The Virtual Office – Work From Home

I found myself as Chief Information Officer of a small start-up company struggling to make ends meet at one point in my career. We were burning between $50,000.00 and $75,000.00 per month and falling short of that amount in *gross* sales.

We were reliant on investors to fund the business, and investors were becoming increasingly scarce. Our small business appeared to be doomed.

After crunching some numbers, I determined that we could cut expenses in half if we let go of everyone who was not critical to the business and, more importantly, if we closed the office and operated the business ‘virtually.’

The executive team initially opposed the idea, but I explained how we could accomplish it and demonstrated how much money we could save monthly by doing so. They agreed after much deliberation, and our small business became ‘virtual’.

After informing employees of the bad news, we closed the office and each executive team member took home all files, equipment, and other items necessary for their job. We provided computers, software, and equipment to our ‘critical’ employees as needed.

We set up a virtual PBX phone system just before we left the office. They are widely available on the Internet. You can conduct a search for ‘virtual pbx’ using one of the major search engines. I am currently using It works quite well for us and is quite affordable.

Nowadays, the majority of large businesses have an automated PBX system, so our use of this system does not give the impression that we lack a central office. You can even upgrade it and have a live person answer the phones if you prefer. These are also plentiful. When a call is made to the pbx system, it is routed to the number that we establish (like for sales, support, Bob Fischer, etc.) If the phone is not answered, the pbx system routes the call to the voice mail for that phone account. The best feature of these pbx systems is their low price. We currently pay between $35 and $75 per month and have an 800 number. While we all have phones and cellphones, the cost is significantly lower because our phones are not configured with the phone company as ‘business’ phones. Assume the account is a ‘business’ account and the monthly bill more than doubles.

After taking care of the phone system, we move on to the corporate information/file system.

As the Chief Information Officer, I took all of the computer servers and Internet connectivity equipment home with me. I established a sufficient Internet connection to my house (again, non-commercial) and conducted all of our inter-computer networking and Website operations over the Internet from my residence. We established a VPN (virtual private network) connection between our computers via the Internet, allowing us to view them all as if we were in an office. Secured directories on any computer were protected in the same way that they are in an office. I created an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site on our file server to serve as a ‘central’ file server. Again, it was completely secure against intruders, but all of our employees had the same level of access to the central file system as if they were in an office.

In terms of interoffice communication, we continued to rely heavily on phones and email, just as we frequently did in the office. We could use ‘virtual meeting’ software for meetings, but we discovered that we much preferred to meet in a restaurant and enjoy a (company-paid) bite to eat.

Our small business was now entirely virtual. Everyone was working from home, and I might add that they were *enjoying* it. We ran into a nasty problem shortly after we began. We discovered that our employees (the critical ones on whom we relied) succumbed to the temptation to watch TV or take care of domestic matters (being at home) rather than truly dedicating the time we paid them to working for us. Gradually, it became increasingly difficult to reach a live person who would (almost) never answer our phones. Our clients were being neglected. Sales were declining (which was already a problem). We (I) began to believe that I would made a mistake and that this would not work.

We held an executive meeting to discuss the issue and determined that we had two options: resolve the issue or shut down the business. We determined that we would do everything possible to resolve the issue.
We began by convening a corporate meeting (and treating everyone to lunch) and explaining our situation to our employees. We told them categorically that if they continued, they would lose their jobs.

We then restructured employee compensation. Salaries decreased significantly but were subsidized through performance-based pay. This was more akin to piece work. The emphasis was not so much on how long they worked as on how much they accomplished.

Additionally, we developed software to monitor their performance. Each time they completed a task, they had to check a box or click a button on the computer to indicate that it was complete. If they did not, they were not compensated. Of course, we had to check periodically to ensure they were not lying, and they were, for the most part, truthful. Occasionally, additional information was required, such as selecting the client from a drop-down menu or selecting specific services provided. To summarize, they were required to document every aspect of their work in order to be compensated.

We created reports on each of our employees’ work in order to keep a close eye on them. Some reports were made available to all employees, while others were restricted to specific employees. For instance, our service team was always aware of what the other was doing. Our sales team was constantly aware of who was selling what (with information restrictions like customer names, etc.). We assigned’senior’ employees to monitor their subordinates (particularly with regard to voice mail messages to ensure that phones were answered), creating a ‘virtual supervisor’ system.

As a result, we knew what our employees were doing at all times (and were aware that we were aware). True, as with any business, we had to let some people go and rehire, but for the most part, it worked *exceptionally* well. Our sales and operations were significantly superior to what they were, even while we were in the office. Everyone was accountable for their actions to the entire company. Good work was rewarded (mostly with money, but also with promotions), while poor (or non-existent) work was punished (sometimes with the loss of their fantastic ‘work at home’ job).

That small start-up company is still operating and struggling. I have reservations about the company’s overall business plan, but the virtual offices work *exceptionally well*; much better than I anticipated.

Since then, I have noticed that an increasing number of businesses are allowing employees to work from home. My friend works for a large ‘temp staffing’ company. She used to report to work every day. She now works full-time from home.

With today’s technology, it is certainly feasible, and in many cases, even practical, to operate a business ‘virtually,’ that is, without a central office.

115 thoughts on “The Virtual Office – Work From Home”

  1. Pingback: Blogging For Profit - How To Make Money Blogging - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  2. Pingback: The Top Ten Secrets Of Extremely Successful Entrepreneurs - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  3. Pingback: In A Changing Economy, Popcorn And Other Marketing Mistakes - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  4. Pingback: Ziglar Australia Publishes A Report On Sales Training Selection. - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  5. Pingback: The Symbolic Revolution - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  6. Pingback: Review Of Holly Mann's Ebook - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  7. Pingback: The Transitional Decision — To Lead, To Follow, Or To Get Out Of The Way - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  8. Pingback: Making Your Franchise Operation Successful - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  9. Pingback: Why Do Individuals Engage In Online Casino Activity? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  10. Pingback: Entrepreneurial Opportunities For Stay-at-Home Moms - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  11. Pingback: Is It Time To Invest In A Refurbished Forklift Fleet? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  12. Pingback: Wholesale Tea: An Untapped Market - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  13. Pingback: The Initial Ten Steps To Establishing A Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  14. Pingback: Establishing Your Own Enterprise - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  15. Pingback: Critical Considerations That Can Make Or Break Your Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  16. Pingback: The Importance Of Business Planning - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  17. Pingback: Create A Home Business For A Small Investment - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  18. Pingback: Increasing Profitability Of Health Clubs Through Retail - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  19. Pingback: How To Grow Your Small Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  20. Pingback: To Proceed Or Not To Proceed, That Is The Question - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  21. Pingback: Sloth Is The Seventh Of The Seven Deadly Sins Of Businesspeople. - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  22. Pingback: Solutions For Small Businesses At Home - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  23. Pingback: The Number One Killer In Corporate America: Ineffective Leadership - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  24. Pingback: Utilize Mystic Words To Increase Your Sales - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  25. Pingback: Discover The Secret To Avoiding The Income Roller Coaster - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  26. Pingback: How To Implement Credit Card Acceptance In Your Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  27. Pingback: The "Other" Resolution For The New Year - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  28. Pingback: Lenders And Investors — Five Methods For Developing A Personal Relationship - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  29. Pingback: To Obtain Business Capital Successfully, Every Business Requires A Coach - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  30. Pingback: Should You Hire Business Plan Writers?

  31. Pingback: Choosing A Rubber Stamp That Is Right For You - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  32. Pingback: Can Sluggish Growth Increase Outsourcing? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  33. Pingback: Should You Have Faith In Your Analyst? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  34. Pingback: Do You Need A Retail Merchant Account? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  35. Pingback: Acquire A Merchant Account For Credit Cards - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  36. Pingback: Constructing A Home Internet Business To Earn An Online Income - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  37. Pingback: Budgeting For A Trade Show - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  38. Pingback: Five Suggestions For Successful Joint Ventures - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  39. Pingback: Do Definitions Inform You On How To Improve Your Business? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  40. Pingback: Earn Money Online By Starting A New Online Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  41. Pingback: How To Earn "Quick Money" Online - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  42. Pingback: You'll Love Ordering Flowers Online For These 10 Reasons - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  43. Pingback: 5 Home Business Ideas For Housewives

  44. Pingback: Innovative Online Money-Making Strategies - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  45. Pingback: Planning For The New Year - Critical Success Factors - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  46. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide To Starting A New Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  47. Pingback: How You Can Take The First Step Toward Financial Independence - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  48. Pingback: Auditing Organizational Performance - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  49. Pingback: Merchant Accounts For Small Businesses - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  50. Pingback: Are You Eligible For Factoring? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  51. Pingback: How To Succeed In Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  52. Pingback: Do Not Be Afraid To Terminate Troublesome Customers - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  53. Pingback: How To Write A Business Plan For A Startup - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  54. Pingback: Five Strategies For Small Cap Companies To Attract Major Investors - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  55. Pingback: Ten Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Business In California - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  56. Pingback: Article Marketing Explained - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  57. Pingback: Affecting The Secured Loans Industry: Legislation And Regulatory Bodies - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  58. Pingback: Differentiate Yourself In Business The Write Way - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  59. Pingback: Factoring Receivables: A Simple Way To Free Up Cash From Unpaid Invoices - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  60. Pingback: Five Strategies To Assist You In Acquiring The Company From Your Boss - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  61. Pingback: Marketing Infoproducts: Put Your Brain In A Box! - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  62. Pingback: When Is The Best Time TO GO PUBLISH WITH YOUR COMPANY? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  63. Pingback: PRINTING AND DESIGNS FOR POSTCARDS - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  64. Pingback: Wholesale Distribution: Earn Money In The World's Best Business! - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  65. Pingback: Discounts On Wholesale Clothing For Your Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  66. Pingback: Is It Acceptable For Mothers To Work From Home? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  67. Pingback: Five Ways To Maintain Motivation In Your Work From Home Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  68. Pingback: 5 Things Your Children Will Learn From Starting A Business

  69. Pingback: The 5 Most Important Elements Of A Successful Home-Based Business

  70. Pingback: The Drawbacks Of A 50/50 Equity Business Partnership

  71. Pingback: Increase The Value Of Your Business By Utilising Computer Courseware. - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  72. Pingback: Business Audits Are Continually Improved - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  73. Pingback: Sales Training Tip – Retaining Top Sales Performers - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  74. Pingback: Expand Your Business By Identifying Your "Unknown" Organization - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  75. Pingback: With AdSense, You Can Earn Money Online For Free. - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  76. Pingback: Start A Hauling/Shopping/Taxi Business   - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  77. Pingback: How To Establish A Successful Online Business Through Affiliate Programs - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  78. Pingback: The Four Secrets To Wealth & Success - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  79. Pingback: The Cheesy Economy Of Switzerland - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  80. Pingback: Entrepreneurship: The Great American Dream Or A Nightmare? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  81. Pingback: The Benefits Of Outsourcing - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  82. Pingback: What Is A Reverse Merger, And Is It Suitable For Everyone? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  83. Pingback: The Benefits Of Using Reliable Sales Recruitment Services - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  84. Pingback: The Pleasure Of Establishing A New Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  85. Pingback: A Global Industry Of Significant Size - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  86. Pingback: Online Registration: 10 Success Secrets - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  87. Pingback: Think Small And Scale Up! - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  88. Pingback: Ten Reasons To Take Control And Become Your Own Boss. - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  89. Pingback: Excellent Hotel Marketing Begins With A Well-Designed Hotel Website - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  90. Pingback: Estimating The Construction Equipment Sales Market - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  91. Pingback: Establishing A Boutique - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  92. Pingback: Industrial Psychology And Acknowledgement - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  93. Pingback: 5 Crucial Home Business Advice To Achieve Financial Independence

  94. Pingback: Choosing An Inventory Software Solution That Is Appropriate For Your Business - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  95. Pingback: Is Public Relations Truly A "Soft" Discipline? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  96. Pingback: A Strategic Blueprint For Success: The Millionaire Master Plan - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  97. Pingback: System For Maintaining Attendance - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  98. Pingback: Expressing You! - Breathing Life Into Your Presentation - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  99. Pingback: Hypnotherapy For Business Development – Using Hypnosis To Lead - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  100. Pingback: You Can Self-publish Your Products. - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  101. Pingback: Suggestions For Exposing "Customer Hassles" - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  102. Pingback: 3 Crucial Secret Ingredients For Wholesale Profit Success

  103. Pingback: Is For Sale By Owner A Cost-Effective Strategy? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  104. Pingback: Is Now The Right Time To Consider Starting A Pet-Related Business? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  105. Pingback: Custom T-shirts And Which To Buy - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  106. Pingback: Public Relations' Critical Role - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  107. Pingback: The Beginner's Guide To Online Profitability, - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  108. Pingback: Advantages Of Virtual Assisting - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  109. Pingback: Be A Rich Jerk! - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  110. Pingback: An Entrepreneurial America - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  111. Pingback: Before Employing A Virtual Assistant, Consider The Following: - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  112. Pingback: The Significant Website Question: If You Build It, Will They Come? - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  113. Pingback: Run For Your Health, And Write For Your Prosperity - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  114. Pingback: Monitor The Competition To Remain On Top - Hire A Virtual Assistant

  115. Pingback: Today, There Are Five Excellent Reasons To Take Paid Surveys. - Hire A Virtual Assistant

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.