Connecting with coworkers beyond the office is not a new concept – one that dates back far before the advent of social networking. Connections between employees of the same organization have never been strictly based in the office – with discussions about business taking place over dinner, at a sporting event, or the phone. Many employees are friends, both on Facebook and in-person.
Google Brings New Meaning to Virtual Office
Google+ is taking this concept one step further with the introduction of what it refers to as a virtual office service, which allows employees to connect with each other through the popular social networking platform. This news comes from Google’s enterprise division, which focus on developing Google products for business, such as Google Drive for Business.
Most social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ – have personal information such as employment and personal information such as contact information. Google+’s virtual office concept makes it easier to find your coworkers on Google+ by labeling with their title within the organization, making it easy to identify the right decision-makers when having conversations over Google+. The labels for each person are only visible to employees within the organization, so they can make sure they’re posting to the right person – a good feature to have with so many common names that can be mistaken. Employees can then share files, or participate in video conferences, using the Google+ Hangout feature.
Virtual Office Still Has Traditional Roots
Of course, the term “virtual office” in this instance, is a bit misleading. “Virtual office” usually refers to address services at a location, phone reception and mail delivery to a prominent Manhattan business address, giving a professional address to freelancers, small teams, and virtual teams. New York City virtual office services don’t focus as much on teams working together, as simply providing the physical address. Google+’s service does provide an interesting new approach to sharing information and connecting with coworkers virtually – and it will be interesting to see if it becomes an accepted medium of business communication in the coming months.