Skype, WhatsApp, email, social media – with so many ways to connect and collaborate, is it even necessary to physically go in to work anymore? Wouldn’t it just be easier and more cost-effective to work from home, and interact online instead? An increasing number of employers are saying yes – which is why the concept of the virtual office is now a thing. But is it a good thing?
It saves money
Whether you’re self-employed or employ others, it’s obvious that a virtual office setup comes with many savings. There’s no office space to rent, no facilities to maintain, no resources to purchase or look after.
It saves time
Rush hour. The bane of everyone’s existence, now a thing of the past. If you’re working from home, there’s no need to travel and there’s no reason for not starting work on time either, which means more productivity (and more cost savings, too).
It creates a positive work ethic
Many of the arguments against virtual offices cite low productivity as a factor – that you, or any people you employ, will take advantage of the lack of supervision and become lax on the productivity front. Funnily enough, in many cases the opposite is true: that when people are given extra responsibility, treated as adults, and shown that they are trusted, they rise to the occasion, excelling in their roles and maximising, rather than minimising their output.
It’s less stressful
No worrying about when to fit in important errands and appointments, no excuses about unhealthy food or lack of time to exercise, and no chaotic office environment to constantly worry you. You’ll have flexible hours, a calmer working day, and a more balanced life as a result.
But are there any disadvantages to working in a virtual office?
Yes. If you need somewhere to meet with current or prospective clients, you’ll have to hire a space for the appointed time. You won’t have any direct contact with employees or colleagues, which could lead to you feeling distanced from latest industry trends and unable to closely guide the career paths of any team members you may have. What’s more, virtual offices are always at risk of miscommunication, which could have damaging effects down the line. On the whole, however, the virtual work environment does seem to be the next step within the digital business age. The question is, do you feel it’s the most beneficial one for you?
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