Virtual Offices- Are they becoming women’s domain?

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E-Working

Often enough we all stumble upon the words “virtual offices”, every day, without pondering over, unconsciously allowing acceptance of the terminologies. With the advent of technologies even in our day-to-day lives, virtual offices have become quite rampant. Have you ever wondered what all virtual offices could entail?

What is a virtual office?

It literally is virtual, something that exists not physically but in space, cyberspace to be specific. Therefore, the employees or the business owners could carry out their work from the comfort of their homes or any other location, with the use of laptops/phones etc. provided they have access to the internet. Any meeting or conference could be conducted via teleconferencing or videoconferencing/skype while the data and documents can be exchanged electronically as soft copies and printed later if required. Virtual offices have made a major impact in the lives of today’s women in a very positive manner, who strive to achieve the best of both worlds, by making the same feasible. Let’s find out how.

Advantages of virtual offices from women’s point of view

The concept of virtual offices drastically reduces the cost of women-owned businesses by enabling tremendous savings in the matter of physical office spaces.

One can test the turbulent waters of the ocean of the world of business through virtual offices, before acquiring the office space or signing a lease. This is really helpful for women-owned small businesses, where taking loans for this purpose can be avoided and later utilized for expansion.

The virtual offices make it feasible to carry out the job from any location that is convenient to the employee. Therefore, it is not mandatory that the employee should live locally. This gives a wider option for the women-owned business to choose the employees from, at a reasonable and probably cheaper cost too.

The concept of virtual offices is quite a boon for women, especially mothers, who will then have the best of both worlds, without being torn perpetually between their family and work.Most importantly, virtual offices offer them quite a lot of flexibility. Women get the freedom of realistically scheduling practical working hours, based on the children’s schooling /childcare or other such family matters.

Virtual offices definitely alleviate the stress for working women, especially those associated with commuting to the workplace, cutting out unwanted personal interactions when it comes to juggling family life and duties.

For many women, especially from certain regions like the Middle East or North Africa, there is no permission to work in public spaces despite having the necessary qualifications. For such women, who harbour ambitions of having a worthwhile career, the idea of virtual offices is a true blessing, providing them with a pathway to work despite the constraints.

About 60% of women in Saudi Arabia holding PhD are unemployed. Businesses are discouraged from hiring women because of the expense incurred while complying with the gender segregation laws; separate offices, guards, restrictions to travel, to name a few. In such a scenario, virtual offices offer a perfect solution for these women.

How can the concept of virtual offices be made “workable” for women?

The only requirement to make this work would be to have some discipline in the designated workspace, even if it is in the bedroom! But please bear it in mind to choose a room that will be most conducive to carry out the duties.

To create a really “workable” virtual office, what you need is a docking station! You can have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, fax machine and any other contraption you deem fit in a virtual office, hooked into the docking station, ever ready to use! You can use your laptop as a desktop by plugging it into the docking station, without worrying about transferring any important files from one computer to another. While you are at it, acquire a surge protector too to provide you with additional outlets and also to protect your valuable equipment.

Virtual office demand certain applications like any other office, in your computer enabling you to fulfil your duties to perfection. Do not fret, you do have several options in the software to choose from! The good news is that several business applications are made available as packages; therefore, you are bound to get word processor comprising of Microsoft Office Suite, virus protection software, graphics tools, PDF reader software and browsers all in one!

Another equipment needed would be a good telephone, equipped with Caller ID facility. This will help you to filter out callers, enabling you to refuse unwanted ones while you are taking important calls.

When you think about virtual offices, you will realize that the technology that gets the blame for taking our freedom away, allows women much more freedom they have ever experienced, giving them better satisfaction and fulfillment– having the best of both worlds. Virtual offices could be the way to approach for women empowerment. A woman who brings about positive transformation in her own life has surely in her the power and potential to change other women’s lives. Let’s therefore embrace the technology that makes virtual offices possible, and let’s hope to meet more and more women entrepreneurs and women employees in the setup of virtual offices.

 

Image credit : pexels.com

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