The virtual workplace is a kissing cousin of the virtual retailer. How are they related?
Both are complex, adaptive systems with the ability to rapidly expand or contract based on demand. Both employ sophisticated methods of train workers fast
– to the characteristics of a new product or service being launched, or;
– to a crisis with particular characteristics.
Example: run a TV ad. Then hire 50 virtual workers from a virtual workplace provider – to take the calls, and respond to the demand.
A virtual workplace is a workplace without a physical home. Employees can work, but not at the employer’s office.
A virtual retailer is a retailer without of physical home. A consumer can shop, but not at the retailer’s physical store.
Both depend on internet and telecommunication platforms.
A virtual call center is an example of a virtual workplace. Companies like LiveOps and Working Solutions create virtual cultures for their employees to thrive, while at the same time creating virtual solutions for companies whose needs for call center services are best met in this way. Co-working facilities are in the business of attracting employees of the virtual workplace.
Amazon is an example of a virtual retailer.
Of course, the world is not generally one or the other.
A virtual workplace can be supplemental to a physical workplace, and provides employment to those who cannot or will not come to the physical place of work. It provides important services to the employer, which the employer gladly pays for.
A virtual retailer can be supplemental to a physical retailer, and provides a shopping experience to those who cannot of will not come to the physical retailer. It provides an important service to the consumer, which the consumer gladly pays for.
The post on on-line work (http://johncreid.com/2017/11/on-demand-work/) raises a fundamental question: is the virtual workplace replacing the physical workplace?
Think about it. Amazon passed &100 billion in revenue in 2016. Apple’s market cap just passed $900 billion. Independent contractors now outnumber employees. Co-working facilities are exploding while company workplaces are static. Telecommuting was a phenomenon touching a few in the eighties, while today 4 million Americans telecommute, up 115% since 2005 (https://2017-State-of-Telecommuting US/)
Its too early to say for sure, but the trends suggest that the virtual retailer and the virtual workplace will grow faster than the physical retailer and physical workplace.
These trends will accelerate as excellent broadband services because the rule rather then the exception (broadband is the sine qua non of these two mega-trends).
They also will accelerate as companies learn to trust the specialized skill set of virtual employers like LiveOps. They will trust more and more their ability to jump in on behalf of a client, to solve their problem, to design solutions that can rapidly expand and contract based on demand – deploying virtual workers as needed to solve the problem.