Virtual Office and Virtual Team – The Pros and Concerns
A company without a fixed office or working location or has no plan to set up a fixed workplace can always use a virtual office.
The virtual office conceptfunctions as a unit to provide services and sometimes physical hardware to small business owners. The services that are required include wifi/internet connection, mail/document exchange, video conferencing for meetings,and more.
The one big advantage to use a virtual office is that the small business owner can get a registered address which is required for example when he/she sets up a company in Hong Kong while the owner does not physically reside in HK.
Pros to the company owner
A virtual office usually does not incur the costs of leasing or buying a building, maintaining it,and providing office furniture.
When using a virtual office, it would probably mean the employee headcount would be kept relatively low. Also, the expenses from the employees would be lower. Insurance and taxes that are incurred by hiring employees for long term would be reduced, as many such owners would prefer hiring freelancers, or independent contractors on per project basis.
Pros to employees
The employees can always choose to work from home or in different cities and countries, as long as they have internet connection and communication tools such as emails, Skype, etc.
Some people working under such environment become actually more productive because they would have avoided the hassle of commuting every day.
Supervisors for such employees are not presented at the location of work and it means the employees are highly likely to be judged on the completion of work and the quality of workthat they can produce rather than how they produce the end product. This style of free flow working environment may be suitable for people nowadays, and because of this they tend to be more productive.
Employers need to consider the lack of social interactivity or face-to-face communication which may contribute towards other issues.
In complicated projects that involve many project members, many non-verbal messages can be missed in emails, phone conversations and video conferences, because each person may interpret the same message with different meanings. This causes miscommunication among team members and delay of projects.
It may be difficult to coordinate meetings with a big team. Members of the same project may be scattered across different countries and across several time zones. Think about the best hours to schedule a meeting for 3 coworkers residing in Australian, the USA, and Germany.