In the current environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on the Virtual Office has never been sharper. With the newly recognized health risks now associated with large groups of people gathered at a physical location, business leaders and policy-makers around the world are rapidly rethinking and retooling the status quo.
The concept of the Virtual Office is not a new one. In 1982, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Markoff wrote in his article for Info World magazine;
“In the future Virtual Office workers will no longer be constrained by computer equipment or geographic location according to this vision. They will be free to travel or to interact with others while communicating information freely. The office as we know it today will cease to have the central importance it does today“
While his words may now seem prescient, it was the advancement of digital and hardware technologies in the decades since that have made his notions a reality. In 2020, the rise of the virtual office has evolved from an escalator climb into a rocket trajectory. Irrespective of the current world health concerns, the rise of the virtual office has been remarkable since 2010 for enabling businesses and their employees to work remotely. Since 2005, the number of individuals working remotely worldwide has increased by 140%.
The positive impact remote work has on employee productivity and the corporate bottom line has already been well documented. The annual ‘Global State of Remote Work Report’ produced by Owl Labs for 2018, reported the following;
- 52% of the global workforce carried out remote work at least 1x per week.
- 56% of global companies allowed remote work.
- 40% of existing companies are hybrid. A hybrid company offers a choice between remote and in-office options to its personnel.
- 62% of US-based employees worked remotely at any frequency.
Today, remote work is supported by an advanced infrastructure of ICT (Information, Communication and Digital
Technology) in most countries. With the unique challenges imposed by this pandemic, companies have become acutely aware of the advantages provided by virtual offices and are now aggressively engaged in transition planning.
Making the Transition
Companies and individuals steeped in the conventional, corporate way of thinking may find the transition to virtual offices more challenging than smaller, more flexible firms and start-ups. Remote work models are most successful when management and employees are fine-tuned to the benefits both sides receive from this dynamic working environment. Priorities to consider when creating and/or implementing options for virtual offices are few, yet significant. Gartner Inc. — the world’s leading research and advisory group to business has developed the ‘NEAR Model‘ for commercial organizations — especially those new to this transition — to review and adopt.
The NEAR Model: (condensed)
Managers should focus on employees’ work product and outputs, versus processes.
Enable New Relationships
Managers should help their employees build social and emotional connections. This ensures individuals feel connected to their colleagues and the organisation. It also helps groups and teams to continue to work together seamlessly.
Accentuate the Positive
Managers should make discussions with remote employees open, evidence-based, and forward-looking. Management should make sure to acknowledge what is going right while sighting specific examples.
Revamp Team Expectations
Remote workers usually form part of one or more teams. It is important for managers to set expectations with both the individual and the team as a group, ensuring effective employee contributions and team collaboration.
Why are Companies making the move to Virtual Offices?
- Human Resources
- Advanced Digital Technologies
- Registered Addresses
1 — Productivity
Studies conducted by Stanford University found that remote workers who are not constrained by a fixed set of office parameters produced: higher quality work product, exhibited lower stress levels, and were more efficient with time management in both their professional and personal capacities.
2 — Profitability
The financial advantages from leasing a Virtual Office when companies factor;
- Reduce/eliminate capital expenditure, associated cost on property, building and leases
- Reduce/eliminate physical office operating, upkeep and maintenance costs
- Reduce/eliminate employee travel and associated costs
3 — Human Resources
The adoption of Virtual Offices provides employers with wider access to the global pool of skilled professionals. These valuable human resources could otherwise be unavailable due to conventional location restrictions. Additionally, Virtual Office Providers often offer a suite of administrative support services including professional reception, communications, message and mail forwarding, among others.
4 — Advanced Digital Technology
The advanced digital technology in the ICT (Information Communication Technology) infrastructure continues to evolve and transform the way individuals and businesses operate.
Collaborative tools now enable the management of remote employees, teams, and divisions through data and work-flow systems that provide comprehensive solutions. Most virtual office providers offer state-of-the-art digital communications and support platforms.
5 — Registered Addresses
One of the key benefits of leasing Virtual Offices is often the provision of a registered corporate address. Most Virtual Office providers locate their facilities in the most prominent business districts of the cities, regions, or countries they operate in. If you are;
- A start-up, small, or medium sized company – this featured benefit will complement your business with a physical space option that enhances the prestige of your brand.
- An established company – seeking to expand your business, a registered address presents you with a commercial presence and freedom to operate remotely in the region of your target markets.
The Rise of Virtual Office Providers
The growing trend in this market has created opportunities for a number of companies that now provide virtual offices. Each of these has built its own service platform and usually offer tailor-made solutions according to client requirements. They have become a fundamental resource in the new global marketplace, excellently positioned to make your transition to a virtual office successful. If you are seeking to;
✓ Establish a permanent commercial presence, or;
✓ Investigate new and emerging markets, or;
✓ Expanding your business interests within the EU, Africa or the Middle East;
Opening a SOHO Virtual Office in Malta should be Your Top Choice!
- Advantageous Geographic Hub within the EU
- Political and Economic Stability
- Attractive Tax Incentives / Business Friendly
- Highly Skilled English Speaking Workforce
- Government Efficiency & Digital Services
You can also read our article 7 Reasons Why Opening A Virtual Office In Malta Should Be Your Top Choice.
- Leading Virtual Office Provider
- 3 Exclusive Virtual Office Membership Plans for flexible business needs and budgets
- Choice of 3 Prestigious Corporate Addresses
- Administrative Support Services
- Professional Reception and Meeting Facilities
- Industry-Leading Digital Technology Platforms & IT Support
- Conference, Podcast & Skype Rooms
- Use of Executive Lounges
And Much More…
2020 will be defined as the Year of Remote Work and remembered for The Rise of the Virtual Office!
Connect with SOHO Office Space on Facebook, email us, or speak with one of our team members on: +356 9933 4333 to book a personal tour and meet the team behind your SOHO Virtual Office experience in person today!