Virtual offices are getting famous in a world that cheers productivity and efficiency. This option offers almost limitless possibilities to companies that are able to effectively balance the pros and cons.
When we speak of virtual workplaces, it refers to people working together in a mobile or remote environment for one common goal, using advanced communication facilities and sound strategies to deliver the expected outputs at any time or at any part of the globe.
There are various reasons why there is a need for businesses to consider putting up a virtual office, but to be most effective, Wayne F. Cascio, author of “Managing a virtual workplace” pointed out two things that managers must do: (1) Shift from a focus on time to a focus on results; and (2) recognize that virtual workplaces, instead of needing fewer managers, require better supervisory skills among existing managers.
So how can firms maximize the benefits while minimizing the losses of these alternative work arrangements? Here’s what the study “Two Cheers for the Virtual Office” by Thomas H. Davenport and Keri Pearlson suggested:
Flexibility in reducing operational cost
The leading driver of virtual office adoption, they said, is cost reduction. Companies do not typically adopt to improve organizational functioning but to reduce real estate, recruiting, and training costs.
Telecommuting on the other hand is the most common arrangement among firms because of the flexibility and potential increase in productivity. However, no office space is freed up, cost savings are few; and because the virtual work is only occasional, there is little need for new management approaches. In short, it is a low-risk, low-reward option.
Increased presence and interaction with customers
In a pilot program, Consolidate Edison, a New York utility firm found that its home workers achieved double than in-office productivity in handling customers’ calls.
Companies, nowadays, have also managed to institute new information flows to virtual workers, and groupware tools that assist teams with a full range of tasks from meeting, time coordination to idea sharing.
Effective management goes beyond providing remote workers with powerful computers, extra phone lines, and a comfortable chair. Successful virtual offices require radical new approaches to evaluating, educating, and organizing workers.
Managers must decide when, where, and for whom it is appropriate. Any company can move to this direction provided it complements the company objective and needs.
Other firms adapted to a virtual working environment because of reengineering processes and redesigning the management processes. For example, having sales people make a commitment to a product configuration, a price, and a delivery schedules while sitting in the customer’s office. It can also be a strategy to keep valued employees or individuals that are highly desired due to their training and experience.
Work and Life Balance
A virtual set up can save everyone from constant meetings and mundane matters. They’ll come together when it’s important to keep the work flow going, but ultimately, everyone works their own schedule and the potential for greater time management is there. Virtual office workers that get this perk can achieve greater work-life balance, resulting to more enthusiasm and cheer in the job.
A virtual office comes in many forms and uses, it’s also an ideal jump-off for starters or a scale up for established companies. These companies can use an executive office option to have the benefits and services of a professional office, and yet still have the lower expenses of working from home or on the road.