This chapter aims to define a plan for an international virtual office by exploring the problems that hamper communication within a virtual office. Four factors that contribute to miscommunication are explored: linguistics, culture, laws and regulations, and technology. Policies of practice are then offered to mitigate these factors, help increase the productivity, and avoid communication problems, personnel conflicts, and legal liability. Last, different stages of office evolution are discussed and the future trend of office is explored. The purpose of this chapter is to help establish a successful international virtual office as the virtual office is becoming the future trend of the business environment.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Idiomatic Expressions: The expressions used in everyday language in a specific culture, which is hard to understand by people from different cultures since the idioms cannot be translated word by word.
Low-Context Culture: Refers to a culture in which cultural behavior, beliefs, and so forth, need to be spelled out explicitly; for example: German culture.
High-Context Culture: Refers to a culture in which less is spelled out explicitly and much more is implicit or communicated in indirect ways because people have a great deal of commonality of knowledge and views; for example: Japanese culture.
VPN: Virtual Private Network, which is a private communications network to communicate confidentially over a public network on top of standard protocols. A VPN can send data across secured and encrypted private channels between two points. It is commonly used by telecommuters when they are away from the office.
E-Fax: Refers to E-mail/Internet fax by which people can get a real fax number tied to their e-mail and can receive and send faxes using the e-mail and the Internet without the fax machine and fax modem required.
Virtual Teams: Teams of workers consisting of members in remote locations who work together primarily through computer-mediated communication ( Robey et al., 2000 , p. 51).
Workscape: refers to the work environment in which people are expected to perform tasks and produce goods and services related to their profession.
International Virtual Office: Refers to a setting where people from various cultures are working together through online communication.
Telecommuting: Refers to the working module where people work away from the office workstation with the use of telecommunication technologies such as Internet, computers, telephones, and other advanced network technologies.
Metaphoric Expressions: The expressions in which a figure of speech is used so that a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison.