04 June 2016

BUSINESS - The Virtual Office Evolution

At the dawn of the digital area, when someone spoke up that they worked from home they were largely assumed to be freelancers, a contract worker or at best, a part-time employee for a techie company. Their revelation was often met with a mixture of surprise and envy.

Fast forward perhaps a decade or so, and it has become apparent that remote offices are not only commonplace, but that most businesses/corporations will run at least part of their staffing this way.

In a global community where instant communication is the required norm; where the cost of doing business and commercial rates continue to soar; and where the traditional family structure has become more or less an ideal of days past – remote offices are a business trend that will likely only continue to grow and improve.

Regus is the world’s largest provider of virtual office solutions. Birthed in Luxemburg in 1989, Regus now has some 3,000 business centres in 900 cities, in 120 countries.

The multinational corporation has been in operation in Canada since 2001. Infostream caught up with Regus Canada’s Dana Pasutto, area manager for Calgary North.

As highlighted by Pasutto, the appeal of Regus’ solutions reaches a broad commercial audience, spanning across industries with their various packages that include use of Regus’ physical address, telephone answering and voicemail services tailored to each client and virtual office solutions – which includes membership access to every Regus location across the globe; their business centres provide meeting/board rooms for use by virtual office clientele.

“A virtual solution is extremely cost effective, as you don’t have to sign a costly head lease space, pay a receptionist’s yearly salary, pay operating costs such as heat water, HVAC, A/C, cleaning…we are always here to greet your clients, sign for mail/courier packages and facilitate your daily business tasks as per your direction,” she explained.

According to Pasutto, their services are ideal for any professional who travels extensively; other professionals that Regus’ solutions typically accommodate include clients that work from home but are not able to/do not wish to use their home address; companies branching out and entering new markets; corporate companies that want to set up satellite offices; online companies; sales companies that are in their clients’ offices; and start-up entrepreneurs looking to keep operating and administrative costs to a minimum.

Possible drawbacks to a virtual office, according to Pasutto, include accessibility to each centre which are typically restricted to daytime office hours; as well as carting around materials and documents to a centre.

“Virtual offices are still a relatively new way to work and aren’t always understood by everyone. Sometimes you will have a client show up that doesn’t realize your company isn’t physically here. They could be cold calling, dropping off a resume or want to discuss business with you. We handle each of these cases individually and represent you and your company as per your direction.”

Ongoing research continues to lend further evidence to the cost-effective nature of virtual offices - according to freelance marketplace Upwork, virtual sourcing and onboarding of talent takes an average of three days in the virtual world and 43 days in the traditional marketplace.

According to American research-based opinion poll organization, Gallup, studies show that more people are working from home and that the perception of remote workers as being more productive has risen from 47% to 58% over the last 20 years; their studies also show that over 20% of the workforce is working from home on at least a part-time basis.

By Lindsay Seewalt
Lindsay is an experienced journalist and mother of three whose heart and home is always open to a four-legged friend. With her Corgi, Angie, as household editor-in-chief, Lindsay gives back to the animal planet through the written word on anything and all ado about pets. She is passionate about topics regarding animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, which she aims to instill in both her readers and children to be compassionate animal lovers who are conscious and considerate that furry friends around the globe deserve a voice.

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