The virtual office has the power to transform how a company operates. With improved networking hardware, high-quality webcams and sophisticated software, modern computers and networks can replace many of the functions that a physical office provides. For some businesses, however, the benefits of virtual office capabilities are still less than how much these platforms cost.
Virtual offices are designed to allow employees to connect regardless of where they are located, and the benefits of the paradigm are only useful if it is difficult to keep up with what non-local employees are doing. For small businesses with only a handful of employees, the benefits of running a virtual office may be minimal. In some cases, simple calling or emailing employees who are not present may
be the best option. Virtual meetings, for example, are only minimally effective if employees are almost always on site anyway.
A company that has employees who are almost always present during the workweek will benefit little from virtual offices. Implementing digital communication and tracking software may be worthwhile, but installing the infrastructure and software necessary for virtual meetings may be excessive. A company’s managers should check their records and try to find times when having a virtual office would have helped ease communication to determine how often the virtual office would be utilized.
Virtual offices have the power to connect multiple branches or job sites, and some companies have used the ability to connect remote locations to allow employees to work as a team. For businesses where multiple branches must communicate, this capability can improve efficiency tremendously. Singe-location businesses, on the other hand, may see only a minimal advantage to using virtual office tools and techniques.
Increasingly, employees are spending time working from home. Some workers are spending at least part of their workweek at home while others are working remotely from home while the main office is closed. For these companies, the cost of a virtual office is likely worthwhile. Similarly, if a company wants to follow the trend of having connected workers outside of traditional office hours, the virtual office paradigm provides valuable connectivity.
For a company that is likely to only grow slightly in the near future, the virtual office advantages may be minimal. While all companies could benefit some from the tools provided by virtual offices, some will only see modest improvements to how they work. Growing companies, however, can incorporate virtual office ideals in their day-to-day operations as they grow. Companies that are planning on hiring new employees or workers in remote locations should strongly considering incorporating virtual office ideas into their typical workflows.
The virtual office is clearly a trend that is useful for a number of companies, but the benefits may be minimal for some. While new companies will increasingly use virtual offices in the future, those that already have a profitable, regular workflow may be better off waiting for future developments before changing how they function.