The benefits of hiring virtual interns and other staff can be bountiful: Access to top talent without geographic constraints, the ability to staff up and down as needed, and low incremental overhead. These are all important factors when discussing growing companies – whether it’s a solo entrepreneur, a small business or a larger organization.
According to numerous surveys, it turns out that the rise in virtual work arrangements is having a more large scale impact. Actually, virtual work is serving as a bright spot in the otherwise dismal employment indicators.
A recent survey released by oDesk found a “significant shift” in how businesses are hiring and how workers are finding job.
In leveraging an online workforce, 50 percent of the employers surveyed reported that they grew their business last year in terms of revenue, size or scope of service. Plus, it appears that tapping a remote workforce is becoming a more prevalent concept as oDesk reports that more than half (54 percent) of employers have no preference as to where their workers are based. They are also becoming more confident in relying on contractors or remote staff for critical or core business functions. In fact, 55 percent of employers say they give such work to remote contractors.
So what does that mean if you’re thinking about hiring a virtual intern to your staff?
First, feel confident that this has now become a tried and true method of hiring. You may be new to the concept, but it is becoming more and more common, which means that there are tons of information available on how to make a virtual internship work for your specific business.
Second, a virtual intern doesn’t need to work in another city or time zone. A virtual intern can work from home while still being close enough to come by for a meeting or an in person cup of coffee. Virtual does not mean long distance and this is an important aspect to remember if you find yourself skeptical of the virtual-work scheme.
Finally, tons of college students and young professionals might actually prefer a virtual internship. For those who grew up in the digital age, being forced to work in an office could be the “odd” arrangement. The freedom of being in a more comfortable and less structured environment could make an intern more productive.
Hiring virtual interns can positively impact your business. Aside from cutting costs associated with office space and equipment like a computer and phone, the employment pool increases dramatically. If hiring a virtual staff can work for you, taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a serious boost to your business.