Business virtual-office

Published on February 1st, 2013 | by Tod Whipple

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Virtual Offices – Pros and Cons


English: Virtual prototyping Center. Cave or f...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many new businesses are choosing to operate virtual offices instead of carrying out day-to-day business in the traditional office environment. Commuting costs, travel expenses and the desire to have flexible work schedules are all contributing factors to the rise in virtual offices. A virtual office has many advantages, but there are weaknesses to consider for individual business needs. Read on to find out what we consider to be the pros and cons of running your own virtual office.

Pros:

Save money on rent, utility bills and commuting. You will still need a PO Box to direct any mail to, but this address now does not need to accommodate all of your staff, which means space and rent is no longer an issue and you can increase the size of your workforce without the financial worry.

Your staff members are likely to be much happier knowing they can have the flexibility of working from home and without the stress of the daily commute. Happier staff means better productivity.

Be more environmentally friendly, as less paper waste is created along with the fact that the environment is not being damaged by transportation to the office.

Services like Skype and Google Hangouts now allow us to hold video conferences over the internet, and smart phones mean employees can be reachable anytime anywhere via email, text or a phone call.

”I’m snowed in”, “My car won’t start”, “The bus didn’t turn on”… how many times have heard this? With your team working from home, you won’t have to deal with these problems.

Cons:

-    Technology allows us to run a virtual office, it is not fail-safe. What happens if one of the key members of your team are unable to work due to their laptop breaking? Their internet connection going down? Ensure you have enough IT technicians on staff to be able to travel to each staff member who is experiencing technical problems.

-    How do you know your staff are really working at home? Make sure you employ people you can trust, and be prepared to establish a time tracking methods through cloud based software.

-    Lack of direct interaction can mean that certain tasks cannot be carried out in a virtual office. What about team projects? Documents that need signing off by more than one person?

-    Some industries are less suited to virtual offices than others. Think about whether you need your team all in one place in order to carry out simple day-to-day tasks

So, in conclusion, virtual offices definitely can work, just be prepared to spend some time weighing the advantages and disadvantages It all boils down to your business type an cost-benefit analysis.

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur. Founder of Startup Addict. Commercial Real Estate Expert. Technology Ninja. Movie & television producer. Lover of all things Business. He has a Black Belt in "Keep'in it Real". Connect with Tod on LinkedIn or follow him at @todwhipple or @startupaddict.



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