The fateful day of September 20, 1994, witnessed about 32,000 AT&T employees not following their mundane routine of leaving for office at sharp 9:00 a.m. Instead, they stayed at home. No, they weren’t sick or on strike. They were telecommuting. Employees ranging from the CEO to phone operators were part of an experiment, that later changed the way the entire business industry works.
But what was the purpose of this experiment? To explore how far a vast organisation like AT&T could go in transforming the workplace by moving the work to the worker, instead of worker to work.
The outcome? Unimaginable!
Today, AT&T is just one among many organisations pioneering the Alternative Workplace or Virtual Offices. These offices are a mix of non-traditional work practices, settings and locations that is beginning to supplement traditional offices. Even proving to be better and more effective.
In the words of Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc. “what was supposed to be a one year test to save some cash turned into a permanent situation as we discovered that productivity increased, turnover increased and our employees were happier overall, after we made the shift to virtual offices” (American Express, 2015).
But, what makes these offices so effective and popular? Well, read on to find out:
Commute Becomes Communication
An employee for mostly all industries, works for an average of 8 hours a day. Added to that, a minimum of 2-3 hours wasted while commuting to and fro. Imagine that time being saved and utilised for something more productive! Time that was previously used to commute to an onsite office can now be used for working on the job itself, which will definitely increase productivity.
Take Your Pick
Do you want to hire an employee from USA while operating in India? Invest in a virtual office in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune or other cities. Sounds unbelievable? Well, that is the power of virtual offices. If your office is located in a physical setting, it would limit you to hiring only those people who are within your vicinity. Imagine, in a large pool of talented people all over the world, all you get is a small dip. Which is why, a virtual office is every recruiters dream, now fulfilled!
Nothing Like Savings
Companies spend a lot of their revenue on providing technology for their employees. And then, the overhead cost of upgrading and maintaining. It just never ends. Which is where the school policy of BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) stepped in. By working in a virtual office, employees have their own technology the way they like, and they can upgrade it whenever they need as well. This way, not only does the company save on costs, but the employees work with a technology they are comfortable as well.
While it is true that a virtual office might not work for every business, but every business must consider this change at least once. Be it a virtual office in Mumbai for a retail business or a virtual office in Delhi for a marketing firm, for success, you need to experiment!