Linking Remote Offices
It wasn't that long ago that it was difficult to coordinate business activities with satellite offices. Most of the operations were run from a central location and remote work locations had to keep in contact by phone and fax and even postal mail to keep operations running. Early internet services such as email helped the situation but workers in offsite locations often felt outside the loop.
As fiber optic services have spread beyond internet backbones to become common in office environments, the lines between local and distant work locations have become blurred. Fast internet communications and the integration of technologies from video conferencing to simple instant messaging mean that it's hard to tell if your colleague is next door, across town, or on another continent.
The Rise of Home Offices
Fiber optic services aren't just the domain of business communications anymore. Many telecommunications companies are running fiber optic cables not just to people's neighborhoods, but right into their homes. Homes are now being built with fiber optic connections right in the walls to facilitate consumer technologies such as movies on demand.
This surge in consumer-oriented fiber optic services is providing employers with realistic options for allowing more workers to telecommute. A worker can plug his laptop into a docking station at home just as easily as at the office. Employees who don't have to start the day sitting in traffic are happier, more productive people.
Fiber Optics Isn't Just About Computer Networks
While many people think of fiber optic services as the domain of fast internet, fiber optics also make telephone communication easier and more convenient. Businesses are finding that VoIP is not only a cost effective replacement for traditional phone networks but are embracing the flexibility it offers their operations.
IP phones can be plugged in anywhere and are used just like traditional phones. A customer calls an employee and that same number rings through whether the employee is at the office, at home, or in a hotel a thousand miles away. Greater bandwidth means clearer communication and the widespread deployment of fiber optic services ensures that there are few places in the country that can't give clear VoIP service.
While fiber optic networks may not allow all businesses to adopt virtual office structures - your auto mechanic can't fix your car over the internet (yet) - there is a huge array of business services that can abandon the expensive and inefficient traditional office model in favor of a more flexible company structure.