Virtual offices need receptionists too

Reading about the Grand Opening of PA Consulting’s Second Life office reminded me of our own impending move. Our agency has bought a century-old, bricks-and-mortar building, located on Wisconsin Ave. near Lake Michigan. Last Wednesday the team got a tour of the mid-renovation, construction-zone-cum-office-building.

When I read about the unique challenges of staffing a virtual office with a receptionist, I couldn’t help but think of the very different challenges we’re facing with placing the reception area in a part of the building that is both publicly accessible and able to accommodate the other physical needs of the space. Here’s an excerpt from the news item liked above, describing the unique requirements of putting out your shingle in cyberspace (including a payroll in Linden Dollars, the currency of the virtual world):

Claus Nehmzow, who leads PA’s Second Life initiative, admitted that he had never met, in real life, the people who designed and built PA’s virtual office. When it was decided to hire a receptionist to greet people at the virtual PA office, interviews were conducted in Second Life. He joked that he was waiting to find out what would happen when the human resources department discovers that he has hired a person without knowing their real name and that the receptionist avatar is being paid in Linden Dollars.

It’s taken us more than a year to plan our physical move. But somehow I suspect that PA Consulting’s branch office on a virtual patch of land wasn’t much quicker. Probably less dusty, though.

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One Reply to “Virtual offices need receptionists too”

  1. Placing our receptionist has actually proven to be one of biggest challenges in the entire project. I’m not joking.

    Issues include the extensive renovation cost additions compared to the overall project value.

    As important have been questions related to location and communication, as well as brand and identity.

    Taking the cake, however, is that we’re still awaiting approval from the city AND state for variance on an almost ludicrous code issue which would be unaffected by our plan to place it where it should be…in the foyer. It’s the only code breaking we’ve had to deal with in the entire project.

    In the end, though, I believe providing as much personal reception as possible is critical to a successful commercial experience, whether it’s coming into an office or logging onto a page.

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