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Advances in IT making virtual offices a reality

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An increasing number of businesses are capitalising on recent advances in technology to set up virtual offices, it has been claimed.

According to corporate gifts provider 4imprint, the ability to work virtually is becoming “a more common trend in the work world today”.

The firm said more employers are trusting their employees to work remotely, rather than making them come into a centralised business headquarters every day.

They are also becoming more confident supervising virtual teams, ensuring workers can take advantage of the additional flexibility without productivity and output rates being affected.

A new report from 4imprint claims that almost one in five employees were able to work away from the office in 2010 – and this figure has further increased over the last 18 months.

Employees are using laptops, smartphones and media tablets to choose where they want to work – the widespread availability of broadband enabling them to operate as normal even if they are away from the office.

“The virtual trend has only grown in popularity over the years as more and more companies are beginning to take note and take part,” 4imprint stated.

“Instead of outfitting their team with fax machines and printers, managers are sending team members home with only laptops, internet connection and access to secure cloud-based servers. The work world is indeed changing.”

It said the concept of working virtually “has taken off with the birth of so many new technologies”.

Moves towards remote working have even enabled some businesses to downsize their offices – or get rid of them altogether.

They are able to use virtual office services for incoming mail and correspondence, getting around the problem of having no physical premises.