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Hello, and welcome to this tutorial on virtual options in business today. Now as always with these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need in order to get the most out of the time that you're going to spend here. So let me ask you a question. How is it that business has changed in your lifetime?
What are those things? What are those practices that you've noticed that business is doing differently now than they did just a few years ago? Well during this lesson, what we're going to be looking at are virtual options. We're also going to be looking at working accommodations that are empowered by the technology that surrounds us. The key terms for this lesson are going to be flex time programs, telecommuting, portable offices, intranet, extranet, wide area network, and local area network.
So virtual options. The thing about virtual options is important now, especially in a globalized community like we live in to have a virtual presence for a business. Now not only is this a relevant option for organizations today, but it's almost required in a global business world that we live in now today.
Back a few years ago-- well, more than a few years ago, about 1992 or so, Pizza Hut started allowing people to order their pizzas from an online source. This created that virtual presence beyond just having a web page for advertising for businesses. Now what this did was it really drove e-commerce forward. And it also, simply because it was on the worldwide web, it gave Pizza Hut a presence in the virtual world that it didn't have before.
And really helped drive their brand and their business. Like I said, this can create global opportunity. Simply because you're on the worldwide web, now people from all over the globe have access to you as customers, and also potential employee.
Let's take a look at some of the vocabulary here. The first one is intranet. This is the non-public network of an organization that employees can gain entry to, via the internet. So this is something that's closely held within an organization.
And while employees can access it through the internet, not everybody can. It's protected from the general public. This makes it much easier for employees to access internal information that those employees and those employees only, really need to have in order to do their jobs well. And this is very important for virtual organizations, especially in order to structure and manage their business.
So the next one we're going to look at is extranet. And an extranet is a controlled networked that allow specific users from outside an organization to access part or all of an organization's intranet. And this is a case where customers can access the product or service that they want to use or buy from an external source for external use.
The next we want to look at is a local area network, or LAN, L-A-N. It's a group of computers that are networked within a limited physical location, such as a building or a very, very small geographic area. What this does is it allows companies to connect different workers throughout the organization and have pretty sensitive information within it that they don't necessarily want to risk getting out into the outside world.
A wide area network, on the other hand, is a group of computers that are networked in a large area, and includes several local area networks. So if I have a larger company with a larger base or a larger footprint, I can use a wide area network to connect those local area networks together. Again, this is something that is strictly internal to a company, and we really don't want folks from outside, or an internet user, to get ahold of these things, but it allows me to share data across a wide area, geographically. It's also known as a WAN, or W-A-N.
The working accommodations that have been affected by the virtual community include things like flextime programs. Now flextime program is a program that allows employees to set their own work hours, within some guidelines. Now what this does is it really helps improve employee morale. I'm not tied necessarily, to nine to five or eight to four at a particular work site.
It allows for job satisfaction with workers because they can adjust their schedule to fit with other things in their life. For instance, picking up the kids or running errands around the town that I need to be able to do in order to live. And if I had a set schedule, I wouldn't be able to do this. Like I said, this really does help with greater job satisfaction for an employee.
The next we want to look at is telecommuting. Now telecommuting is a work agreement where employees can perform their job duties from a remote location. Again, this really does help with employee morale. And it allows for greater job satisfaction with employees because it allows workers to not have to commute to work.
I'm not wasting that hour to an hour and a half every day one way, and an hour and a half coming back home, just trying to get to my desk to do my work. I'm putting a less congestion on the street, I'm using less natural resources, and I'm able to be more productive and flexible with my time, because I don't have to go to a physical location. And this is all driven through things like the intranet, local area and wide area networks within a company that employees can then have access to.
So portable offices, well that's a specific laptop computer that recreates the business environment for the purpose of work. Now these can also help improve employee morale, because it allows for people to work remotely and not have any deficit as far as what's available to them within a work environment. If there are proprietary programs that I have to use on the computers, I can recreate that work experience on a laptop, and allow people to then telecommute or use these in flextime schedules.
So what is it we talked about today? Well, we looked at those virtual options that are available for businesses today. And we also looked at some worker accommodations like telecommuting and portable offices that really help drive employee satisfaction and morale, and ultimately help improve the efficiency of the business. As always, I want to thank you for spending some time with me today. You folks have a great day.