The Baptist Center for Ethics is leaving behind a physical office space for a virtual space, beginning May 1. Good bye bricks and mortar. Hello telecommunications!
Some may ask, what's a virtual office? Others may want to know, why now? Still others may inquire, will this change BCE's programming?
Affordable and reliable computer and telecommunications technology are the hub of the virtual office—office space that exists in cyber space. Rather than office buildings, parking spots and drive time, employees share information, make decisions and pursue their assignments mostly through emails and cell phones.
We make this decision now for several reasons. First, it is a natural evolution for an organization that has had one staff member working from home for some three years. He has demonstrated successfully that employees can work apart physically while communicating constantly with emails, phone calls and occasional face-to-face meetings.
Second, BCE has been moving away from a paper world to an online world. We began 15 years ago with a printed newsletter, moved to distributing material via fax machines started using email and then launched a Web site.
We started with printed study guides, bulletin inserts and undated curriculum. We shifted to online curriculum and free educational resources. Storing a PDF on a computer takes a lot less space than storing curriculum in boxes! That means we need far less physical space for inventory.
Third, BCE has always sought to be the best steward of the generous contributions entrusted to us. We've never thought we were entitled to gifts. We've understood that our financial supporters are working folk who give sacrificially and expect us to live responsibly.
We think that moving to a virtual office will allow us to be better stewards of these sacred gifts. Money spent on programming than informs, empowers and equips supporters is better stewardship than paying for office space.
We know that a virtual office advances another aspect of stewardship—employee time and travel expenses.
What does this mean to our readers and those who purchase our resources? Rest assured that we will continue providing a first-rate product.
Our Web site, EthicsDaily.com, will become the central "office," much as it functions today. Our new contact information is posted here.
In BCE's 15-year history, we have had three different offices in Nashville. Each move was necessary to accommodate staff growth and organizational development. Each move contributed to improved performance. This move continues our tradition.
Robert Parham is executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.