Telecommuting is particularly good for startups and small companies due to financial constraints. However, the growing trend of virtual offices does bring with it a host of problems. Most of which are social.
It has been argued that the social aspects of a conventional office are actually an inhibitor to productivity, however some key considerations are:
- Social interaction has a massive impact on motivation.
- Interactivity is particularly desirable in creative environments.
- A closer knit team can be fostered in a conventional office than one that rarely meets face to face.
To many, the people they work with influence their overall job satisfaction and has a key influence on everything from job satisfaction to retention.
Employees can work for longer in a home environment, but is this really a good thing? In a virtual office environment, I believe it is important that any employee that telecommutes should have a real vested interested in performing to the best of their ability and that incentive is part of this. However when does it become too much?
In the UK we already work longer hours than our European counterparts which is not good for our well being. Even if employees can get more done, they are less likely to be able to approach work with a fresh mentality if they cannot disconnect themselves from their work. This will have a detrimental effect on the quality of their work and their creative abilities.
Managing a Virtual Office
Management can be more difficult due to a lack of supervision, but this can work both ways. By setting target based work and deadlines a positive outcome can be reached with the right kind of employee.
How to Maximise Efficiency
The most important thing is to be very careful from the selection process onwards with virtual office workers. Not everyone is suited for it but it can work well and reduce overheads in certain circumstances.
Know When to Change
As your business grows, stepping up from a virtual office becomes more desirable for a number of reasons. Having to book meeting rooms when you are dealing with clients more regularly can prove very expensive and far less convenient. Having an office forms part of your overall company image and can say a lot about your ethos. You could expect to reduce the following costs
- Having to meet health and safety regulations at multiple locations.
- Information security (cheaper and easier from a central location).
- Meeting rooms
It will also increase the scope of the kinds of employee that would be suit your team. Telecommuters who work well can of course continue to telecommute.
While telecommuting is great for startups and certain smaller companies, having a central office can be very advantageous and striking a balance between office working and telecommuting can make your business more dynamic.
For further information or advice, do contact us.
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Ian has advised Central London office occupiers for over 20 years - fighting their corner and making sure they get a great office on the best terms. He has a diverse client following, often working with creative companies.