Virtual Office Featured Article

Cloud Technology Can Make or Break a Virtual Office

April 10, 2015
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

All offices need certain things to function; a quality Internet connection, certain kinds of hardware, even a note of peace and quiet for concentration. But a virtual office needs all of these and just a little more; perhaps the most important thing to make a virtual office function is cloud-based technology. The proper use of such technology, meanwhile, can make a virtual office into a superstar operation.

Time Etc founder Barnaby Lashbrooke offered up some comment on the value that cloud-based solutions can offer, starting with some of the most basic operations. From cloud-based file storage to Web-based email operations to even instant messaging and conferencing systems, cloud-based operations can take a virtual office and make it just as accessible as one that's located in the next room. So whether it's an issue of gaining access to talent in remote locations, or an issue of post-disaster recovery, cloud-based tools allow the virtual office to not only be located anywhere but also provide high-end work.

What's more, virtual offices can be a productivity booster. Particularly helpful for parents with children, virtual offices can be useful in selecting hours worked, thus allowing people to integrate those necessary aspects of life—like picking up children from school or just making a quick trip to the bank—into a regular day. This frees up the worker from worrying about getting these things taken care of. Also, virtual offices can improve productivity by allowing workers with illnesses to stay out of the office. Not only does it become possible for the person calling in sick to at least get some work done, but it also prevents illness from being spread and reducing productivity that way. A Stanford University study reportedly notes that one in five workers are actually more productive when working remotely.

There are even cost advantages to bringing in cloud technology to run a mobile office. Consider the costs of heating and powering an office; if the employee is working remotely, someone else pays those costs since the employee is generally paying to heat and power the home that usually serves as a remote office anyway. A Deloitte (News - Alert) study noted that between 30 and 40 percent of physical workspaces at a business go unoccupied anyway; so why continue to pay to heat and light those workspaces?

When cloud technology can yield such impressive results—better productivity and reduced costs—it's hard to see why more operations aren't using these technologies. Not so long ago, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer shut down telecommuting, citing a need to improve the culture and get more people under the same roof. Indeed, that can be a loss when more virtual offices are operating, though with the sheer number of videoconferencing options and other such matter, it's not a certainty.

In the end, there are a great many advantages to using cloud technology at work. Cost savings and better productivity lead the pack here, and make plenty of businesses actively consider this valuable new tool. But there are downsides to nearly everything, and so businesses must consider if the gains from cloud technology are worth the losses.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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