What do WordPress, GitHub, 37signals, MySQL, MCF Technology Solutions, and Automattic have in common?
They are among a growing number of companies that have most of if not all their staff work from home. Our 24/7 online world certainly gives us the ability to do this in many industries.
Advantages and disadvantages exist. For example, as one advantage, companies can reduce or eliminate real estate costs. On the other hand, workers typically find the level of collegial rapport and serendipitous creative team moments are reduced due to the lack of physical proximity.
As with any business strategy or structure, what is most important is to recognize the pros and the cons, and plan accordingly. For example, the virtual office enables companies to hire the best and the brightest regardless of geographical location. Therefore, those companies can expand their recruitment efforts globally without increasing their risk of no or reduced responses based on geographical preferences.
As another example, to build rapport, companies can facilitate periodic onsite company gatherings based on a central office or key employees locations. In this way, people get to know each other more personally and their professional relationships strengthen.
The point is you have workarounds. Use them. In the long run, I believe virtual offices will be a big advantage for both the workers and the organization.
The smart companies will take advantage of these options where applicable, and they will derive the benefits. The companies that dont want to be smart will ignore these options, and they will suffer the losses.
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