The Rise of Alternative Workplaces (and Virtual Office Technologies)

PHILIPPINES—I was reading an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer this morning rightly called “The alternative workplace.”

In it, reporter Isabel Berenguer Asuncion discussed how the rising cost of prime property, an unpredictable world economy and the need to improve profit margins within a global market of constantly changing technology have driven businesses to rethink the way they configure their office spaces.

That, she wrote, ushered in alternative workplace strategies. She went on to define the term as a combination of nontraditional work practices, environments and schedules that supplement or replace the workings of a traditional office work environment. We’ve been chronicling the rise of alternative workplace strategies, including virtual office space, for years on this blog. And the trend just keeps getting bigger.

In her article, Asuncion pointed out several possible alternative workplace models, including flexible work, bring-your-own-gadget, hoteling, free address, desktop sharing and work from home. The virtual office crosses several of those lines.

For example, companies that allow flexible work often allow the off-site portion of the strategy in a virtual office. Employees may choose to workshift but the time when they are not in the office they spend in a virtual office, often on the home front.

That leads us into work-from-home arrangements. Working from home often demands a cadre of virtual office technologies, from simple e-mail to more sophisticated online meeting software. When you bring-your-own-gadget, also known as bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, in the United States, you are often working on the go. Again, virtual office technologies play a role.

The point is this: with the rise of alternative workplace strategies comes the rise of virtual office technologies. From cloud software innovations like Microsoft Office 365 to online meeting technologies like Cisco’s WebEx, virtual office technologies are underpinning the alternative workplace strategies of many companies pursuing this path.


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