Face time at the office isn't what it used to be. Indeed, more companies are setting the state for the continued rise of the virtual office with alternative workplace strategies.

An Accountemps survey demonstrates how this trend is playing out in the financial services field. The survey reveals that one-third of Chief Financial Officers agree that remote work arrangements, such as telecommuting and working from satellite offices, have increased at their companies in the last three years. The survey questioned 1,400 CFOs across the United States.

"The prevalence of mobile technologies and wireless communication makes it easier for companies to support flexible work arrangements for their employees," says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies.

"Although not all positions are suited to remote work arrangements, for those that are, this option can help give professionals more control over their schedules and aid in recruitment and retention efforts. Businesses that are considering remote work arrangements should set clear policies and establish specific productivity goals."

Whether you are a virtual office worker or an employer relying on virtual office workers, here are some strategic tips from Accountemps:

1.  Communication: Keep remote workers in the loop on the latest news about the department and company. Don't rely solely on e=mail. Schedule regular calls and in-person meetings. Provide frequent status updates to the boss on key projects, and look for opportunities to interact with your manager and colleagues using virtual office technologies.

2.  Resources: Ensure offsite employees have the necessary resources, including appropriate network access. If you are using your own computer and phone system, make sure your equipment is up-to-date. You should be as productive working remotely as you are in the office.

3.  Planning: Establish expectations and guidelines at the outset so you can monitor the arrangement and adjust as necessary. Anticipate potential concerns your employer may have about an offsite work arrangement and be prepared to discuss how you plan to handle them.

4.  Security: Work with your information technology personnel to set up the requisite security protocols. Ensure your computer and other equipment are safeguarded by the company against security threats.

5.  Camaraderie: To ensure remote workers continue to feel connected to the group, include them in team activities and recognize their accomplishments in front of their colleagues. Try to join group activities, from offsite trainings to department celebrations, as much as possible. Seek input from coworkers when brainstorming, and volunteer to assist them when they need help.