Working in an office carries a lot of secondary expenses. For instance, you have to pay for your transportation costs (gasoline, bus/train tickets, etc.), professional attire (suits, business accessories), and other related costs (lunch, makeup/deodorant, etc.). These costs can quickly add up, although they’re rarely considered. For business owners, who must lease or rent a space, the costs are much greater. When you use a virtual office, you can end up saving a lot of money.
Commuting to work each day can eat up a lot of your time. Getting ready for work (grooming, putting on professional attire, etc.) and commuting to your office (and then back home again later) typically take up hours of your day. By using a virtual office, you can instantly eliminate your daily commute, saving time that you can put towards more useful things.
Isolation. When you work from home, it’s likely that you’ll experience less contact with other professionals in your field — especially for, but not limited to, individual contributor roles. You won’t have a daily commute, so you won’t encounter other people on your way to and from the office. You won’t bump into other workers at the water cooler for a casual conversation, or have lunch with your coworkers a few days a week. With fewer encounters with other people — and other professionals in your field — it’s easy to feel isolated, which can lead to a slump in progress or even depression.

SurePayroll finds that working remotely adds to productivity. Traditional management values may say “when the cat’s away, the mice will play,” but these new stats say otherwise. Because the water cooler is no longer and office politics are no longer an issue, people get things done faster. 86% of employees surveyed prefer to work alone. Just as importantly, 66% of management surveyed say that employees who work alone are telling the truth – they actually are more productive.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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Small-business owners often wonder how they can work so hard all day and accomplish so little. Much of the problem is an inability to multitask. If you are doing important work in your office but are interrupted by an equally important call or question from an employee, for example, you’re forced to divert your attention away from the original project. In this way, your focus is strained and nothing receives the attention it deserves. A personal assistant can handle these types of intrusions so you can continue to focus on what's most important.
Developed by one of the leaders in the AI space, IBM, Watson Assistant is one of the most advanced AI-powered chatbots on the market. Pre-trained with content from your specific industry, Watson Assistant can understand your historical chat or call logs, search for an answer in your knowledge base, ask customers for more clarity, direct them to human representatives, and even give you training recommendations to hone its conversational abilities.
Employee engagement and motivation. Consider giving remote and office workers surveys to see who is more engaged and motivated overall. Ask questions about how they feel coming to work every day, find out whether they’re inspired at work and ask if they think their role within the company is important. Ask specific questions about whether or not they feel included in group decisions and ask if they feel as though their needs and concerns are considered and addressed.

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Virtual work or telecommuting requires self-discipline, motivation and a tremendous amount of focus. Individuals who do their best work independently are often the happiest with telecommuting than workers who need to have regular contact with others. The managers who supervise telecommuters bear a large responsibility as well. Managing employees remotely can be very challenging, and it is ultimately the manager's responsibility for determining which of their employees demonstrate the necessary skills and traits for performing successfully in a remote location.

Developed by one of the leaders in the AI space, IBM, Watson Assistant is one of the most advanced AI-powered chatbots on the market. Pre-trained with content from your specific industry, Watson Assistant can understand your historical chat or call logs, search for an answer in your knowledge base, ask customers for more clarity, direct them to human representatives, and even give you training recommendations to hone its conversational abilities.


In all fairness, despite its glorious perks, being a personal assistant is not for everybody. You often need to sacrifice your own hopes and dreams for the sake of the person you work for, but making that sacrifice might just be the one thing that helps you reach something you never even dreamed of achieving. Just think about Pepper Potts in Iron Man: she started off as an assistant but ended up being in charge of the entire Stark Industries.

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In a 2008 interview with American Society of Association Executives, Deb Keary, human resources director for the Society for Human Resource Management, cited two potential problems with telecommuting. One is if a telecommuter isn't suited to working outside the office, and the work suffers. The other is if the manager isn't suited to it or isn't comfortable with it. In that case, it won't work. "Not all managers are cut out to supervise telecommuters," she said. In addition, there are some occupations that obviously are unsuitable for telework arrangements, such as laborers and clinicians; however, positions that require minimal personal interaction may be very well suited to telecommuting from virtual offices.
Fortunately, the next advancement in chatbot technology that can solve this problem is gaining steam -- AI-powered chatbots. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing, AI-powered chatbots can understand the intent behind your customers’ requests, account for each customer’s entire conversation history when it interacts with them, and respond to their questions in a natural, human way.
In short, if you use the right tools, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: Your employees can interact with one another as if they’re in the same room, and they can experience all of the benefits that come with working from home. It’s possible to reap the benefits of personal interaction, successful collaboration, and a productive work from home environment. This is possible with the right tools and knowledge for virtual collaboration.

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