|The Virtues of a Virtual Office|
It’s all about efficiency. Gathering a group of people in an office building to carry out their work, essentially manipulation and dissemination of information has certain benefits. The office gives them a sense of team-spirit, it is easy to cooperate and allocate the right person to the right task. The office is, to quote the infamous Michael Scott of Scranton, “like a family”. This efficiency of a well-run office might still be unbeatable in certain fields, yet in the context of international cooperation, specialized knowledge work, and all-encompassing social media, it just can’t beat the virtual crowd.
My office is a coffeeshop, or rather a cluster of coffeeshops somewhere thirty kilometers south of Seoul. I enjoy a speedy megabit internet connection which enables me to do web development, translations, transcriptions, blogging, and send out a constant stream of competitive job applications, skype calls as well as reseach for my non-profit smart-tech/arts project . Working hours are 11am – 2am, with breaks in between. The arabica is very good and easily fuels a full day of work.
The only downside is probably the repetitive music that hardly ever changes but I have learned to ignore that. Can you compare the overhead costs of a heated office workplace – even a minimized cubicle – with my overhead: occupying a seat in the café when and only when others are available for more zealous cafeine consumers. Point in case: my overhead is zero, my net footprint is limited to the electricity consumption of a small laptop, an equal share in the coffee and information supply chain, the CO2 my body produces during the five minute walk here, and the water I use to flush the urinoir during a leaking break.
Now compare this to the footprint of the average office worker – I don’t need to compile that list. The virtual office is more compatitive than ever and as it gains popularity and recognition it will become the standard. Traditional offices simply won’t be able to compete.