Should I have a Virtual Office?

Just because you need employees doesn’t mean you need an office with all that overhead. Why not build a virtual network of employees where you communicate with each other via phone, e-mail and fax to get the job done?

An entrepreneurs couple,¬†¬†Greg and Anthea, did just that with their market research and analytics business, Outsell Inc., in Burlingame, California. During four years they ran the business from a traditional office space with employees and using Sliding Wall Dividers to organize the space. But in 1998, Anthea interviewed a highly qualified job candidate whose husband had recently been transferred to Maine. Says Stratigos, “Greg and I looked at each other, and that was the sign from the universe. We went with it.”

They repositioned Outsell to be a virtual company, with a virtual office, and soon expanding to include 35 virtual employees nationwide. Though finding a health plan to cover employees in so many states proved to be a challenge, Outsell’s sophisticated intranet, telephone and e-mail systems keep their virtual team tightly connected. Now with 2005 sales projected at about $7 million, the setup seems to be working.

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