Remember when you first heard about the concept of telecommuting? Most companies couldn't imagine how this concept could benefit them.

Fast forward a couple of decades and the notion of virtual offices is catching on as a way for companies to breed more productive workers at lower costs with higher retention rates. What a difference a couple of decades make…

There are two sides to the virtual office coin worth exploring: the employer and employee.

On the employer side, virtual offices are an attractive option because they lowers the cost of acquiring, leasing, furnishing and maintaining traditional office space. What's more, companies can expand their recruiting efforts beyond their immediate region, opening wide the possibilities of finding better-suited talent for specific jobs. The perfect candidate may be unwilling to relocate his family to your city, and a virtual office means he doesn't have to.

On the employee side, a virtual office spells convenience. Gone are the days of sitting in traffic, long commutes – and the expensive gas bills that go along with it. No more sitting in traffic trying to make the most of a congested situation. Instead, the employee can work from the comfort of their home with virtual office technologies that help them work smarter, faster and more efficiently – and with less stress and personal expense.

At the end of the day, the virtual office can be just as effective a backdrop for getting business done as a traditional office space. The fact that virtual offices are being used in almost every industry – including arts, education and marketing – speak volumes about the benefits of a virtual office.