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An online workplace is a virtual office where workers have all the tools and data they need to perform their work duties. With the advancement in communication technology, many employers are encouraging this set-up as it provides benefits not only to them but also to their employees. In this online workplace set-up, constant communication is often important to ensure the continued productivity of a business.
In 2008, the online workplace had become so prevalent that it was estimated that about 41 million corporate workers had been working in a virtual office. The rise of information technology is mostly considered to be the major factor in this development, as workers no longer need to report to their offices in order to do their jobs. Several international organizations have also opted to employ an online workplace to foster better productivity especially in their offshore branches.
Three popular approaches are frequently used by companies employing an online workplace. One is telecommuting, also known as work at home, which allows employees to make use of communication technologies like the Internet and email to work in another location. Another is a hot desk set-up where employees are given a desk where they can perform their duties and access the company email and computer network files. Lastly, there is the virtual team set-up. In this online workplace setting, a group of employees work closely together and constantly interact with each other although they may be located in various parts of the globe.
The many benefits of an online workplace have made it a popular option among employers and employees. For employers, setting up an online workplace usually results in reduced costs and increased efficiency. Companies may no longer have to bring in their employees from other areas or countries for regional meetings as this can usually be done through video conferencing. This set-up has also helped get rid of some traditional challenges in the corporate world such as the presence of office gossip, discrimination, and workplace security.
For the employees, flexibility and reduced costs are usually gained by working in an online workplace. They can work from anyplace at the most convenient time, giving them the flexibility to perform tasks at their most preferred pace and setting. This makes workers enjoy more time for themselves and their families. Many workers are also able to save on transportation costs of commuting to and from the office.