Many very small firms and sole practitioners are experimenting with maintaining an office, but using it about as often as they work from other locations. This allows the solidity of a physical presence, while being almost as flexible as a totally virtual firm. Some professionals I’ve profiled in our Productivity in Practice series who operate this way include CPAs Michael Hsu, Kara Haas, Chad Bordeaux, Elizabeth Davis and William Miranda.
And even in practices with 15-20 staff, there’s a successful variation on this option. At this staff level, there are undoubtedly some professionals who are more production-focused, who rarely, if ever, meet with clients and who are already doing most of their work collaboration with other staff via electronic means, such as email and portals. If half of such a firm’s staff were encouraged to work from a home office, it would allow the practice to downsize its physical office footprint.
The virtual office may not be everywhere yet, but it is here. For those who embrace it, there are numerous benefits, but it’s not for every firm or for every client base. Ecommerce revolutionized many aspects in the retail space, but it did not eliminate the need for the brick and mortar business. And the physical tax & accounting office won’t disappear anytime soon. It’s simply a new option for SaaS-inclined, on-the-go professionals.