Any business could benefit from the advantages of a virtual office. Like anything else, of course, there are early adopters. The real estate industry, hardest hit by the economic downturn, is among the first major industries to make a widespread movement toward virtual offices. The legal industry is another.

More market segments will migrate to virtual offices and virtual services as other market segments demonstrate the value of having done so. Even as the economy recovers, companies continue to look for ways to reduce cost while enabling functional support services is and will continue to be the priority of every business.

What industry is next? Accounting is a no-brainer. Although there's something to be said for physical office space for accountants, a small space combined with virtual offices for individual accountants seems the most frugal way to leverage a hybrid presence.

Retailers need a physical presence, but many other types of businesses could go virtual—or at least reduce their reliance on physical office space by renting a smaller space and spreading out virtually.  So get creative as we head into 2011 and determine if there is an alternative workplace strategy that would help you drive cost savings and greater productivity among your employees—even if your only employee is you.