The Pros and Cons of Virtual Working
In this guest post, David Saul, managing director of serviced office operator Business Environment, explains the pros and cons of choosing virtual working.
Working virtually means you are in complete control of your environment, allowing you to work whenever and wherever you prefer. It also means youΓÇÖll need to make some important decisions about how you will work.
Where to work?
The first thing youΓÇÖll need to consider is finding the right location for day-to-day working. A common misconception is that working virtually means spending all of your time at home ΓÇô but this does not have to be the case. Portable technology and easy Wi-Fi access mean a wider range of choices than ever before.
Home may be your preference, whereas others may see a coffee shop, restaurant or even a train as an ideal place to work. ItΓÇÖs all about finding the right balance for your business and knowing the limits of being able to work remotely.
Studies show that working where there is a certain degree of noise, like coffee shops can enhance creativity, but they certainly arenΓÇÖt ideal for conference calls where background noise can be distracting.
Choosing a suitable meeting space
Remember though, you may need to schedule an emergency customer meeting or virtual conferences, so itΓÇÖs important that you have facilities nearby to accommodate to that.
Today, there are plenty of facilities which will help you do just that, offering meeting rooms, interview rooms, video conferencing, all with refreshments and often at short notice. This could be from an hour to even a day at a time.
Restaurants and hotels are another tempting option which seems fairly easy on the surface. After all, an expensive setting can help to give off a good impression ΓÇô but can also carry a heavy cost for the company. For instance ΓÇô if you found yourself having to interview or meet a selection of people in one week, going to your local restaurant could end up landing you a very large bill. By contrast, hiring an all-inclusive meeting room for a few days can cut down those overheads.
Working alone or with others?
To work virtually may seem like a solitary existence for some, but ultimately itΓÇÖs what you make of it. You donΓÇÖt have to work at home in your office ΓÇô you donΓÇÖt have to work alone at all, if it doesnΓÇÖt suit you. The range of co-working spaces available today provides plenty of options for people who prefer company when theyΓÇÖre working.
When considering virtual working for your business, itΓÇÖs all about analysing the extra opportunities it could open up for collaborating with other people and businesses remotely, and which could also work out as being cost-effective.
Learning when ΓÇô and how ΓÇô to switch off
Another aspect of remote working which concerns some workers is finding time to switch off. Working in a relaxed environment may make you feel the need to respond to emails or work late on a project. Or a lack of routine could have the potential to create unwanted stress and time management issues.
Of course, when working virtually it is up to you to make decisions about the level of downtime with family and friends. On the plus side, it also gives you the opportunity to have this downtime at any point in the day. It could be going to the gym in the morning or meeting a friend for a long lunch, then making up the time around your virtual working day.
Making a decision
There are many pros and cons to working virtually, and the trend for more flexibility is definitely not going away any time soon. ItΓÇÖs all about finding a solution which suits you, colleagues, and your company best.
Do you work virtually? How has it changed your work-life balance? Share your thoughts in the comments.