A couple of decades ago, the virtual office inspired mental images of holograms, robots, and other futuristic stuff. Now, the virtual office is here, and there’s nothing to be afraid of.
In fact, the virtual office is more routine than you may think. Telecommunications and the Internet have enabled many more of us to be just as productive at home as we would be from a traditional office. So much of the work that happens in offices takes place via email and phone anyway, that not a great deal is lost by having employees do the same thing from home.
Consider these facts about the growth of virtual offices:
- Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103% since 2005.
- 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.
- The employee population as a whole grew by 1.9% from 2013 to 2014, while employees who telecommuter population grew 5.6%. (Source: globalworkplaceanalytics.com)
There’s a reason why telecommuting and virtual offices are experiencing such tremendous growth. Here are three significant benefits to virtual offices:
- They enhance employee productivity and satisfaction. By cutting out the common distractions of working in an office, telecommuting can actually increase productivity. In one survey, 67% of those who had telecommuted for work felt that working remotely improved their productivity. But working from a virtual office doesn’t just help employees get more done—it also allows them to work their own way, and therefore increases employee well-being (think: no commute and time for power naps).
- They give you unlimited access to talent. Who said that the right people for your company all have to live within an hour of each other? It could very well be that your business would be best served by a designer who lives in Seattle, a developer who is based in Chicago, and a project manager stationed in Paris. In that way, virtual offices help to break down geographic boundaries like never before.
- It saves you money. Whether you run a virtual office yourself, or you’re the client of a company that has a virtual office, you will experience the cost savings. Real offices have rent, utilities, furniture, and hardware expenses. Virtual offices allow companies to operate with many fewer expenses, and these savings are passed on to the customers.
One objection that is often raised about virtual offices is that there is something lost in the lack of personal interaction between employees. However, this really fails to take into account two new developments: the latest generation of collaboration tools, such as Slack, which make bouncing ideas off coworkers faster and easier than ever; and shared workspaces, which enable the employees of virtual companies to meet face-to-face when that type of collaboration is beneficial, without committing to a full-time office space.
With a multitude of benefits and few downsides, virtual offices are sure to keep growing in popularity. Have a question about what it takes to make a virtual office work? Contact Little Jack Marketing today, and we’ll be happy to share our experience.