As more businesses move toward flexible work hours, cloud computing and working remotely, virtual work offices are becoming more and more popular. The first commercial application of a virtual office happened in 1994 and their catching on with more companies in today’s technologically-driven work place. In a study of more than 1,000 professionals, 65 percent said they allow employees to work remotely.
The immediate advantages of a virtual workplace are obvious:
- No commute time
- Lower overhead costs
- Being able to work remotely
- Lower turnover rate
Taking a more in-depth look at each of those advantages, the reasons for virtual offices become clearer:
- No commute: Fourteen percent of Americans have changed jobs to shorten the commute. The last thing people want to do five days a week is travel down a busy freeway for a half an hour or longer to get to their job. Being able to work remotely takes all the stress and anger out of having to make a long commute.
- More Activity: Eighty percent of employees view the option to work remotely as a job perk. If people aren’t hampered by a commute and the stress of working in a traditional office, they’re likely to be more active. Without being a chained to a desk all day, every day, employees should respond positively to the freedom of a virtual office.
- Less overhead: With no office space to lease, no utilities to pay for and none of the other costs that come with renting an office space such as office supplies, there’s less overhead to worry about. With all the money companies are saving, they can pass those savings onto customers or their employees. Nearly six out of 10 employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to telecommuting.
- Saving on Tech: Equipping yourself with a laptop or a tablet has long been a standard practice for scores of college students, but it’s applicable in the business world too. With a virtual office, employees can work with technology their familiar with and can upgrade it when they need to. With no company-provided tech to worry about, companies don’t have to worry about cyber security concerns and employees don’t have to constantly toggle between operating systems or other technology between their home and workplace.
- Better workers: Rather than worrying about when people arrive and leave an office, having a virtual office means that companies can spend more time working on specific goals. That should lead to an increase in productivity. According to a new study, the top 10 industries most likely to use virtual offices are: financial, legal, consulting, technology, real estate/brokers, healthcare, marketing and advertising, entertainment, retail and construction.
As beneficial as a virtual office can be, there are also a few disadvantages to using this model:
- Space: In some cases, a physical office space is needed to store technology, files and perhaps even company samples. If employees need access to those sorts of things, a virtual office won’t be able to provide them those things, especially if they’re using cloud computing and they need physical items to give to customers.
- Growth: A shared office space like a coop office space can help build a business, but there may come a time when a company needs more space than what it has with a virtual office.
Another option for office setups is a coop office space. A coop office space promotes networking, efficiency and professional and personal growth. Another advantage of a coop office space is increased productivity. Employees are less likely to be distracted and will be more productive when they’re surrounded by co-workers who are as committed and as enthusiastic as they are.
Another benefit of a coop office space is increased creativity. When employees are working together on a common goal, they are more likely to contribute ideas and in doing so they can get a good deal of constructive feedback. Co-working allows employees to grow because they are collaborating with other employees who are providing feedback and new perspectives.
Another obvious benefit of a coop office space is a sense of community. Rather than being stuck in a cubicle, employees get a healthy dose of interaction every day and are happier and healthier.