How Virtual Offices Fit Into the Workshifting Trend

LOS ANGELES-Kleiner Perkins Caufiled Byers predicts there may be more smartphones and tablets in use than PCs by mid-2013. That impending reality begs the question: Where will people work? Virtual offices and workshifting are part of the answer.

You know what a virtual office is by now, but what is workshifting? Workshifting is getting your work done when it works for you. Maybe you have to take little Johnny to the doctor’s office, so you miss two hours of work in the middle of the day and make it up at night. Using the web, you can also “shift” part of your work to the doctor’s office with mobile technology and keep the fires burning.

“Workshifting has now become the expectation of nearly all enterprise employees,” Evan Kaplan, CEO of iPass, says in its blog. “In our latest iPass Mobile Workforce Report we found that although 95 percent stated their employers encouraged or tolerated workshifting—40 percent would like to have an even more flexible work environment.”

John Froda, director of Brand Strategy at Citrix, says workshifting is definitely taking off. He told Forbes it saves commute times and helps the environment. What does Froda think of the statement: When you are working face-to-face with a person you get more done?

“I think there’s a truth to it. When you’re building your team it’s good [to work face to face]. But once you know your team, it is less important,” Froda told Forbes. “A lot of this has to do with making new work possible that was not possible before. If I had to fly to London and work there and could not travel, then I’d have to write e-mail.”

So how do virtual offices fit into the workshifting concept? Virtual office users tend to workshift by nature. Part of the beauty of working from a virtual office is that you can create your own hours, to a certain extent. You can get up early to get a jump on the day and then handle the doctor’s visits, oil changes, and bank runs in for three hours in an afternoon if you need to. Virtual offices and workshifting go hand in hand.


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