Business Phone Systems Featured Article
The Ultimate Goal of the Virtual Workplace
The arrival of new information technologies open up a whole new world of opportunities for organizations on the verge of dynamic breakthroughs. They help to break down barriers, align disparate processes and keep collaboration available for participants throughout the world. For those companies supporting the global workforce, new technologies are also helping to create and support the virtual workplace.
The virtual workplace is really any place the individual user can set up a computer and a phone, and connect to the Internet. With the use of a smartphone, one of the connections is no longer needed to ensure productivity. The individual can make calls, check email, complete transactions and close deals without ever moving away from this workspace. It eliminates the need of the four-walled normalcy of today’s office and opens up new opportunities.
For the organization, individual or small business, the virtual workplace also opens up a wide range of opportunities. Let’s take a look at the benefits associated with this modern workspace.
Broadens the Employee Pool
Traditionally speaking, companies were limited to their own geographic areas when they wanted to build the employee base. While this didn’t pose a problem necessarily in heavily populated areas, it could limit access to talent in smaller cities or towns. The virtual workplace eliminates the geographic barriers that once kept people and companies apart, or required a move on the part of the qualified candidate. Employees can now have a greater say in where they live, leveraging technologies that allow them to more easily do their jobs from anywhere in the world.
In the call center industry, this is a significant advantage. Many companies outsource talent overseas simply because they were offered a broader pool at a lower rate. When the call center can find the necessary talent able to work odd hours and from home, they eliminate much of the overhead costs that impede customer service initiatives, while keeping jobs in the U.S. Organizations do have to adopt strategies and technologies that can support the remote employee, but they are readily available.
Supports Productive Travel
While many of the technology advances available today, including video conferencing, are meant to help eliminate unnecessary travel, the reality is that travel is still sometimes necessary. If a customer is located halfway around the world, a face-to-face visit can help strengthen the relationship and reinforce loyalty. The professional on the road can set up a virtual workplace in a hotel or nearby coffee shop and still complete the tasks necessary to keep processes moving forward.
Working with professionals outside of the organization is a common initiative for organizations throughout the world. In the past, this also meant paying for the time and cost of travel for all consultants brought in on a project. With a virtual workplace, not only can consultants work with organizations across the miles, they can also leverage shared documents and workspaces where projects can easily stay on task regardless of anyone’s location. Budgets for large projects are easier to manage and access to experts needed to complete the project can widen.
The Work/Life Balance
Skilled professionals come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not uncommon for the next qualified individual to run your accounting department to also be home with six-month-old twins. These professionals don’t want to give up optimal time with their kids, but they also want a career. By enabling them to set up a virtual workspace, they can eliminate the commute to work, pace their hours according to the kids’ sleep schedules and maintain the healthy balance they need. It’s about having it all, and the same can apply to the dad who simply wants to be able to coach his son’s basketball team at 4:00 in the afternoon. The virtual workplace eliminates the confines of the 9-5 job for greater success.
While some professionals thrive from being in the office, others may want to have alternatives. If the office is located 30 miles away from the customer base, the sales professional may be more productive by working from home. Likewise, if bad weather or other limits keep someone from the office, the virtual workplace allows them to telecommute at any time, achieving the same goals whether they are in the corporate or the home office.
The virtual workplace can also serve as the perfect platform for the individual wanting to start his or her own business. To get started, however, all of these individuals need to have access to the right phone system. The system needs to be available via the cloud, robust in features and easily integrated with network processes and applications. As a complete tool, it allows the virtual professional access to what he needs to be effective regardless of location. It is the ultimate goal of the virtual workplace.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey