OnionBusiness was intrigued by our recent interview with Rick Greener of Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID – and points far beyond.
In fact, that’s the reason we were intrigued. Rick said he and his staff are given mobility by virtue of communications – they are part of a “virtual office,” with the capability of conducting business via technology from virtually anywhere. Rick himself once sold a load of onions from a chairlift.
With one of our country’s biggest holidays coming up the middle of next week, with millions of people either traveling or at home but by and large not in their mortar and brick offices, we thought we’d explore the topic and look at some numbers.
We’ll start with our own. Every week between 57 and 63 percent of our subscribers are reading the OnionBusiness newsletter or visiting www.onionbusiness.com on their mobile devices. No matter which number you take, more than half of our thousands of readers are on phone or tablet and not at a stationary computer.
A recent study released by Zug, Switzerland, office provider IWG claims 70 percent of professionals telecommute at least once a week and 53 percent work from a remote location three days a week. Additional figures are available for reading at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/30/70-percent-of-people-globally-work-remotely-at-least-once-a-week-iwg-study.html
Those numbers got our attention for sure, because since OnionBusiness started publishing in 2015 we’ve taken advantage of just about every mobile device available, including backing up to the Cloud (of course), editing and formatting on tablets and setting up transmission on mobile devices as well. OB Publisher Sherise Jones has on more than one occasion used her phone’s Personal Hotspot to post our Thursday early morning newsletter from a remote mountain lake region in northern Idaho.
In addition to a virtual office, many professionals rely on virtual assistants. A terrific explanation of virtual assistants is at
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3741017,00.html, where this was posted:
“What can the Virtual personal assistant do for you? The list expands as the technology moves forward. The smart assistant can locate information online, organize your calendar and set appointments, display a variety of alerts and reminders, activate apps while you drive, and connect with other smart devices, such as IoT electronics. In the past, virtual assistants were backed by simple programs, capable of basic voice recognition. Nowadays, these assistants run on advanced AI and natural language processing technologies. These enable the assistant to understand natural speech and answer just like a human being.”
VAs are actually a few years old, and with the monikers of Siri and Alexa they’re part of our smartphone/devices/speakers’ software. The “smart speaker” is activated just by saying its name. A little creepy, yes, but most smartphone users and even nearly every grade school kid knows how to elicit the appropriate response from one of these assistants.
There are several upshots from virtual officing, both positive and not-so positive. In https://www.strategy-business.com/article/Virtually-Alone-Real-Ways-to-Connect-Remote-Teams?gko=147ef the author looks at the downside, which is a lack of human interaction. While conference calling does keep coworkers connected to issues and tasks, virtual socialization can be awkward.
Team-building, fostering empathy and spontaneity are key, but habits might need changing. Fascinating read.
One very big plus is boots-on-the-ground flexibility, with salespeople providing real-time info and documentation of products. And there’s not nearly the likelihood of missing a call or an email.
And one can only imagine what we’ll be saying in another five years, right, Siri?
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