The virtual office is a concept that is becoming more and more popular with smaller firms. In this model you essentially have no day to day office. This leaves you free to move around to your clients or work from anywhere.
The internet and the technology that we have has started to eliminate the need to have a physical office. Client meetings can be done much quicker with video conferences and internet phones do not require you have a stationary landline.
If you have already done away with paper and have implements cloud solutions, then you are ready for telecommuting, at least from a technical standpoint.
Unfortunately those are the easy things to take care of. The hard part is creating a corporate culture that enables strong relationships between staff. It also requires management to learn to trust staff that they can’t constantly monitor.
Management needs to trust that their staff will continue to meet expectations and finish their work on time.
Generally speaking, employees appreciate the freedom and trust and actually work harder to exceed expectations to carry on working remotely.
Not everyone is cut out to work from home. There are a lot of distractions and keeping focused on work can be difficult. It takes a unique person to ignore the distractions and focus on work.
For me personally when I started telecommuting it was difficult. I was working from my dining room table and distractions were everywhere. I decided to build an office that would be strictly for work. I can close the door and leave the distractions behind. This also enabled me to separate work from leisure and give me the sense that I was at the office.
It is highly recommended to give a trial period to any staff that you are allowing to telecommute.
Monitor their productivity and within a month or two you will know who is capable. For those that improvements or the same, encourage telecommuting. For those whose productivity waivered, it is probably best to bring them back into the office.
The benefits to your company entirely depend on your level of dedication. Some offices have been able to drastically cut down the size of their offices. Some go as far as only assigning partners and administrative staff desks, while the rest of the staff book desks on a need to use basis.
The space saved can be sold or subletted, thus generating revenue. There are other savings such as electricity, water, etc. But the best benefit in
my opinion, is the increase in staff morale.
Away with the angry employee showing up to work late because of an accident on the way to work. Away with worker daydreaming about the weekend where they get to see their family. Staff are happier and more productive with a flexible work arrangement.