Over the past few months we have been talking about the advantages of working with our employees remotely from home. This may not be feasible for all businesses but some such as our advertising agency can work remotely because almost everything we do is on computers. Plus, with two talented IT people on staff we are easily able to employ other technologies such as video conferencing and PBX (private branch exchange) phone systems over IP to make working together over the Internet almost the same as working in the same room.

This is a big step, even for our small company, but the advantages are huge. Not only can working from home save money but also it could increase productivity. There are many studies proving the workspace employees work from directly effects productivity.

In addition to improving productivity by allowing the employee to work in a space they are comfortable in, they can save on the cost of time travel. I travel 15 miles a day to and from my office and at the end of the year that ads up to about $2,000 in gas and depreciation, as well as about two and a half hours of my time each week. One of our employees who travels forty three miles one way calculated staying at home would save him the equivalent of getting a 2.00 an hour raise. The company would save even more by closing our office in downtown Lewisburg when you consider utilities, taxes and insurance.

The problem many business owners will have to consider for this option is accountability. Sure, the employee may be more productive working from home, but they may also be distracted and shirk their duties because the boss isn’t there to watch over them. Accountability is a concern but the solution may be to set job performance standards based on goals rather than on time spent working.

Working from a virtual office is not for all business, but with a good working staff that has a good work ethic, today’s technology makes the virtual office a reality.