Why You Need Your Own Virtual Office
38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc.’s Executive Programs
Regardless of whether you are a solo professional or are employed by a large organization, the complexity surrounding how, when, and where you practice your trade is blurring. Increasingly, companies are reluctant to provide knowledge based staff with a fixed desk or office, or as Gartner points out, even with a computer or mobile device. Companies are now focusing their staff’s attention on generating meaningful results. So no matter what work environment you are in, the reality is that you are a solo contributor, bringing your own tools to the job. And how you manage your business day, is up to you.
When it comes to managing your business day, four major trends are emerging.
- Availability– Being readily available, often during extended business hours, is mandatory. This is especially true, if you travel internationally or have international business partners. I often rise early or work late to take calls from the east coast, Asia or Europe.
- Handles– How people contact you is changing as well. The notion of having a numeric phone number is quickly becoming obsolete. So is having one number for work and having another one for personal use. Real-time communications is quickly converging on methods that use alphanumeric “Handles” to identify people and provide process logic to control who sees you as being available at any given moment. Skype and Jell’s JustKnock service are great examples of this. As you move from one job to another your Handle never changes. Again, that fits within the notion that you are your own employer and your Handle, contacts, and professional reputation (per LinkedIn) are your property. Apps on your laptop, tablet or smartphone “ring” when someone using your Handle wants to communicate with you.
- Tasks– Managing your daily “to do” list is also becoming complex. Merging self-assigned tasks, with those of customers, vendors, and co-workers often requires using several systems. The simple act of scheduling calls, given that you are rarely in the same place at the same time, or that you are probably dealing with multiple time zones, can be a nightmare.
- Real-Time Video– Perhaps the most significant emerging trend is the rapid rise of real-time video communications for business purposes. Your communications choice set now consists of a myriad of mediums including; email, text, voice, numerous proprietary messaging systems, and real-time video. Each has its own use, but just as text is replacing email, voice only conversations are being supplanted by real-time video chats. There are a number of reasons why, but the three most compelling are attention, commitment, and technology. With real-time video both parties have each other’s full attention. In addition, the exchange of ideas can flow more naturally as video adds the human element to the conversation. Without video it’s difficult to establish a personal connection. Second, real-time video requires the commitment of time to the subject matter. Video is an immersive event, generally signifying the subject matter is of high-value to both parties. Lastly, improvements in technology have made real-time video chats easy to set-up and available to everyone. All laptops, tablets, and phones, (and soon HDTVs) now have terrific embedded webcams. Combined with the availability of high-speed internet access and advances in video centric software, video chats are now capable of providing a high quality, immersive, communications experience.
So why do you need a video enabled virtual office to help manage your business interactions?
For the past decade there have been relatively few advances in the feature set for business oriented video chat services. Most services just wrap a different user interface around the same feature set. At Jell Networks, we are re-thinking the world of enterprise real-time video communications by incorporating business logic and advanced features into our real-time video communications services using Google’s webRTC framework. Our starting point uses an innovative approach, represented by our JustKnock℠ service. JustKnock provides an individual with a virtual office that mimics how a physical office works. For individuals who work in a virtual, mobile environment, JustKnock give them a secure office, which makes it easy for people to contact them and present ideas (slide decks) via a synchronized ShareBoard. Their JustKnock Handle lets people contact them on any device, anywhere. So why do you need a virtual office? Because we work in a virtual world where each individual takes responsibility for managing their 24 hour, world-wide business day.
JustKnock is a free service, designed for high-value 1on1 virtual meetings. Future versions will incorporate an advanced feature set designed to empower knowledge based mobile professionals who need to work productively in today’s virtual world. To register for a free account visit www.justknock.net.