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More and more businesses are going fully remote — and thriving because of it. Distributed or virtual companies have found ways to overcome challenges associated with remote team members, and virtual business is reshaping traditional benefits and perks at the same time.
Travelcheck is a proudly South African online travel agency that offers innovative international technology to simplify the travel planning and booking process. They mastered the concept of a virtual business before COVID-19 affected the country. Go Hustle spoke to the Head of Marketing at Travelcheck, Danica Helfrich, about the benefits of running a virtual business.
1/ Reductions in overhead costs
Going virtual reduces your overhead costs. Think: office space rental, office furniture, telephone equipment… basically anything you need in a physical office. “Of course, there might be additional costs rolled over to the employee, like internet costs, but SARS allows employees to deduct their home office expenses in their tax returns,” says Helfrich.
“Travelcheck rented office space in a shared office space, but our lease agreement came to an end just before the COVID-19 crisis hit us hard and we didn’t renew the lease agreement. So, now we have a fully virtual team, whereas before we were only partially virtual,” adds Helfrich.
2/ Employee satisfaction
“We’ve experienced higher work satisfaction amongst our employees who are mostly virtual. Their work-life balance is usually a lot higher. And working ‘virtual’ doesn’t necessarily mean working from your house or one set location. Home can be wherever you want it to be,” she says.
Helfrich makes an example of herself as a German with her whole family in Germany. “Pre-COVID-19, my plan was to spend this South African winter in Germany and work from there. This would allow me the chance to be with my family and skip the South African winter. Germany would’ve been my work base for two months,” she says. The point is, you can work from anywhere in the world!
3/ Employee productivity
Working from home also means less time on the road (traffic to/from the office). “The same goes for meetings – it’s quicker to join a virtual meeting than having to drive to one,” says Helfrich.
4/ Access to new markets
As a fully virtual company, Travelcheck’s product offering is not bound to any market. “You can basically book flights on our website from anywhere to everywhere. We have customers from all over the world. People are booking their flights from Europe to Asia on our platform,” she says. Although the company is proudly South African, they’re not restricted to the South African market. “Even our price display changes to our point of origin when booking on us. The same goes for a supplier’s point of view. Our supplier base is worldwide. There is no limit,” she adds.
5/ It’s easier to support other virtual businesses
If your business is virtual, the mindset is already in a virtual world, and with that comes the support of other virtual business on a vertical level. “There are some great virtual service providers out there that you would traditionally incorporate into your own business. A great example is HR Solutions,” she says. Travelcheck doesn’t have an HR department in-house; instead, they outsource to a virtual HR service supplier. “This way we’re supporting other businesses in other industries too,” she concludes.