Companies can save money by virtualizing a part of their work force. This reduces office space, furniture, and utility costs. Workers do not need a place to sit - they sit at home. They do not need a work area to shuffle paper, as everything is accomplished electronically. They use the same data center servers and internal network as before. The one difference is the potential need for a higher capacity network connection from the data center to the outside world.
The metrics for a virtual work force savings are:
▲ The company is improving its Green contribution. The company may be able to claim the number of miles each person no longer drives round trip to work daily as a carbon credit, since their action have reduced emissions.
▲ The place of work becomes secondary to work performance. Big offices in areas with high rents can be exchanged for smaller facilities.
Depending on your virtual strategy, a few smaller offices can be maintained in low rent areas for occasional face-to-face meetings.
▲ Less office space is needed. If office work space is in short supply, this is a good thing. If your company owns its building and there are plenty of empty seats, then this is not an advantage. The loaded cost for office space, furniture, and so on may be as high as $75 per square foot. (Remember that utilities run around the clock in all seasons.) Remember that floor space that sits idle is still a cost. It must be released to the landlord or used for another company purpose for true savings to be realized.
▲ A prorated amount of the company's utility bill. For example, if floor space is reduced by 10%, then this effort might claim an amount equal to 10% of the company's utility bills.
▲ Reducing office furnishings may lower your local property tax burden.
▲ A wider labor pool is available. Instead of being restricted to local people, talented people can be hired almost anywhere,- so long as they meet your technical conditions.
▲ A virtual work force enables the gainful employment of homebound people who have much to contribute but find it difficult to commute to a job every day.
▲ A virtual work force may earn a company valuable tax credits by recruiting its workers from economically depressed areas, such as Appalachia. The difference in pay between city workers and those farther out in the sunshine may be significant.
Figure 12 - 2 illustrates how eliminating the need to commute potentially opens employment opportunities to homebound people, no matter where they live.
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