The Rise of the Virtual Office

by Louie Beaupre
8/18/2014 10:48:25 AM

Why Small Businesses are Increasingly Utilizing Virtual Offices

Recent surveys have shown that over 60% of large companies are now letting their employees work from home. The reasons for this vary from cheaper overhead to more productive employees. Plus, the number of face-to-face meetings has significantly fallen over the years in favor of technology. These technological advances have also made it possible for people to work remotely and at varying hours.

Small businesses have benefited from the rise of the virtual assistant, especially from the cost savings aspect.

What’s Behind the Virtual Trend

According to Venture Beat, nearly 70 percent of workers feel more productive and liberated when they work from home. Only a very small percentage of workers enjoy working from an office on a full-time basis. Part of the reason for the virtual office trend has to do with a generational switch: Gen X and Gen Y workers like the freedom of being able to work remotely.

Technology like video conferencing, IMing and social media has made it easier to stay connected with the office, managers and colleagues. Even people that work in the same office may still resort to video conferencing as opposed to face-to-face meetings because it’s so convenient.

There are even a number of environmental benefits to working remotely. Companies no longer need to print out documents and deliver them to desk inboxes. Instead, there’s email, Dropbox and a myriad of other options for sharing documents. Not having to drive to work not only eliminates the headache of the commute – and the lost work time associated with it – it also saves gas. According to TelCoa, “if 32 million Americans who could work from home did so at least one day a week, 74 million gallons of gas could be saved -- enough go around the globe 51,000 times”.

Why Virtual Offices

While working remotely full-time benefits employees and businesses alike, offices are still needed for certain tasks, including those necessary face-to-face meetings and presentations. A virtual office essentially creates a bridge between the full-time remote worker and these in-house necessities.

Virtual offices are customizable, allowing businesses to pay for only what they need. They don’t require a long-term lease or even a full-time staff to run them. Businesses can also take advantage of shared office space, splitting the cost amongst two or multiple businesses.

A big benefit for smaller businesses is that they provide a physical location and address for the company that can be used for meeting clients and adding to marketing materials. Most of these virtual office spaces also have meeting and conference rooms that can be rented on an hourly or weekly basis.

The Future of Office Space?

Traditional office spaces are probably not going away for good. Most larger organizations still see vast benefits from these spaces and having people work in-house. Still, non-traditional and virtual office spaces are likely to continue growing as more and more people strive for a better work-life balance, and businesses see the resource and capital benefits of remote workers. 

Tell us about your own virtual office experiences in the comments!

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