Reviews

Book Review
Lynn Osborne, Ad Management Insights, Arlington, VA

“There was a day when every small business owner dreamed of expanding out of his/her home offices and into “legitimate” office space. Troy’s book “Flex” turns that idea upside down by demonstrating that going virtual gives the savvy business owner the advantage when it comes to productivity and cost efficiency. Troy shows that, for many, it is a much smarter business model. “Flex” is a must-read for anyone who is looking for a better way to do business in today’s competitive environment.

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Book Review of Pat Troy’s Virtual Office Manifesto “œFlex”
Patricia Truitt, Severna Park, MD

Business techie readers will thoroughly enjoy Pat Troy’s much awaited book “€œFlex;The Virtual Office Advantage, 12 Principles for a Successful Virtual Office Transition”. The only problem with the title is that with a long established visionary Pat Troy, the topic far surpasses the realm of office and is a manifesto for success for the modern global citizen or business traveler. Troy’s book is a “must read” for anyone who wants to get organized, run a successful business, career, education, family, or author their own books. This a book that can help your life from the professional to the personal level, while putting high tech terminology into user friendly terms with a real life story.

The book begins with a description of the sagging beast of old school business models, one where the office space and the people within it are overdue of for a complete restructure of efficiency. The book discusses legendary Maryland publishing entity of Bay Media, managing winner Next Wave Group and Facet€™sWoman, three winning tickets of Troy’€™s own invention. She opens the door for readers to look in to total renovation and the perks of several decades of lessons well learned. The story takes us deep into her revision of her own businesses, her shedding of worn out applications, meanwhile remodeling employee interactions, meetings, all online communications, and at the same time, and saving giant bucks. What happens to the most interior and important of business rooms–the board room?

The first surprise in the book starts with the question: how can a national and local disaster be the springboard for radical change? Troy’s need to protect her companies post 9/11 and hurricane instead of dampening her frontier, it widens the gap between her and other local businesses by making the virtual office a strength, and then a model to be passed on. For technological pioneers, without a costly physical overhead, cuts in costs are welcomed by clients, who are eager for price breaks in our ever competitive market. Employees can work overlapping shifts, and clients can have 24/7 connections country wide. Troy goes on to write that as long as there are the right people in a business, the self sustaining and constantly changing technology is our new reality, and there is no reason to linger in the days of attachment to rented office space when work can be done on a laptop in a home or hotel room anywhere in the world. For office devotees frightened to make the break, Troy’s encouragement points the way to essential virtual success by insisting that our employees and contractors must have basic office productivity software, and everyone must have high speed Internet access to use our various web applications. Interchangeability is the Rosetta stone of success.

Troy proves how the virtual office can be a great conduit for enhanced employee production, time saved in transportation, less internal conflict and much more efficient meetings, as time is not wasted in large groups without focus. Just how much time and money to save on leasing contracts, repairing printers, snow removal and water coolers, not to mention insurance, taxes and moving, storage and legal expense? She walks the reader through how to make the dreaded exit list and do the foot work. It may not be for everyone, but what was impossible ten years ago is fully sustainable with a trusted work force and up to date understanding of programs, social networks, and Twitter, without needing a suite of rooms. Troy emphasizes that a virtual office is no less real than four manicured walls, taking full use of the freed up time once used in transit and carrying computers home to back up files, as freed up time to produce higher quality products.

A jewel within Principle 5 is Troy’s deliberate strategy of file hierarchy, where we learn about the coveted action files, including Attend, Meeting, Hot, Projects. She also writes about a special desktop mailbox called now and the net that catches all the ideas jockeying for position, ones for her hands personally, and ones others attend to. The biggest enemies of time- trash, ill handled email and paper files. In this book, we can take the steps to a paperless future. Troy gives us specific directions for how to scan and store all records without even a scrap of paper, by accounts of her own clutter busters. We take the journey through the equipment graveyards and storage bins with her and the good news is–it just might save you or your company thousands of hours and dollars.

What was surprising was how little Troy listed in her virtual toolbox to create world class business products. The essential “virtuoso” can start without the costliest products, but certainly items like the net book, printer, iphone/VoIP, fax,copier, camera, LCD Projector, sound system, recording pen and a phone card for computer, but she can short cut even some of these. She gives special instructions about IT staff that might surprise you, while training her own techie gurus to take the lead within her organizations to further cut down on costs.

The end of the book is an abbreviated account of how to keep up with system literacy, leadership secrets and decades of revolutionizing the business model. The ubiquitous question for not only businesses, but all of us online is how to keep up with “the tools of technology (that) keep on changing–faster, sleeker, more intuitive. Troy has the healthy curiosity, and like her readers, wonders: €œIt always seems to happen that way–I see others doing things…if it can be done, and mere mortals can afford the tools, then I want to be a part of it all. Without compromising her businesses, this communication and education expert continues to adapt and morph with the changing business landscape, and makes us a part of it. With the how to€ at the end of each chapter and the life experience of having run multiple businesses for decades, any savvy post modern business owner who wants to go virtual should read Pat Troy’€™s “Flex;The Virtual Office Advantage, 12 Principles for a Successful Virtual Office Transition” and shorten the downtime between the office monolith of the past and the “flex” of the office of the future.

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