What are the advantages and disadvantages?
While the advantages of working from a home/virtual office may seem obvious to you -- more freedom, more flexibility, the opportunity to be at home with your kids -- there are probably even more benefits that you haven't thought of. Here are a few.
- Environmental benefits from not driving a motor vehicle in slow-moving traffic and polluting the air
- Reduction in traffic congestion
- Reduction in stress levels from not having to drive in congested traffic to and from work
- Time saved not commuting to an office
- Monetary benefits from savings in gas, wear and tear on your car, business clothing, and lunches out
- Benefits from being able to manage your time more effectively
- Productivity benefits from being able to work when you are most productive
- Health benefits of being able to eat a better diet that includes less fast food
- Opportunities to get physical exercise when needed mentally
- Reduced stress benefits
- Benefit of living a more balanced life
- A more relaxing work environment
- More opportunities to hire part-time or contract workers
- A larger pool of employee applicants because location isn't as important
- Lack of face-to-face communication increases chances of miscommunications or misunderstandings
- Technical difficulties hindering communications or work progress
- Feelings of separation or disassociation among employees
- Less camaraderie among workers meaning possibilities for less cohesive work teams
- Problems separating your free time from your work time because your work is always "there"
- Less convenient to run errands at lunch time
- Feelings of isolation if you are always home alone
- Lack of support - both administrative and managerial
These lists can certainly go on. Your job is to identify the disadvantages that apply to your business and turn them into advantages. Seek outside assistance if you need it. You may need the knowledge of a professional, especially initially, to really make this work. Through good planning, communication, and outside technical support when needed, your virtual office can succeed and help foster future virtual businesses.