How can companies adopt a mix workplace model to avoid the challenges of commute and the cost of commuting and increase value of life? Companies wishing to reduce costs by establishing virtual offices or partial virtual offices have to take in a few factors into consideration and follow a series of managerial decision making to reduce commuting costs and increase values of lives. (1) Analyze the cost and benefits to re-allocate employees to tele-commuting The main benefit of telecommuting, especially to employees is the opportunity to cut down on commuting costs. However, there are also other benefits of setting up a virtual office.
Telecommuting is generally perceived to have many personal, organizational, social, economical, transportation and environmental benefits (Shafizadeh et al, 1998). Organizations wishing to implement a virtual office would have to ensure that the benefits of telecommuting will outweigh the costs of the company – hence, will quantitatively not create a cost centre within the organization. As mentioned above, the most significant cost would be commuting costs to the employees (Telecommuting, 2000) – some employers subsidize such benefits – a virtual office would in turn remove such a cost.
Other major costs identified would be environmental and health costs (Telecommuting, 2000). (2) Identify possible candidates for the virtual office Depending on the structure of the organization, some divisional functions would be more ideal to operate in virtual office. In organizations that weigh heavily on data analysis and research and where a lot of information is private and confidential, a virtual office would not be necessarily appropriate.
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The most ideal jobs are those involving heavier use of telecommunications and computer system, but successful telecommuting is not exclusive to these types of positions. Firms such as IBM and Lexis-Nexis have long had arguably successful variants of telecommuting in place, some positions with very little telecommunications or computer interaction (Potomac, 2007). More importantly however, is the individual's attitude and commitment towards successfully working in a virtual office.
(3) Setting up comfortable home offices for virtual office candidates Home offices or satellite offices should be equipped with the facilities available in the office. Ideally, the list of telecommunications equipment (Potomac, 2007), would include high speed internet connections, reliable computers, telephones and fax machines. Besides the telecommunication factors, employees should also be furnished with a desk, filing cabinets and all the stationeries that allow him or her to operate efficiently away from the physical office.
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