Creative Tips for Running a Business Without a Central Office
by Jenna Smith
When most think of businesses, they imagine offices, meetings and memos. Increasingly, however, more businesses are moving their activities online and using a decentralized model that eliminates the need for a main office.
Although many still view this model as radical, the technology exists to help make this vision a reality. Here are some of the technologies that enable what some envision as the future of business.
Email is a great tool to communicate, but it is not sufficient for the type of communication that businesses need to work effectively. Fast broadband connections, high-quality video hardware and clever software are able to replicate the standard business model.
Business that adopt the decentralized model are using audio conference calling and virtual meetings to communicate in a manner similar to that of standard offices, and communication platforms encourage staff communication. Document sharing and visual tools fill the gap that older methods of Internet communication lacked.
New platforms allow businesses to plan and track projects in real time. These platforms enable employees to log their activities and work on files in a central location. Changes are documented instantly, and version control allows managers to view how documents change over time.
Further, chat capabilities and integration with tools used for communication help employees work together wherever they are located. Many of these platforms function as a web app, so users simply need a standard web browser and Internet access to work.
The cloud paradigm allows businesses to use a centralized data store for their business purposes. It also take the centralization a step further and serves applications over a network. Businesses can use these platforms to allow workers to access business programs and software from anywhere.
In conjunction with collaboration platforms, cloud programs can be used to accomplish tasks that typically demand an office computer. With the increasing speed of Internet connections, advanced network deliver methods and good software design, cloud platforms can replicate a typical office experience through a web browser.
Working without a centralized located places demands on employees. Working from home requires self-discipline and the ability to work in a solitary environment. The benefits of being able to hire employees across the nation, however, let employers to hire talented employees without having to worry about where they are located. While many business will continue to operate from a centralized location, certain projects can be best accomplished over the Internet.