The office. A typical workplace? Not necessarily. With the option to run offices from the comfort of your own home it would make for an easier life, right? Again, not necessarily. A real office over an unreal/virtual office has its fair share of pros and cons. While running a virtual setup also has good and bad points. But which is the best? Let’s put it to the test.
The “Real” Office
We’ve all worked in one. We know what it’s like to get set up at your desk for a long day of inputting numbers and stats. But is the real setup more than just a pile of documents and paper clips? Working in an office with your colleagues helps to promote business cohesion. From the perspective of the employer, everything you have is under one roof. That way, communication is a lot more effective. If you need to speak to a member of staff, you can access them in a second. You have the option to speak to people privately in a meeting room. From the employee’s point of view, it is a question of proximity. The standard working day is a way for people to “get out of the house” and to see people that you wouldn’t normally tend to see. Workplace camaraderie is an often overlooked morale booster. People working together towards a common goal encourages better working relationships and a feeling of being “in it together.”
The drawbacks to real offices are mainly ones about cost. Building space, computer hardware, anti-virus packages. These are all things that need to be factored in when it comes to running a business on site. If the business is small enough, then it can be argued that it is easier to run an operation from home. But will the staff productivity rates dwindle?
The Virtual Office
Running a virtual office, or an office from home is something many people dream of doing. Being able to negotiate business deals while making your child breakfast may be a multitaskers paradise, or it could be a difficult blending to get over. Having a mobile company you can run while on the move has its charms. Cost is a major factor in running a home based business. There is no space to rent out. No systems to maintain, and no IT team to maintain it. Costs can be kept to a bare minimum. But running a business from a home address looks unprofessional to the bigger companies. If you want to do business with them, you need to upgrade your business to look like them. There are websites like The Hoxton Mix website where you can hire virtual office functions, like answering services and a professional mailing address, which helps the company look that much more professional.
Downsides to virtual offices include a lack of separation between work and home life. If you can’t stop thinking about the business. Or you are working from the couch while everyone else around you are trying to watch TV, then creating a difference between the two would help. Maybe work from a cafe once in a while to stave off the dreaded cabin fever.