That was well over ten years ago. Today, managers can hold global staff meetings and significantly cut costs with regard to travel and expense accounts while fulfilling the new trend of being green. Much of corporate America now has people in telecommuting programs, and the number of people involved is continually growing. Information sharing is faster and more convenient than ever before. You never have to leave your home or book a flight out to acquire information or survey a property or even meet clients thanks to teleconferencing where you can see the other person virtually face-to-face.
While there are many advantages to the new virtual office up rise there are challenges as well. Many businesses find one of the biggest hurdles in setting up the virtual office is the responsibility of providing technical support. Whereas, technically proficient employees usually improve their skills while learning on their own, those that dont understand computers can end up costing much more because of support costs.
Interestingly, IT departments are behind the virtual workplace curve: As employees overall are increasingly distributed geographically (more than 90% work someplace other than headquarters), IT departments are increasingly centralized. Telecommuting is actually considerably rarer in IT departments than in the workforce at large, (Johnson, J. , 2009). This may be causing them to miss out on a revolution that the rest of the company may be experiencing. Another hurdle that companies must face is that they must evaluate virtual workers without directly supervising them.
To do this successfully, the employee must be evaluated on the quality, quantity, and timeliness of the work as opposed to the hours involved, so it is imperative that the work be specific and measurable (Roman H. Kepczyk, 1999). The demand for the virtual office is on the rise and will continue to develop and progress as companies realize the significant savings impact it can have on their budget and the increase in productivity it has been shown to have. From the employees perspective it also saves them money by not having to commute and buy lunch, therefore, increasing their retained income.
They are more engaged due to the lack of interruptions by colleagues such as those present in a brick and mortar office setting and typically, employees use less sick leave when working from home. Reduced stress levels and a more productive and balanced lifestyle contribute the employees level of job satisfaction. An employer can save around $5,000 on cubicle and office equipment for just one employee. Telecommuting is the same thing as operating a virtual office. An employee can work from home but still communicate effectively with managers and colleagues.
Employees may create a sort of social working network to compensate for the water cooler action they may miss from having human contact at the office. Judy Duplisea, a regional vice president for the company CheckFree, lives in Canton while other members of her sales and client relationship staff live in Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, and New York. They work out of their houses, connected by computers, fax machines, and conference calls in a virtual office. My group is probably tighter now than any of the groups that I was working with in regular offices, Duplisea said. We go out of our way to stay in contact with each other. You can get real lonely if you dont (Cindy Krischer Goodman, 2010). The advances in technology and business will increase the rate of global expansion of companies in general. Not having to budget money for international travel or physically exhaust employees with the act of actually traveling but being able to conduct business effectively in over seas markets is a huge benefit to any companys the bottom line.
While business relationships should still incorporate some kind of human one-on-one contact with their clients and colleagues, businesses can communicate more effectively and more often, globally and domestically, with the increasing technological advances available to them. Clients, colleagues, suppliers and the like, are more than just a telephone call away, they are a teleconference, an email, and quite recently as demonstrated in the last presidential campaign on CNN, a hologram away.