In an article for huffingtonpost.com, RayanneThorn writes about the advantages and disadvantages of working virtually, that is, working without a permanent office and instead doing the job at home or anywhere the business might take you. The advantages include doing away with most of the need for commuting, low overhead costs, and more time for home life. The disadvantages include less time away from work because it is “always there”; and “Less commitment to colleagues and employers, as well as to clients or customers due to less developed personal relationships and less face-to-face interaction.” As Ms. Thom says, going virtual certainly has many benefits, particularly for small businesses, although making it work involves addressing the challenges it offers.
Ms. Thom suggests strengthening colleague and client relationships through face-to-face meetings:
Make an effort to meet with co-workers/employers and clients or customers regularly, face-to-face, as often as is feasible. Twitter convos, Skype, Google, or Facebook can help considerably, but these are not perfect solutions. Find the balance of real life and virtual relationship-building that works for you and those for whom you provide with either a service or a product.
The need for face-to-face interactions among colleagues and clients alike underscore the benefits Washington DC entrepreneurs can get from a DC virtual office such as those provided by Metro Offices. Without committing yourself to a costly permanent office space, you get the professional environment that these virtual offices provide to prop up your meetings and personal interactions with colleagues and clients.
Ms. Thom also recommends clearly defining your role, and those of others who might be working for the business; defining your working hours; and keeping the work out of your bedroom – essentially creating some healthy space between work and personal life. A well-appointed DC virtual office space can address this need as well by providing a few hours' worth of a professional work environment that is far from the distractions of home, at rates that are far more affordable than a permanent office space. In addition to serving as a meeting and networking venue, a virtual office also provides a small business with a prestigious office address, as well as other services that convey professionalism, such as a mail program, and a local phone answering service.
(Article Excerpt and Image from The Pros and Cons of Going Virtual, Huffington Post)