What is the future in the ‘virtual office’?
- As we move towards a more agile workplace, it’s clear that there are enormous opportunities for the business to appeal to mobile workers.
- It is likely that fewer businesses will seek a traditional office from which to base their operations.
- By permitting offsite work, the businesses then get to access even more overhead savings, like lower real estate, equipment, and supply expenses
This year we have witnessed the most rapid evolution in the workplace, impacting businesses globally. Employees, independent professionals, small businesses, and start-ups are demanding an increasingly mobile and more flexible workplace, and it seems that this approach is defining the look and feel of the future office.
Many reckon that the ‘office of the future’ will be an agile environment centered on flexibility, mobility, and remote working given that remote work was a critical enabler of business and economic continuity during the lockdown and it’s been proven to be possible.
Some may argue that as a business owner running a company from home, one might be missing out on some of the advantages of having a physical office. But with a virtual office, employers and employees can still access these benefits and personalize usage based on the company’s needs.
To put it briefly, a virtual office (VO) offers an efficient and cost-effective solution to businesses that want to access the conveniences of a professional environment without actually having a physical office. These offices ultimately give remote teams the best of both worlds — for an affordable price, businesses can utilize their VO provider’s amenities without being tied to a conventional lease.
Given businesses are shifting to remote working – some for the long-haul – a number of collaboration tools are also emerging.
The convenience of virtual offices
If there is one thing that we have learned in the months of remote working, is that we can accomplish most tasks remotely without a significant drop in productivity or quality. Most employees appreciate flexibility, especially those with long commute times. Undeniably, face-to-face interaction is required to facilitate collaboration, build relationships, solve complex challenges, and generate ideas.
It is also inevitable that continuous remote work extends the workday, diffuses work-life boundaries, and reduces mental wellbeing. Hence, enterprises adopting this new way of working – “virtual-first” – have these characteristics: One, the workplace is distributed across the home, office, and satellite offices. Employees can choose to work remotely or face-to-face based on their nature of work and teams’ preferences.
Two, the teams are virtually ready and three, the technology enables multiple modes of working. Data is saved on the cloud; access and security are tailored for different working modes, and applications allow seamless virtual collaborations.
Another main and significant advantage of a virtual office is that they are much more cost-effective than a traditional physical office. You pay for a prestigious business address without paying the large rents that come with it which in turn, enables you to keep business expenses low as you reduce costs of commuting and transportation, office equipment, office maintenance, and utilities, the cost of a full-time receptionist, relocation costs, work attire, and all other associated costs of a brick and mortar space.
The most commonly used VO services include phone-answering and reception, mail forwarding, and meeting room scheduling. It can be massively beneficial to have access to these types of services no matter the size of a business is. Instead of hiring another full-time team member or creating an administrative department, virtual offices take all of the menial office tasks off of your plate, allowing you to focus on what’s important.
Another added advantage is when working from anywhere, a company is not restricted to only hiring talent in the area where their office is. A virtual office allows employers to hire the best talent regardless of where they are located. Larger hiring can be done without needing to relocate to bigger premises.
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