Do You Have What It Takes To Work In A Virtual Office?

Posted on: 17 September 2014

Advancements in technology have made it possible for just about anyone to quit the rat race and become their own boss. Working in a virtual office allows you to conduct your business from the luxury of your home. While this setup works very well for many independent contractors and employees, are you sure a virtual office is the right fit for you?

First Things First: What is a Virtual Office?

According to Techopedia, a virtual office is a web-based workplace. Typically, a virtual office operates without an actual physical address and all processes and communications are completed via the internet. For businesses that hire employees, all work is done remotely using applications on the company's web-based intranet.

Benefits of Working in a Virtual Office

Although the idea of working from home or within a virtual office space sounds appealing to most people, not everyone is cut out for this type of job situation. There are countless reasons why people prefer to work in a virtual office, as opposed to a traditional office, including:

  • No travel expenses such as gas, tolls and vehicle maintenance
  • Flexible hours
  • No dress code
  • No workplace drama
  • No boss breathing down your neck
  • You can work from anywhere, like your home, a coffee shop or hotel
  • Very low overhead, if any
  • Potential increase in productivity and income
  • Possible self-employment tax benefits

These benefits sound great, right? If you're cut out for this type of work environment, it is great and the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. However, before you quit your outside job and cause a major upheaval in your life, it's important to make sure a virtual office is the right choice for you.

What are the Pitfalls of Working in a Virtual Office?

When you work in a virtual office, you can work virtually anywhere that has internet access! You can work from your cabin aboard a cruise ship, a train headed across Europe, or even on a blanket at the beach. Your options are endless, but that doesn't mean it's the right decision for you.

In order to enjoy the many benefits of working from a web-based office, you need to possess plenty of self-discipline and a strong work ethic. Otherwise, you're much more likely to fall into one or more of the common work-from-home traps that can hinder your success. These "traps" include:

  1. Internet Distractions: The internet is filled with distractions that waste time and decrease your productivity if you don't have the necessary discipline and work ethic to stay away from them during work hours.
  2. Family Complications: It's harder than you may think to work from home with small children running through the room, babies crying and spouses hanging around.
  3. Environmental Influences: Some people find it difficult to sit at home and work when they know there is laundry to be washed, dinner to be prepared and a floor that needs to be vacuumed.

Besides these three work-from-home traps, you may be faced with other challenges, too. For instance, it can be tough trying to explain to others that you're actually working when they see you sitting on the couch "playing" on the computer. Do you have what it takes to avoid the phone altogether, or decline social invitations during work hours?

If you feel that you really do have what it takes to be successful in a virtual office workspace, it can truly increase the quality of your life. You'll have fewer work-related expenses and a potential boost in your income, which means you'll enjoy having more money in your pocket. Before you drop everything and commit 100 percent, it's a good idea to work in a virtual environment part time until you're sure that this is the ideal job situation for you.