It is no secret that the standard work model has changed drastically in the last 10–15 years. Fewer people get up in the morning and drive to work, where they sit at a desk for eight hours before driving home. More people are telecommuting at least some of the time and that makes the use of online training programs and online meetings a suitable option for them.
In this article we take a look at the benefits of freelancing, which have become more apparent in recent years, as well as why you should use the Web to train such remote workers for new positions in your company.
The Benefits of Freelancing and Online Training
The American Community Survey data (2012), which excludes self-employed individuals who work online, showed that:
- 2.6% of U.S. employees (3.3 million people) considered their homes to be their primary workplace.
- Telecommuting grew by nearly 80% since 2005.
- The workforce declined from 2011 – 2012, but the telecommuting workforce grew by 3.8%.
EConsultancy reported that freelancing is also on the rise, with the number of companies that hired freelancers in 2013 increasing by 46%. They also found that most of the top performing grads in the UK see freelancing as a highly attractive career option, while 21% of graduates with first class honours have already made the decision to work freelance.
These statistics show that companies are increasingly realising the benefits of hiring freelancers and using flexitime staff to benefit their companies, and that the quality of freelancers is constantly increasing.
Apart from the fact that telecommuters generally have more job satisfaction, companies benefit from:
Lower Company Overheads: Companies require less office space as workers work from their own homes. In most cases telecommuters or freelancers provide their own technology, and since they don’t have to commute, companies tend to pay them a lower hourly rate.
Advanced Skills Procurement: When companies hire in-house workers, they are bound to choose people who live in a certain city or region, who can commute to work daily. However, when they hire a freelancer, or someone who can telecommute, they can hire someone from anywhere in the world, who matches their desired skill-set. Hiring freelancers means that you can hire specialists for as long as you need them, rather than generalists over long career spans.
Increased Productivity: A happy worker is a hard worker, and with less travel time, fewer distractions and more flexibility, telecommuters are generally happier. In fact, Econsultancy said that 69% of graduates feel that independent work offers a better work-life balance.
Why Online Training is a Great Option for Companies
As more people work across borders, training, meetings and brainstorming sessions needn’t become an issue. Technology continues to advance, making file sharing, document sharing, online meeting and screen sharing software available to everyone.
- No Travel Required: With team members in different cities or even on different continents, there’s no longer a need to travel to provide training. Screen sharing offers a great way for initial training sessions and follow up sessions alike.
- Live Meetings Anytime: With little need to travel all the time to answer questions or conduct training, it is now easier via online meetings to find appropriate times for training sessions which suit everyone. Meetings over the Web have all the elements of a live meeting, without the hassle and cost of travel and trying to find a regular schedule that works for everyone. Team members in different parts of the world can simply log in from anywhere which makes their schedule and availability more flexible.
- Multi-Person Training Sessions: Each training session can include multiple people in various locations, worldwide. Without online training you would either have to travel to all the locations or get all those people to travel to you. This feature translates to massive savings not only on travel costs, but on time as well.
- Re-Purposing Content: Trainings can be recorded, so trainees can playback the files, over and over. Content of the trainings can be re-purposed for a variety of uses, depending on the type of information. Imagine using sections from your product training session on company blog posts or elsewhere on your website, or even on your social media marketing campaigns.
- Better Talent Procurement: Hiring people and training them online means you can take on staff, full-time or part-time, from anywhere in the world. This benefit means that you can expand your talent pool, allowing you to find the right person for the job.
- Expansion: Better training and communication tools enable you to expand into distant markets, because you can hire and train people with local know-how from those existing markets at a fraction of the cost of travelling to their countries before you have established the viability of an investment.
Screen sharing and online meeting software can take your business to a new level, as it allows you to hire and train the best staff for the job. By hiring freelancers or remote workers, you are no longer bound by geographical restrictions or workers’ commutes. It is convenient, affordable, ensures you find a professional that best meets your needs, and gets the job done.
Discussion: Online training is becoming increasingly more popular with companies and employees alike, thanks to the benefits above. Do you train your staff online? We’d love to hear about your experiences and results in comments, below.
Please stay tuned for our follow-up article with information on how to train your employees online.