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A virtual workplace is a workplace that is not located in any one physical space. It is usually a network of several workplaces technologically connected (via a private network or the Internet) without regard to geographic boundaries. Employees are thus able to interact in a collaborative working environment regardless of where they are located. A virtual workplace integrates hardware, people, and online processes.[1]

History

As information technology began to play a greater role in the daily operations of organizations, virtual workplaces developed as an augmentation or alternative to traditional work environments of rooms, cubicles and office buildings.

Types

Individual virtual workplaces vary in how they apply existing technology to facilitate team cooperation:

1. Remote work: the availability and use of communications technologies, such as the Internet, to work in an offsite location.

2. Hot desking: employees do not have individual desks but are rather each day allocated to a desk where they can access technology services including the Internet, email and computer network files. This is similar to "hotelling": recognizing that employees spend more time at clients' offices than at the employer's office, they are not assigned a permanent desk.

3. Virtual team: employees collaborate by working closely together and in regular contact, although physically located in different parts of the world.

Drivers

There are several factors that drive the interest in using virtual workplaces.

Office space and its cost

Office space has become a major expense for many organisations,[2] and virtual meetings can save money[3] and be a direct substitute of meeting face to face.[4] One response has been to reduce the amount of space each employee occupies. Another is to increase the flexibility of the office's layout and design.[citation needed] It is not easy to make the most of these approaches and keep employees happy—unless flexible work practices are also used.[citation needed]

Demographic change

There are more women in the workforce,[citation needed] more employees of other nationalities,[citation needed] increased participation from indigenous people and the average age of employees is increasing.[citation needed] These trends are forcing employers to rethink how they employ and manage staff and how they respond to employee interests and demands.[citation needed]

Fuel and energy costs

The expenses of the energy consumption to physically commute are increasing rapidly. Planners and public policymakers share a strong belief that remote work with a virtual workspace is one of the most sustainable and competitive modes of commuting in terms of travel time and cost, flexibility, and environmental impacts.[5]

Challenges

Some common challenges are:

  1. Failure to leverage the technology that supports virtual workplaces, resulting in decreased productivity[citation needed]
  2. Lack of human contact could cause decreased team spirit, trust and productivity (and researchers indicate trust is a vital aspect)[6]
  3. Increased sensitivity to communication, interpersonal and cultural factors[7]
  4. Cultural diversity is not yet achieving the expected benefits [8]
  5. Virtual offices might cause a lack of social interactions and creativity since the on-site office is often one of the most important source of stress for employees.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Getting started — eXo Platform 5.3 documentation - Space definition". docs.exoplatform.org. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  2. ^ Carter Jonas. "With London office rents predicted to increase by 13% by 2017, tenants are seeking ways to reduce their property footprint". Carter Jonas. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  3. ^ Verderber, Rudolph F.; Verderber, Kathleen S.; Sellnow, Deanna D. (2014-01-01). COMM3. Cengage Learning. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-305-43696-1.
  4. ^ Anna, Mellin; Alice, Dahlstrand; Anders, Lewald; David, Mowitz (2021-02-01). Sustainable Nordic cities with focus on climate smart mobility. Nordic Council of Ministers. p. 16. ISBN 978-92-893-6923-7.
  5. ^ Kim, Seung-Nam (2017-02-07). "Is telecommuting sustainable? An alternative approach to estimating the impact of home-based telecommuting on household travel". International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. 11 (2): 72–85. doi:10.1080/15568318.2016.1193779. ISSN 1556-8318. S2CID 156991681.
  6. ^ Harney, Owen; Hogan, Michael J.; Broome, Benjamin J. (December 2012). "Collaborative learning: the effects of trust and open and closed dynamics on consensus and efficacy" (pdf). Social Psychology of Education. 15 (4): 517–532. doi:10.1007/s11218-012-9202-6. ISSN 1573-1928. OCLC 11218. S2CID 40620898.
  7. ^ "25 Tips to Help You Manage a High-Performing Virtual Team". Biz 3.0. 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  8. ^ Han, Soo Jeoung; Beyerlen, Michael (August 2016). "Framing the Effects of Multinational Cultural Diversity on Virtual Team Processes". Small Group Research. 47 (4): 351–383. doi:10.1177/1046496416653480. ISSN 1046-4964. S2CID 148547063.
  9. ^ Stich, Jean-François (2020-07-02). "A review of workplace stress in the virtual office". Intelligent Buildings International. 12 (3): 208–220. doi:10.1080/17508975.2020.1759023. ISSN 1750-8975. S2CID 218949023.