A virtual office is a defined as combination of off-site live communication and address services that allow users to reduce traditional office costs while maintaining business professionalism. Rather than renting costly office space, and furnishing and staffing a physical office, there are options to maintain a business presence that do not require a physical office especially for geographically dispersed employees that are not required to physically interact with other employees or customers on a daily basis. A new survey by the Intelligent office, a provider of “virtual office space” to mobile workers and small businesses, points to one way that companies can improve engagement: “Give employees the freedom to work where they want”. So the question becomes how to make this possible without losing the ability to communicate effectively and maintain a professional business entry point for clients who are trying to interact with you. A professional web site with multi-channel communications methods like email, chat is certainly one method but most clients also value being able to talk to a live person. Here are a few of the methods your organization can use to make that possible in a scalable manner without losing that personal interaction.
- Remote Receptionist or Auto Attendant – A team of workers working remotely can use a cloud based auto attendant to front end calls and direct them to the right individual or a group of individuals. It can also be set up with different rule sets based on time zones, holidays, weekends or after hours to shift the calls to different employees based on availability or work hours.
- Soft Client or Remote Worker voice services – Offered by many VoIP providers, including EarthLink Business, this service allows employees to receive calls and interact as part of network based phone system in the same manner they do in an office environment. Some carriers offer both soft client and IP Phone based options for these employees.
- Virtual Fax and voicemail – Also available as part of the communication suite is the ability to establish cloud based voicemail and fax machine that takes messages and faxes from clients and makes them available via a portal or as a file transmitted to email which allows you to stay green and virtual.
- Cloud based Call Center – Many people think of call centers as sweat shops crowded with cubicle based employees busily taking inbound calls all hours of the day and night. In today’s network based environments several companies offer the ability to move that functionality to the cloud and distribute calls to workers based out of their home or remote locations.
As businesses look to trim expenses, virtual office services help reduce overhead while keeping professionalism high. As businesses trend to a more “online” workplace, the notion of paying for space will become more of a scarcity reserved for retailers, doctor’s offices and other merchandise or service related businesses that require a physical premise. EarthLink Business is one of the companies who can help your organization determine the most efficient, cost effective means to help get you achieve a successful transition. Our Hosted Voice offering in particular offers many of these communications tools to help your employees “move out”.