions serves clients and their customers in 32 languages across multiple time zones—all done from inside the United States.
Like any workplace, agents’ backgrounds vary. They include college graduates, military spouses, retirees, and people whose careers changed and their skills remained sharp. Some work full time and others part time. It all depends on their needs and client requirements.
Regardless of demands and demographics, there’s a lot of talent—young, older and in between— outside of corporate America these days. It’s vital and sought after, but being used in more creative and productive ways, enabled by cloud technology. But the cloud means nothing if you don’t have the right people, processes and methodologies behind it.
We’ve invested in the talent and technology for nearly 20 years as a pioneer in the virtual contact center and service industry, transforming the way the world sells and supports clients and their customers. From an industry standpoint, we see sophisticated and well-connected consumers reshaping the customer experience in their own images—throughout the entire business cycle.
Better-informed consumers require a savvier, more tuned-in and educated workforce to serve their needs—from buying goods to ensuring delivery of services to resolving customer issues. Raising the stakes elevates the conservation about how and where commerce is conducted and business gets done.
Connecting the crowd to the cloud brings new fluidity to the workplace and the marketplace. The dynamics redefine how organizations and workers interact—and companies and consumers engage.
Against this backdrop, a more mobile and increasingly independent workforce moves, evermore in demand and expanding across generations of talent. Perhaps it’s a place for you.
“It’s all about how agents treat customers and quality service.”