Offices Headed in the Direction of Extinction
People respond differently to the idea of working full time from home. Some find it to be the dream, wishing they could get paid while still in their pajamas and being the head of a major startup company. Others believe it will detract from the professionalism and be increasingly hard to manage. Both parties have a fair point.
It would prove to be much more efficient if you could avoid your hour and a half long commute one way (3 hours a day) and put that time toward completing actual work. That is 15 hours a week that would be saved, almost two full work days. Teleworking obviously provides many advantages to the employee, the main ones being the convenience factors. People who already work from home say they have increased productivity because of their ability to focus without those office distractions. There would also be more flexibility to alter your schedule for the demand of different occasions.
However, with all of the benefits come significant complications. Employees working remotely will not have the constant, nearby support from colleagues and managers. Workers can begin to feel less involved and not as substantial to the team. Also, the lack of a clear distinction between a workplace and a home can wear down employees as they have trouble escaping their jobs. All of the technology that is allowing them to work remotely in the first place creates a constant connection to work that is hard to escape. These virtual offices are so convenient, they become almost too convenient. Some strategies to avoid these negative repercussions include building strong relationships with teleworkers, having strong connections among teleworkers themselves to collaborate on ideas and strategies for remote working, and even creating some kind of reward system to sustain the individual initiative and motivation to complete tasks without a manager nearby.
Despite your stand on whether or not working from a virtual office is a viable option, a recent study shows the number of people working remotely has almost doubles in the past decade. While the number is getting higher, a little over two percent of workers currently take part in the method. A small percentage now, but with the increasing number of people deviating from the traditional practices, and the growing number of startups (especially in Los Angeles, California), the demand for virtual offices will rise. Notably, this vision is held by Cameron Hassid, the founder ABC Virtual Offices. Whether it will eventually completely take over the traditional office, or just become a huge integrated part of how we do business remains to be seen; but it is certainly aiming in that direction.