Sample Research Paper on Pros and Cons of a Virtual Workplace

Virtual Workplaces

Pros and Cons of a Virtual Workplace

A virtual workplace refers to a working environment that does not have a specific physical location. It is typically a network of various workplaces technologically connected through Internet to various geographical regions. Therefore, workers are in a position to work together in a collaborated environment irrespective of their locations globally (Murray and Mohamed 20). “Organizations benefit from virtual workplaces basing on the ability to select their staff regardless of geographical boundaries” (Brahm 1).

Pros of Virtual Workplaces

There are various companies that have decided to use the virtual workplaces and this is associated with the following benefits:

Reduced expenses for Employees

Virtual workplaces will reduce the cost of transport and time as compared with going to work in an office. “For employees, the biggest advantage in remote working (noted in the KGWI by 69% of US respondents, 69% of EMEA workers, and 63% of APAC respondents) was the fact that not having to go to an office every day minimizes the time and money they spend commuting”( Linda 1).

Increased Productivity

The use of virtual workplace results in an increase in productivity because the major focus of employees is business related projects basing on only one system. Additionally, collaboration among the members of the team is made easy (Murray and Mohamed 22). “For instance, a study by academics at Stanford University and Beijing University found Chinese call-center workers who stayed home took fewer breaks and worked more efficiently. Allowing employees to work from home can also lower a company’s costs–especially for real estate, given the reduced need for office space” (Shah 1).

With the use of the Internet, completion of projects is made easy and effective hence saving time. The most significant aspect is that consumer needs are met easily with the use of a virtual workplace because it is easy for them to access various organizations (Murray and Mohamed 20). Studies indicate that there was an increase in the level of frequency for workers who were telecommuting from 41.3 million to 44.4 million in 2003 and 2004 respectively, which was a growth rate of 7.5% (Telecommuting statistics 1).

Attraction and Retainment of Value Talents

There is need for employees to be flexible at their workplace. Industries that use virtual work will attract and maintain high talented individuals, especially those who value being flexible. Employees that are highly talented have higher chances of managing their time and balancing their private life and work. It also enable them to work at their convenient time and stay in their preferred locations. Firms can also recruit talented employees irrespective of their locations.

Building Organizations that better react to changes

One is not restricted to traditional working hours when it comes to virtual jobs. Workers whose flexibility of virtual workplace is significant are willing to work over normal working hours. On the other hand, firms are able to adapt to the changing business conditions and can organize work between various business units and varied time zones (Murray and Mohamed 20). It also offers access to international markets, and presents a domestic face to the international market.

Cons of Virtual Workplaces

The cons of virtual workplaces can result in many problems in execution of virtual work organization and result in negative organizational and business effects.

Price of Establishment and Maintenance of a Virtual Workplace

For each worker who telecommutes, there are expenses for procurement of equipments and extra expenses for annual software upgrade. There are also other expenses associated with virtual offices, for instance, online materials, databases on customers and products, and indexed, atomized, and centralized files. ICT is the most significant aspect of virtual workplaces. Additionally, managers should also put into consideration incremental expenses associated to establishment and maintenance of virtual workplaces.

Loss of Efficiency

When costly services or equipments are concentrated in one place, majority of workers can access it as compared with a situation where they are distributed in various places. Majority of individuals can access stock quotas on the Internet with a delay of 15 minutes. On the other hand, traders and brokers who quote prices for their customers must be exactly in a second (Kingl 54). Therefore, majority of the firms like Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg offer the services in real-time manner. These firms are ready to install their system on sites that a client prefers. Taking into consideration the expenses of first installation and monthly expenses for installation of every extra system on a similar location, it becomes cheaper to have all workers in one place as compared with them being in different locations.

Lack of focus

A virtual team can only be successful if all its members are focused on the responsibilities of the organization. It becomes a challenge to manage a virtual team, especially when members do not see one another. To avoid sluggishness in work, there is a need to clearly define the aims, deadlines, and responsibilities of every worker (Davisl and Steven 45).

Organizational Changes

There is a need for an organization to have changes in its methods of work. Every firm must be in a position to assess its capability of managing these changes.

Increased costs

A virtual workplace is very costly to the company, especially when it comes to installing software to ensure that all users are able to access the company’s information.

Trends and statistics in Virtual Workplaces

A study carried out in the United States indicated that there was a 63% increase in the number of Americans who were allowed by their employers to work remotely, from 7.6 million to 12.4 million in 2004 and 2006 respectively. In 2005, approximately 22.2 million United States employees worked out of office or at home once per week. It was also approximated that 100 million laborers were telecommuting by 2010 (Telecommuting statistics 1).

Generational Differences

In majority of the organizations, traditionalist workers are expected to work remotely with other workers. It is significant for managers to give correct instructions to traditionalists, especially for the first time. Majority of them are lazy and may not complete the assigned work in time. Additionally, because they are not in a position to express their commitment to work, they are supposed to be informed on how the organization and managers will evaluate their success. Traditionalists believed that work is supposed to be completed in office and one should go to the office on a daily basis for eight or more hours. This has forced the current traditionalist leaders to change their styles of management. This is because the traditional methods of managing an organization and workers no longer work when workers are spread all over the globe.

Baby boomers support the virtual concept and they are willing to be active members who add value to the team. They believe that they should be allowed to work at home because of their age and this should serve as a reward for their services. International virtual teams have become a requirement for the baby boomers to adapt. They always make sure that they build good interrelationships if they are not in a position to meet face to face.

Generation X and Y are very fast when it comes to becoming accustomed to virtual team environments. Generation x are very effective leaders of virtual teams. Their major focus is the quality of work that is delivered and the time of delivery (Shah 1).

Generation Ys have been actively involved in virtual teams for most of their lives. They are very contented with remote working and have created good relationships with individuals they rarely meet face to face. On the other, some of the generation Ys may not be at ease in using online communication tools.

The millennial support the virtual workplace. This is because they prefer communicating using virtual communicating tools or on social media like twitter and Face book. Although the young employees are less likely like the former generations to be actively involved in the workforce, the current youth have strong views about the workplace, for instance, the outlook of the environment and the manner in which it should operate. In most cases, millennial want to be informed about the organization by their managers. A virtual environment will be very effective because the communication process will be very easy. Millennial may pose a challenge to a virtual team because majority of them do not have prevalence for work. Additionally, most of them are not interested in money and therefore may not be good team players (Bergstrom 370).

Effects of a Virtual Workplace

Team building is very significant for a company because it will be in a position to attain its objectives. Basing on the fact that the employer does not interact face to face with their workers, virtual team building can assist in achieving the set objectives. Furthermore, employees experience little stress when they carry out their duties from their homes (Brahm and Florian 595)

Working remotely also has various benefits to the company, for instance, it improves customer service. A company that employs virtual teams results in an improvement in the satisfaction of their clients. Each company has its own bottom line objectives and if there is cooperation among the virtual, the set objectives of the company definitely improve.

Remote working is very significant because it improves the image of a company. It can increase the productivity of the company and this can be done through creating awareness of the significance of the business. Companies that allow its workers to work remotely have experienced improved employee retention (Geography Is Alive and Well in Virtual Teams 24).          The company may also be in a position to enlarge talent pools of its workers irrespective of their geographical places. Research further indicates that remote working reduces the level of absenteeism. This is because they have enough time to do other things for instance time to exercise.

Tools and Technology in a Virtual Environment

The communication tools and technology required to make the virtual environment successful include conference call, NetMeeting, WebEx, VPN, Skype, and telepresence.

Conference Calls

A virtual environment will be successful if phone calls are made between various parties. It also entails various methods like audio-speaker phone that enables every person who is present to participate in a single call. Video digital transmission that enables the interaction between the audio and video, and Web-Network that is used when desktop applications are similar on both ends, and this enabled customers to view products.


This communication tool will be significant because it will use the Internet to form teleconference groups. It also allows users to work together in real time over the Internet, including communication between clients, sharing of applications among conference members, sharing of files, and transferring applications. This tool can only work if there is a computer using software like windows XP with internet. It also needs particular NetMeeting software.


It enables virtual teams to hold meetings web and video conferencing. It enables users to access programs, emails, and files from mobile phones, desktop, and laptop. It can also enable participants to access services irrespective of their location.

Virtual private Network (VPN)

This tool makes use of a personal computer data network that uses the public network. It enables the user to connect his computer with that of the company making it easier for communication process to take place from any location. It can also help the company in reducing costs. An individual can only access any information from the company if he has a user name and a password.


It is a social networking software that enables one to make calls through the Internet. It enables users to make calls through either the mobile phone or landline anywhere across the globe. It also allows transfer of files, instant messaging, chatting online, and video conferencing. One of the advantages of this tool is that it has book marking that keep records of all conversations or open forums. It enables voice mail messages, and picking calls when offline or busy (Davis and Steven 42). For one to use this tool, he/she should download the software, have an email id and a password. This tool will make the virtual environment successful because users will be in a position to communicate effectively.


It refers to a group of technologies that enables an individual to feel as if they are in a different place. It transmits the movements, position, and voice of the user to the remote location. It also allows a similar transfer for both ends hence permitting conversation (Albert 2). It also allows an individual to attend a meeting without necessarily having to travel from one place to the other. There is no training required for one to use a telepresence implying that the company will incur no extra costs to train its workers. There will be a need for the company to install good lighting and screens with speakers (Davis and Steven 35).


It provides a 3D virtual environment that boosts learning or trade collaboration. It also allows participants in a meeting to communicate using their natural voices. Individuals in the same room can be in a position to communicate, and share videos and music in a similar fashion (Bergstrom 360).

In conclusion, virtual workplaces are very significant to both the employer and the employee. Majority of the business organizations are adopting because it is associated with various advantages for instance increased productivity. With the use of technology, most managers will want to recruit employees globally to create a pool of talents hence promoting remote working. Although team building may be a key challenge with remote working, it is significant for managers to use appropriate strategies to build virtual teams.

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