Most businesses consider the office environment to be the conventional way of working. With the rising costs of office space, many businesses are starting to look for other ways of working to reduce costs and the concept of flexible working is gaining popularity. This is facilitated through technology and more progressive management strategies. Virtual offices let employees work remotely from a location they choose such as their home, a café or a park where they can use the internet.
The main reason for choosing a virtual office is price; it’s cheaper to work virtually than renting space in a city. This is often the driving factor for start-ups and small businesses opting for virtual space. This option is no longer frowned upon and is instead considered a lifestyle choice. Employees may prefer this option when they relocate or have children. Some businesses prefer to work virtually initially, changing to a physical space when they break even. Employees can also benefit from virtual working to reduce travel costs.
Some businesses may be geographically spread across many countries. In such cases, a permanent office space does not make sense and a virtual office setup is a perfect solution.
Every business strives to make its employees happy. Allowing employees to work virtually means they get to spend more time with their family. This flexibility makes an employee happier and more productive. They no longer arrive at work after a stressful, train or bus journey. Instead they can simply work while feeling relaxed and happy. A virtual working style is ideal for people who wish to work as consultants or in desk-based roles, or for people who do not wish to relocate. This is a win-win situation for employers and employees. A physical office may be a geographical constraint for a prospective employee but when allowed to work virtually, this allows the business to hire better talent without having to force them to relocate.
Working virtually is also an advantage for people with disabilities who can work from home with all necessary help and support.
Ultimately IT is key to running a virtual office effectively. Employees need good broadband connections, secure computers provided by their employer and a proper desk, and chair. The culture of the firm is also important – a strong work ethic and adoption of practices such as video conferencing is necessary to have a productive virtual office.