Online technology has no doubt been massively beneficial to the world providing internet services ranging from virtual learning and working, internet dating sites, among many. The Idea of distant learning brought about the virtual office. Since it is possible to learn online from home working from home has also become possible via the Virtual office. However, Remote working is associated with both pros and cons.
Working in a collocated environment usually attracts differences such as language impediment, Cultural Shock, behavioral dissimilarities and so on. Dr. David Livermore, the author of the Cultural Intelligence Difference highlighted the ways to overcome these challenges which include drive, Knowledge, Strategy, and action although these leave about 90% of the effort on the Individual. These challenges, on the other hand, are masked by remotely working, since there is little or no physical contact amongst employees. Jobs allocation geographically intensified resulting in decreased risk and cost of mobility. Remotely working boosts concentration and encourages independence since one must work individually. Lastly, virtual office simplifies organisation digitally and reduces complexities associated with structuring a collocated work environment manually thereby saving on cost and energy.
Operations from a virtual office connote some level of detachment hence, the tendency for possible misinformation and misunderstanding by participants should the information not be emphasized. Due to lack of proximity, it will prove difficult to tell if instructions are properly understood as the system is deficient of eye to eye contact, facial expressions, body language, and more. Communication will be quite difficult as participants may not want to response at certain times especially when in duress. The enthusiasm shown in a collocated atmosphere may be more than that of the Virtual environment as a physical supervisor may be present to oversee and note the progress rate of every individual.
Virtual office eludes the need of individuals to bond at the workplace which is essential for productivity. The University of Warwick’s centre for competitive advantage in the global economy and the Social Market Foundation in 2015, conducted a 700-person experiment which revealed that productivity skyrocketed by 12% the employees were happy that they were provided with lunch and shown comedy clips at work together. Virtually working thus prevents this form of interaction from occurring.
Weighing the pros and cons of both virtual and remote working, it can be observed that even though the demerits of virtual office seem to outweigh that of remotely working, if properly enhanced virtual working will be more beneficial in the long run, as information will be readily collated in various remote accesses. also, the spread of information should be emphasised and the head of the team must ensure that the information reaches the rest of the groups. The gap among virtual members can be curbed by creating an online forum probably a live one to get everyone participating thereby bridging the gap in communication. Monthly or bi-annual events can be organised to converge members physically and develop the working relationship between them and invariably network.