According to a recent study conducted by Stanford University, about 10 percent of the United States work force reports working from home (or telecommuting) at least one day per week. The study revealed what many business managers were already discovering: that working from home really works. Virtual offices lower operations costs and, surprisingly, can boost productivity.
If you’re a business owner or a cubicle-bound professional, it may be time to cut your desk leash and conduct business on the go.
According to a recent Huffington post article, the share of employers in the U.S. who allow employees to work from home has more than doubled since 2005 to a whopping 63 percent. The reasons behind this shift are telling. In the Stanford University study, a travel company named based in China named CTrip employs 16,000 people and found that over a nine-month period, productivity spiked in the employees who were allowed to work from home. Now, the company officials randomly chose call center employees who had volunteered to participate in the study. As the experiment went on, company officials noticed fewer breaks and sick days as well as more calls per minute. After having this proof, along with increased job satisfaction, CTrip officials rolled out a larger work-from-home group and experienced a 22 percent gain.
While that is truly impressive, what does this mean for smaller businesses? Well, with fewer employees, every upswing in productivity is noticeable. In fact, according to http://www.internetproviders.com, virtual meetings will save your business both time AND money. That’s good news no matter the size of your business.
A move from a conventional office to a virtual office has bottom-line implications. The money your business spends on rent, air conditioning, water services, coffee/tea, maintenance and other overhead expenses can easily be diverted to other business functions. Technology reduces the need for a centralized office. With so many Wi-Fi-ready coffee shops, book stores and libraries, virtual offices can spend the monthly Internet fee on purchases that promote growth. The flexibility gives employees the opportunity to “get close” to their customers as well, going to meet local customers (if that is part of your business structure) or responding with lightning speed to requests from customers further away.
Much of today’s business is moving slowly and steadily to “the cloud.” Essentially, storing data or other information on traditional servers can be costly. In fact, most dedicated servers are run on stand-alone computers. You’ll likely have to have IT professionals in place or on standby, in case something happens which causes those servers to go down. With cloud computing, you’ll not only save money on servers, you’ll also remove the need for an in-house IT department. Instead, remote cloud-computing experts handle this efficient technology.
Modern business guru Seth Godin speaks to the creativity boost that the virtual office brings into the equation. On his blog, he suggests that shows like “The Office” will soon be a “quaint antique” with the boosts in creativity and production along with the massive drop in overhead costs. The home office (or anywhere else the employee chooses to work) is a fresh environment that can help to inspire the innovation and creativity that all businesses strive and long for.
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