There’s an obvious appeal that comes with a virtual workplace model: Meetings conducted like network news anchors—business from the waist up, sweatpants from the waist down, low overhead, high productivity, and food that no one will steal from the breakroom fridge.
But there’s also the fear of the unknown. After all, the in-person workplace model has been a staple for centuries, and change—especially one standing in such direct contrast to the way it’s always been done—can seem daunting at best, terrifying at worst.
The good news, however, is there’s nothing to fear. The virtual workplace model is here to stay across all industries—including churches. Yes, that’s right. Churches!
The Virtual Workplace Model and Your Church
“But what about our church culture? What about our shared vision? How can our team feel aligned and supported without sharing an office?” Even without a shared space, your employees—in-person and virtual—can still be attached to your vision. You can still build a team that serves your church well.
In fact, church leaders considering virtual expansion can take stock in the fact that many successful companies hire virtual team members. In fact, estimates claim that roughly 2.8 percent of the global workforce work from home at least half of the time. And while this number may seem low at first glance, consider the fact that the number of people who work from home has increased 103 percent since 2005.
Those numbers not only bode well for the long-term sustainability of a virtual workplace, but they also further calcify the claims that maybe—just maybe—it’s more than a trend. It’s a revolution.
So what’s the real cost of a full-time employee vs. a virtual team member?
Costs v. Benefits
If your church is looking to hire a new team member in 2018, it’s easy to overlook costs that aren’t as obvious or as easy to quantify with a full-time employee, like benefits, supplies, training hardware—even the cost to run the AC. It all starts to add up. And quickly.
As an example, let’s look at just one comparison from the Employee Burden Cost.
Your full-time W-2 or in-person employee is compensated at $17 an hour or $35,360 annualized. Great, right? Sure. That is until you factor additional annualized costs, like health insurance, retirement, equipment maintenance, and office space—and much more. And then when you factor an average 24 non-project paid days—think: Vacation days, sick and personal days, training days and more—deducted from the employee’s total productivity hours, your W-2 employee will cost you $55,389 annually—or $30.87 an hour.
Your virtual team member can be compensated in one of two ways: A flat monthly rate with a subscription service like BELAY, or an hourly fee if they use a one-time service like Fiverr. So in keeping with the above example, a virtual team member can be compensated exactly like the W-2 employee at $17 an hour without the 82 percent markup, saving nearly $20,000 per year without sacrificing any of the productivity.
What Can’t Be Quantified
With the right virtual service-providing partner, the benefits from adding a virtual team member far outweigh the costs—both actual and perceived. This free employee burden cost calculator will take you beyond pay to give you a clear understanding of the true financial burden of any employee.
We also understand that to accurately quantify cost, you have to factor in something else that is slightly harder to quantify: Productivity.
If your virtual team members are at home, how can you be sure that they’re actually working? As we discuss in our book, Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore: “ …those virtual employees are[n’t] doing less. They are just not distracted, so they can do more in a shorter amount of time. They’re focused people who get stuff done. They’re results-oriented because they want to get the job done and go back to their life on a day-to-day basis…We don’t just give our employees a list of tasks; we tell them what results are expected of them. Results trump tasks at BELAY.”
The (proverbial) bottom line is this: When you add a virtual team member, you get a greater result at less cost, which means more margin for ministry—and that’s the big (literal) bottom line. Download your free copy of the Employee Burden Cost here to see if your dollars are making the most cents for your church.