Virtual offices are increasingly becoming the way of the future. Changing how we adapt to growth, embrace technology and meet the elusive work life balance.

But, what exactly is a virtual office? A virtual office allows employers and employees to work from any location in the world, through the use of technology. The use of laptops, cell phones and internet access provides flexibility and connectability with anyone at any given time. The virtual office model has flexibility at many levels however it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to include flexible working hours. Working hours can be set just as they are in a physical work environment.

 Why is a virtual office the way of the future and how is it going to change business to create growth? There are six global trends that underpin the business world of today and will impact the future. These trends are demographic shifts, shifts in global economic power, rapid urbanisation, resource scarcity and climate change and technological breakthroughs. There is a solution to these global trends and one solution is virtual offices!

We all know about the demographic trends and the impact that it is having on the workforce. In New Zealand we have an aging workforce and our workforce is also becoming more diverse. For someone that has parents to care for as well as dependent children, it can be challenging. There is a need for a work life balance, one that is beneficial to employers as well as employees. By 2020 1 in 4 workers will be 55 years or older?  Flexible work hours within virtual offices provide employees with the ability to be able to take a sick child to the doctors during the day or help their elderly parents. Having flexibility means that workers in this situation are accommodated for, and employers get to retain their staff.

The virtual office can create growth through the access to worldwide talent and the retention of talent. A small business from Hamilton is able to hire someone from London, whereas before they weren’t able to as the cost on the small business to relocate someone from London to Hamilton was often too high. With the virtual office model, you can have someone working for you that lives anywhere in the world.

Another trend influencing the virtual office movement is how expensive transportation can be, the time constraints and other associated hassles with commuting, not to mention the harmful pollution on the environment. Virtual offices lead to savings both economically and financially. It can be a great strategy to saving resources and being sustainable, businesses need to be more environmentally friendly, by changing the way we do business we can accelerate these changes.

There is rapid advances in technological innovation and this is growing daily. It is the rapid advancements in technology that will streamline and advance the way business is conducted in the future. As a business you should be taking advantage of the innovative technology and going virtual is an opportunity to embrace technology.

There are many business reasons as to why the virtual office model should be considered. Technology and social networking companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter are very successful companies and are virtual. With technology advancing they saw a market and have capitalised on it. The companies that have adopted a virtual office model have had reduced real estate expenses, increased productivity and profits, improved customer service, accessed global markets and increased environmental benefits and ultimately enhanced employee retention and wellbeing

As you look toward to the future of business imagine going virtual and what it could do for your business growth.