There were 17.2 million telecommuters in the US in 2009 and the expectation is that numbers will increase significantly over the next decade. With the increase in people working from home, and the creation of a “virtual office” environment, there is also an increase in the need for software designed for the virtual office.
Software tools designed to replace the “benefits” of an office
There are several perceived and real benefits of an office environment versus working virtually. Let’s take a look at these and see how virtual office software tries to compensate and provide enough of these benefits to enable staff to work from home effectively:
- Face to face communication – working in an office environment enables communication and collaboration to take place face to face.
- Better collaboration – the fact that employees are sitting next to each other can help to improve collaboration and teamwork.
- Attendance and time management – ensuring that staff actually turn up to work on time and are working (not watching TV in the living room). This lack of management trust that staff will actually be working is a significant reason that companies are less likely to allow staff to telecommute.
Lets take a look at some of the software that can be used to create an online virtual office and provide these same benefits of a real office space.