The Evolution of the Virtual Office
We’re living in times that, to some of us whose generation saw the pre and post Internet era, are akin to some old sci-fi flicks. At least when it comes to communications, we are. The Jetsons experienced video conferencing long before us in the three dimensional world were actually able to use it. Now, businesses conduct a lot of their operations through virtual offices, a practice that is not uncommon.
Businesses were often wired with traditional systems that used a switchboard operator who manually routed calls to various and sundry extensions. Stuart Zipper reminisced over at Phone.com’s blog about Lilly Tomlin’s role as Ernestine, an operator created during her tenure on the hit show Laugh-In back in the 1960s. While telephone operators have become a contemporary anachronism, their jobs are now being handled by what we now know as the virtual PBX.
The virtual PBX is the hub of any virtual office. Aside from the obvious benefit of time gained due to the elimination of commuting, the virtual office creates flexibility and reductions in cost.
Technologically speaking, we’ve seen a lot and yet we have so far to go. By the late 1990s, businesses were jumping on the VoIP bandwagon and were creating devices which enabled PC-to-phone and phone-to-phone communication. VoIP was becoming a big thing. It eventually led to being able to work with others without having to ever be in their presence physically.
The virtual office allows for workers, who may be scattered across the United States or even the world, communicate with each other and with customers and suppliers through technologies, all thanks to the virtual PBX.
By offering a virtual office option, organizations can support real-time collaboration between dispersed co-workers and keep in close touch with customers and partners.
In the “old days,” a virtual office was not only an option, but a reliable connection was sketchy at best. As Zipper points out, because routing is flexible, the connection in a virtual office setting by way of VoIP, its architecture provides a more reliable means of communication that is a “more resilient service at far lower costs than traditional phone service.”
While we won’t ever hear “one ringy dingy” from beloved Ernestine, virtual office technologies bring with them cohesion, unity, and money saving benefits.