Investopedia defines Virtual Office as “ a business location that exists only in cyberspace.” In this age and day of expanding Globalization, the concept of Virtual Office comes across as a logical and realistic opportunity. Incomparable advancements in technology and infrastructure have made it conceivable for businesses to adopt a virtual work environment in their professional lives.
The innovative concept of Virtual Office garners predominantly negative light in spite of its many advantages. The best instance of such is Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer’s invalidation of their employees’ work-from-home benefits. The underlying crunch is the basic ideology behind the concept of office.
The culprit: Traditional Vs. Unconventional
In the conventional sense, an office is a physical space where the organization’s employees meet and function together. Two things that make a traditional office what it is, are – organizational hierarchy and social interaction. Any other options for an office which does not fit this description is hard to come across as completely legitimate.
Virtual Offices are more time and cost effective in comparison to traditional offices. As per the definition, virtual offices function over the internet, thereby saving companies investment of time and money in setting up a traditional office.
Modification and Development of Attitudes
For the concept of Virtual Office to be successful, it is important that everyone, right from the management to the employees, accept it ingenuously. Harboring gratifying social interactions is essential, and can be achieved through a sound framework of IT infrastructure as well. A Virtual Office is a replica of the physical office, with more convenience.
It would be wrong to say that managing a Virtual Office is a piece of cake. There are certain major issues that need to be addressed and tackled to sustain a Virtual Office efficiently:
Application of a Befitting Software
Since the concept of Virtual Office is working digitally on a global platform, an environment quite similar to a physical office should be created with the aid of sophisticated technology. A good mix of cloud-based applications including voice recognition software, basic tools like Skype, Google Voice, Google Hangout, Outlook, Basecamp, Dropbox, etc. should be incorporated. Selection of similar software and software-as-a-service (Saas) Systems will make room for higher efficiency and performance.
Complimenting Sophisticated Software with Compatible Hardware
Given the increase in smart devices, accessing and operating internet technology has never been more convenient. Anyone can connect with anyone from anywhere, home or office! Many companies that have gone wrong with their Virtual Office ambitions have one mistake in common- overlooking the obvious! The trick is to start with the basics. Companies should start with providing the employees access to plentiful smarter devices ( laptops, smartphones, tablets/phablets etc.), faster network connections, and online collaboration mechanisms.
Guarantee of Privacy and Security
The likely possibility of a breach in professional and personal security is considerable, given the common operation platform across a diverse remote group. Implementation of stringent IT solutions is necessary to ensure the safety of the business and personal data. Safeguarding online business data is a key challenge in Virtual Office scenario. Companies should adopt technologies like eLocks to safeguard their business’s privacy and safety.
Quite contrary to the popular notion of Virtual Offices being comparatively less productive and inflexible in nature, a Virtual Office could turn out to be an even better workspace than the traditional setting. What needs to be done is – an all-around modification in attitudes and a potent IT framework.