6 Reasons Why Organizations Can and Should Convert to a Completely Virtual Office
Think it’s impossible to eliminate all your physical assets (offices, hardware, supplies) and migrate all your business-critical processes and data to a web-hosted solution or platform? Think that by permitting all your employees to work from home they will become less collaborative, less productive, and less manageable? Hosted on a private cloud by IronOrbit, a virtual office can supplant and improve upon a “real” office. Here are six reasons why that’s possible:
Cloud computing. Cloud computing lets a decentralized workforce share a centralized company-only network. Older web-based technologies would only allow geographically-separated workers to exchange data and access applications in environments separate from the internal company network. The cloud, on the other hand, relocates the entire internal company network to web-accessible servers. It’s a true 100% online business IT infrastructure. With the cloud, documents are always consistent, applications are always available, and users are always connected.
More and more workers are temporary. The number of non-permanent employees has been ramped up in recent years. Currently, contract workers comprise about a third of the total US workforce. Also, the number of part-time workers has been expanding at double the rate of full-time workers. Reasons for the increase include smaller payroll budgets as a result of the Great Recession; the popularity of a business model that emphasizes temporary projects over standardized business operations; and the ever-better quality, availability, and ease-of-use of online collaboration tools and platforms. Regardless of the causes, temporary workers integrate better with online work environments and virtual offices. In this arrangement, a business owner can hire employees based on skill instead of location and does not have to purchase or rent any office equipment.
More and more workers can complete their work remotely. For certain professions, working off-site will likely never be feasible—factory workers, miners, and physicians, for example. But there are whole departments in the average organization that can be operate remotely or from home, including the sales, marketing, accounting, management, and customer service departments. Many of the jobs identified by CNNMoney.com as the “fastest growing” can be performed from home, especially IT positions like network systems analysts, computer software engineers, network administrators, and database administrators.
Mobile devices. Mobile devices are popular, powerful, and cheaper and more adapted for web-based tasks than stationary computing alternatives. Since many employees and potential employees already own a smartphone or tablet, employers will not have to worry too much about the costs or hassles of procuring devices. And even if companies need to purchase hardware for their employees, these devices still cost less than desktops. In the end, a 100% online office combined with mobile devices lowers hardware and office-related costs and increases network access.
Ever-rising costs of maintaining office space and a full-time staff. The cost of physical workspace for each employee amounts to $10,000 per year. Healthcare premiums rose 3% and 9% respectively over the last two years. These and other expenses transform owning and maintaining an office with on-site, full-time employees into a losing proposition. A 100% online office eliminates office space expenses and makes hiring and integrating temporary employees easier.
Remote workers are happier, healthier, and more productive. Remote workers are 10-35% more productive than on-site workers. They also pay for their own office supplies, computer hardware, and electricity. Letting employees work from home increases retention and results in a happier and healthier staff. A 100% online office also makes it easier to hire talented people that find it difficult or impossible to commute to a physical office, such as the disabled, people living in rural areas, and primary caregivers of children and the elderly.
Inevitably, a virtual office requires a virtual IT department like IronOrbit to design, build, and manage its networks. For 15 years we have been helping companies achieve greater efficiency, mobility, and flexibility with our hosted solutions. Today’s competitive marketplace requires organizations to be both decentralized (in order to better serve a broad customer base and incorporate a nationwide workforce) and centralized (in order to protect customers’ data and maintain organizational consistency). Let IronOrbit construct a virtual office for you to match your specific needs and requirements.