In a survey conducted among 1000 employees, 55% say they would rather work in a private and quiet workspace than in a busy, crowded office. Ever since the economic recession, virtual employees have been increasing in numbers than in any other time. And thanks to fast internet, and even faster computers, getting a virtual job is no longer as difficult as it used to be.
Even big companies are optimistic about the whole thing. For one, a virtual office means less expense on office buildings, electricity, office supplies, and utility bills. In fact, 56% of heads and top honchos from Fortune 500 companies believe that virtual work will steadily increase in their respective organizations.
Growth is inevitable for the virtual office, and the facts are there to prove it. There are already over 30 million teleworkers in the US, half of which surprisingly belong to the 38-54 age bracket. Clearly, middle aged people are just as technologically updated, if not more, than younger generations.
Cloud computing plays a great role in the virtual office revolution. Online applications have proven to be so cost-effective that 60% of offices use the same virtual applications used by virtual professionals. We’re talking online storage, project management, and a long list of client-specific software.
With cloud technology, an average computer would be able to perform extremely complicated tasks way beyond its capacity. This means companies can basically outsource their computers’ processing power. Take the Amazon EC2. This cloud solution lets users perform tasks in an environment that’s entirely online. Even NASA has its own Nebula Cloud Computing Platform.
Fortunately, cloud computing is not as expensive as it may seem. In fact, most of the cloud based applications you’ll need are cheap, and some even come free. Google Drive is a perfect example of free cloud computing. With Google Drive, you can create, edit, share, and store files online. There’s even no need to save the file on your local drive. And because your files are on the cloud, you can access them from anywhere.
Cloud computing is so powerful, that there’s an entire OS which you can access from the cloud. Jolicloud, an open-source cloud OS that does everything that most regular operating systems can. Remember, the computing power of a cloud OS does not rely on your computer. You are only limited by your Internet speed, and in today’s world, this shouldn’t be a problem. Google has also launched it’s own cloud-based operating system – Chromium OS. This operating system works on the same principle as the Jolicloud.
Another amazing cloud innovation is the virtual PBX. Regular PBX or private branch exchange is telephony’s version of a private server. A network of telephones are connected in such a way that users can call anyone from within the network without having to go “outside” the telephone line. These internal calls are made by dialing an extension to reach a specific user. It’s pretty common among big offices. you may have even used one of this yourself.
Cloud PBX works pretty much the same, however, instead of having to shed thousands of dollars on hardware installment, you only have pay for the actual phone and a standard monthly bill, and you can add as much extensions as you want. You also get a local number and you can make voice calls just as you would with your land line or mobile.
In fact, Ring Central, a VoIP service company even offers online fax service, voice mail, integration, and even lets you make Internet calls from your local number right on your mobile phone.