Almost everyone has a home office of some kind these days. Does that mean you’re virtual? What does being virtual really entail?
Can I untether myself from the office? If I do, can I still be effective? Can I manage my law practice remotely? What about connecting with the main office when I want to work from home? How can I ensure secure communications and how much is that going to cost? These are valid and important considerations. This column will help unravel what is involved in virtual workspace planning, from computer hardware, software, communications, and services, to psychology, legal, management, and human resources.
Defining Virtual Companies and Virtual Employees/Contractors
Let’s start with the basics. Virtual companies (VCs) utilize virtual employees (VEs). VCs generally have very little or no office space and rely on technology to seamlessly link together their virtual employees, wherever they happen to be located.
Virtual employees may not be strictly related to virtual companies, and may be a portion of the labor force of companies utilizing more traditional work environments. As technology moves forward to meet the demands of a more virtual world, traditional firms are finding that providing for a partially virtual workforce can be advantageous. The Federal Government, for example, expects that 20% of its workforce will be working in virtual mode by 2012.
Should you consider a non-traditional working environment?
Psychology plays a major roll in the success of virtual employment. Working virtually is not for everyone. Self discipline and being comfortable in a solitary environment are required characteristics. If you are easily distracted or highly social, virtual employment may not work well for you. On the other hand, if you feel disdain for commuting, high gas prices, and business suits and value flexibility, then a virtual workplace may be a good choice. The first step is knowing how and where you operate best.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Select questions will be addressed in future columns.
Combined, Walt and Andrea Turner have degrees in Accounting, Business, Psychology, Economics (2 masters and a CPA) and extensive experience in consulting for business and in the legal arena. Most importantly, they run a virtual business with associates in multiple states.