Technology changes everything. From the quill to the pen to the keyboard – it’s a familiar story of development and evolution. Just like human evolution, business survival is contingent on adaptability. This is why we see transformations in how the business world works.
Business evolution has been aided by the internet. This was initially in the form of communication, but nowadays far more advanced business processes can be carried out online. Writing for The Memo in December 2015 columnist Oliver Smith commented on the impact of technology on business. He said “The world of business has been transformed by technology, with our increasingly mobile lives turning traditional desk and office business practices upside down”.
Here we will take a look at how virtual offices have transformed business and how they could transform it further. This is so that when you choose a virtual office package, you are aware of why the impact on business has been so great – and what it might impact in future.
How did we get here?
The earliest idea of a ‘virtual’ office came about when getting your calls or emails at home became commonplace for small businesses. The communication services could not eliminate the need for a dedicated office space completely – but the addition of address services and mail forwarding means that the office spaces can now be eliminated, without eliminating the functions they provide a business.
The virtual office has evolved and can now handle a great range of office activities including phone calls and meeting room space use. Some newer additions to virtual offices include casual workspaces where it’s possible to ‘drop in’ and work as required. Such additions are proving extremely popular.
It’s an innovative way to provide the perks of an office that were previously difficult to offer in a virtual office. Major business figures, including Marissa Mayer who banned remote working at Yahoo!, think that there is no alternative to those chance meetings and chats in an office. However casual workspaces are proving that this need can be fulfilled within a virtual office setting too. Our own hot desks are coming soon.
There are some interesting possibilities for the future of virtual offices. A study commissioned by Citrix, an American multinational software company, illustrated some likely developments.
These answers come from a poll of 1,900 senior IT innovators from over 19 countries. They include the following:
- 89% of companies will offer mobile workstyles by 2020 – Whilst startups and home-based businesses embrace virtual offices, established companies have been slower to do so. However, this is likely to change as the adoption curve continues.
- BYOD (bring your own device) will increase – If you work in a virtual office you will be able to use your own device, yet your employer may request you use a ‘work’ device. However with increased virtualisation of applications you can simply login on another device. Applications, data and services are all accessible via a browser these days.
- Organisations will support multiple platforms – Whether it’s iOS or Android, or something completely new, the accessibility across platforms will be key to driving the virtual office and mobile workspace revolution.
Whilst we don’t know what will happen for certain, the study was carried out by independent technology market researchers Vanson Bourne. They are highly regarded and their track record suggests there is great likelihood the above developments will happen.
Now that we know how we got here, and maybe where we’re going, it’s probably easier to see how the virtual office concept fits into the business landscape. The limitations of a physical office have become less important. You used to have to be physically present to access the systems of business – but now you don’t.
That’s what’s crucial to the success of the virtual office, technology has meant the systems of business are more accessible. So when you choose your virtual office package remember that what you’re buying is in fact access to business systems and an ability to do effective business remotely.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more.
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