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Davinci Virtual Blog

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S NEW WITH DAVINCI

LATEST POSTS

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions’ CEO Emphasizes Importance of Virtual Receptionists for Screening Robocalls

How do consumers react to robocalls, and what are they doing to prevent them? These questions and more are answered in a new survey from Clutch. CEO Martin Senn provided commentary, explaining the benefit of virtual assistants when it comes to robocalls.

More than half of people receive (52%) at least one robocall daily. Overall, Americans received 48 billion robocalls in 2018 - a 60% increase from the year prior.

Robocalls present a massive annoyance to phone owners – and a danger to anyone who happens to fall for the scams robocallers often peddle.

Robocalls also disrupt legitimate communication between individuals and businesses. Nearly 70% of people say they are unlikely to pick up a phone call from a number they do not recognize - a behavior that experts partially attribute to the rise in robocalls, according to a new survey report from Clutch, a leading B2B research firm. Davinci Virtual Office Solutions’ CEO, Martin Senn, spoke to Clutch about the data, providing industry context.

Individuals and Businesses Taking Steps to Combat Robocalls

What is being done to prevent robocalls? Well, some individuals and consumers take proactive steps to protect themselves.

For example, 60% of people say they block phone numbers to prevent robocalls. This approach is limited in its effectiveness, however - robocallers always have a new number they can call you from.

More proactive methods used by people include signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry (43%) and implementing a third-party screening tool (25%). These methods actively prevent future robocalls – though effectiveness may vary. Almost 70% of people that signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry say that they now receive the same number of or more robocalls.

For businesses, one effective method of robocall prevention is simply investing in an in-house or virtual receptionist that can screen incoming calls, ensuring that legitimate ones get through and robocalls are stopped.

“Businesses should employ qualified in-house or outsourced receptionists that screen all incoming calls properly and ensure proper call routing, communication and productivity throughout a company,” said Martin Senn.

He continued: “It is quite difficult to eliminate robocalls completely, but again, to ensure all incoming calls are properly screened and handled, outsourced call answering services or live receptionist services like Davinci are a great way to front-end all calls, ensure proper screening and allow for quality customer service and availability at all times.”

Davinci’s Live Receptionist Services can potentially save businesses from the robocall invasion.

Spoofing Presents Unique Challenges for Businesses

Businesses face challenges not only from screening incoming robocalls, but also from robocallers who may pretend to call other people from a business’ phone number.

This tactic is known as “spoofing.” Advances in voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) allows robocallers to manipulate caller ID to present any number.

Businesses may receive phone calls from confused customers who believe they were called from their number, when in fact it was a robocaller.

This situation happened to RingBoost, a custom phone number retailer.

“People call back and think RingBoost was calling them,” said Vice President of Marketing Ellen Sluder. “We try very patiently to explain to them what the situation is.”

Sluder explained that the robocalls often asked for sensitive information, such as a Social Security number. This made for an awkward exchange when people called RingBoost back, responding to the robocall.

If this becomes a common issue for a business, it’s important to train those who answer the phone, like virtual receptionist, on how to deal with the issue.

Read the full surveys on how common are robocalls and how people react to robocalls.

 

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Is Remote Work a Fading Fad or a Core Business Strategy?

For the past several years, I’ve had the benefit of being a remote worker. Even when I had a permanent office location, I often worked remotely due to travel and other normal business exigencies. Many on my teams over the years have been remote or have been hybrid (working some of the time from a fixed office location and other times remotely) as well. Further, contrary to the assertions of those who oppose remote work, my hybrid and remote workers—former and present—deliver great results and are as loyal, if not more so, than workers with a permanent workspace in which they must reside five days a week. 

The Fad to Ban Remote Workers

Research studies conducted by both academics and businesses confirm that remote workers, in general, are more productive and exhibit greater loyalty than counterparts who work 9 to 5 from a fixed workspace. While IBM generated a lot of media attention over its decision to eliminate its remote workforce last year, its own Smarter Workplace Institute finds that remote workers are happier, less stressed, more productive, and more engaged. In the case of Marisa Meyer, who started the fad to bring remote employees back into the office (she also proudly touted that she worked 130 hours a week while at Google), the experiment at Yahoo was anything but a success.

Organizations that eliminate or ban remote work are in the minority and put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Remote work is defined in terms of both full-time as well as hybrid models. Telecommuting grew 115 percent in the past decade. This is leading some to predict that half of the workforce will work remotely by 2020. 

7 Strategic Advantages of Remote Workers

The fact is that, when used correctly, remote workers offer organizations of all sizes and most industries a strategic advantage. Let’s take a quick look at the most compelling ones.

1. Better Productivity 

There are numerous independent studies that show remote workers are more productive than their office-located counterparts. For example, a study conducted by Stanford University compared the productivity of call-center employees who worked from home versus those assigned to cubicles in an office. Home workers were 13 percent more productive and reported higher work satisfaction than workers stuck in an office cubicle. Another study by Global Workplace Analytics that examined remote work at three enterprises reached similar conclusions:

• AT&T telecommuters work five more hours at home than office colleagues

• JD Edwards remote workers are between 20 and 25 percent more productive than office counterparts

• American Express home workers are 43 percent more productive than workers in the office

2. Recruiting and Retaining High-Quality Workers

Employees prefer remote work options. Thirty-seven percent say they would leave their current job for one that allows them to work wherever they want for at least part of their work week. A whopping 90 percent of workers say they want to work remotely, at least part of the time. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 58 percent of HR recruiters cite work flexibility as the most effective way to attract new talent. 

For businesses that offer remote work options—and advertise the opportunity to work remotely in job ads (note that only 30 percent of companies with remote work policies advertise such in their job ads!)—they can attract and retain top talent better than companies that ban remote work. This includes the ability to recruit and maintain a more diverse gendered workforce, with working mothers often requiring workplace flexibility.

3. Reduced Costs

Permanent office space is expensive. The study by Global Workplace Analytics shows that employers can save over $11,000 per half-time remote worker annually. 

4. Quality of Work

Much has been written about the quality of work-life balance. For workers given the flexibility to work half of the time from their home offices, they gain back an average of 11 days a year in time they would have spent otherwise commuting. This also equates to lower greenhouse emissions and smog—an equivalent of 600,000 vehicles taken off the road each year.

When it comes to the health of remote workers, data confirms they led healthier lifestyles than their office counterparts. For example, 42 percent of remote workers say they eat healthier than when working from a traditional office location. The same study reveals 45 percent get more sleep, 35 percent get more physical exercise, and 82 percent say they are less stressed. 

5. Better Focus and Results

Scientific research on cognitive behavior reveals that working more hours and working in increments produces better results. Working smarter, taking breaks, and leveraging a flexible work schedule creates better work outcomes than traditional 9-to-5 work models. Breaks keep workers from getting bored and thus unfocused, foster better retention of information and cognitive connections, and reevaluate goals and objectives.

6. Less Absenteeism

Remote workers report less absenteeism than office-located colleagues. Data reveals that more than three-quarters of employees who call in sick are not ill. Rather, they do so because of family issues, personal needs, and stress. Remote provides them with greater flexibility, which multiple studies show cut absenteeism by more than 50 percent. This leads to higher productivity while saving organizations money. 

7. Greater Flexibility

The ability to leverage remote workers provides businesses with greater flexibility. Business functions—from IT projects to call-center operations—benefit from a remote workforce. It is easier to scale teams up and down based on business exigencies with remote workers. It also provides organizations with 24x7 global coverage where work is shared across time zones. It can even speed project lifecycles in instances such as application development where work can be done around the clock.  

Empowering Remote Workers with Coworking Space and Day Offices

Putting the above business reasons aside, there are times when face-to-face interactions are critical, and moreover some workers struggle in remote work settings. Providing them with a hybrid workplace model that leverages coworking space or even rented day offices, such as Davinci Meeting Rooms, for certain days can give them the structure and social interactions they need to be successful. 

Also critical to the success of remote workers, albeit a step all-too-often missed by many organizations, is the development and publishing of remote work policies that spell out expectations and behaviors. Leaving your remote and hybrid workers guessing when it comes to what is expected of them and is critical. 

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Our Top 10 Tips For Working Remotely

Working remotely is a fast growing trend among companies and solopreneurs. In 2016, it was reported that 43% of employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely. With flexible scheduling and work hours, many are opting for the beneficial option as apposed to the traditional 9-5 workday in office. Here are 10 tips for working remotely so you can stay on task.

1. Have a designated workspace 

It is very important that you have a specific place where you only do your work. It could be a spare room you turned into a home office, or you can book a coworking space. The idea is that you have space to spread out all of your work materials and were you can keep distractions at a minimum.

2. Make sure it is easy for clients to find you

Working remotely, whether from home or from a coworking space, means that people don’t always know how or where to reach you. By setting up a virtual office you can have an impressive address that makes you look professional, but more importantly that will make it easy for clients and vendors to find and contact you. 

3. Have the right work materials

Make sure you have the materials you need to get your work done, no matter where you are in the world. Everything from monitors and laptops to office supplies such as pens and paper should be in your office. Depending on your line of work you might also consider about having a printer, envelopes, software, etc.  

4. Plan ahead

Having a schedule is very important when working remotely. It ensures you get things done and helps to minimize distractions. Set small goals and deadlines to keep you motivated and prevent you from procrastinating. 

5. Stay in touch with your colleagues

Sometimes, working remotely means that you’ll be keeping company to yourself. In order to not let loneliness affect your work, consider joining a coworking space and  make sure you schedule in person meetings with colleagues, supervisors and clients. To make the most of your meeting time, make sure you book a meeting room.

6. Dress for the office

If you work from home you might be tempted to stay in your pajamas or lounge clothes all day. However, we recommend against it. Having designated work clothes and wearing them can help you get into the right mindset to be more productive. 

7. Focus on your work

Just because you are working remotely doesn’t mean you have to manage your own mini office. You will probably be tempted to be your own receptionist or mailing room employee, but you would be wasting your time. Instead you can hire a virtual assistant and focus completely on your work. 

8. Determine the end of the workday

An important part of planning ahead is to determine when your workday ends. It can be very tempting to keep checking emails even after you’ve “logged off”, but this can easily lead to burnout. Set your own schedule and stick to it.

9. Maximize your peak hours

Figure out when you  feel and are your most productive, and use that time lapse to your benefit. Some people like to start working early in the morning, others prefer the late afternoon. Everybody has different times when they are most productive, it is important that you find out which one is yours. 

10. Take regular breaks

You can only be focused for so long before you get exhausted. This can lead to your energy being drained, which in turn can make you more impulsive and less helpful. To prevent exhaustion it is important that you take short breaks throughout the day. Use these breaks to to stretch your legs, rest your eyes and have a glass of water. 

 

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How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur in the New Year

Now that the new year has arrived, it is more important than ever for entrepreneurs to have a plan for their business. If you are a business owner, you are probably looking for ways to become even more efficient and effective in 2019. The key to productivity is to reduce stress while making it easier for you to accomplish the tasks that matter. Here are some ways you can cut stress out of your life and achieve your goals as you move into the new year.

Eliminate Distractions by Designing a Home Office

If you are going to make a point to reduce stress, you need to have a place to work that will allow you to make the most of your time while separating yourself from potential stressors like clutter, noise, and interruptions. That is why one of the best things you can do for your business is to design a home office. Keeping your office at home will allow you to reduce the overhead costs of running your business while giving you a space you can design according to your own needs. Be sure to remove distractions, such as televisions and gaming systems, from your office, and invest in necessities like a high-quality internet connection.

Stay Organized with Business Apps/Services

Many entrepreneurs also experience stress as a result of a lack of time or a clear schedule. If you typically find yourself pressed for time, you may want to revamp the way you keep your schedule. Most online scheduling apps help you keep track of all your daily tasks by color coding them by location or urgency. You can also use them to set alarms to make sure you have enough time to make it to your next appointment with time to spare. Online calendars make it easy to manage your time without overloading your schedule.

Finally, you may also want to research apps that allow you to sync your notes, documents, and files across your devices. Cloud syncing apps ensure that you can always access any information you need, regardless of your current device. You can go even further and use online services to automate the intricacies of your business. For example, Davinci provides services such as live web chat and live receptionist to help you filter interactions from potential clients, and even use co-working products that can help entrepreneurs work together on projects.  

Keep a Detailed Log of Expenditures

While it is important to keep track of your work commitments, it is equally critical for you to stay fully aware of your finances. Keep a detailed log of the money you spend for your business, as well as the miles you drive every day. Each month, compile the information into the appropriate subgroups, such as office supplies and automotive repairs. Staying up to date on your expenditures will make your annual taxes easier and allow you to make better judgments.

Hire an Assistant

Finally, you may be able to further reduce your workload by hiring help. Depending on the size of your business, a personal assistant can take care of the standard daily tasks of your business, freeing you up to put your focus on the larger projects that require your expertise. Take your time when interviewing potential new hires, as you will need to find someone who is not only trustworthy but who understands the mission and the goals of your business.  

It requires a great deal of focus and determination to run your own business. By reducing stress, staying organized, and hiring additional help if you need it, you can make it much easier for you to accomplish your goals in the new year.

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How A Virtual Office Address Can Help Future Proof Your Business

With today’s rapid rate of change, organizations of all sizes – from solopreneurs to multinational conglomerates -- are wise to address future proofing their work environments to remain competitive. 

According to Collins Dictionary, “If you future-proof something, you design or change it so that it will continue to be useful or successful in the future if the situation changes.” 

Yet in a dynamic business environment in which change is constant and inevitable, it can be difficult to meet the needs of a future workforce and workstyle when those needs are not yet known or understood.  

The best strategy to future-proof an office setting is to embed flexibility and agility into the space solution, according to Kay Sargent, Senior Principal, Director of WorkPlace, HOK in Workplace Design.  

Such a solution is built around an infrastructure that allows frequent, simple and streamlined upgrades, particularly where technology is concerned, and accommodates such changes with a minimum of time, labor and expense. 

She also noted that people are more flexible than furniture and walls, so spaces that encourage movement and allow people to work in different settings at different times of the day will be more successful.  

One solution is on-demand office and meeting spaces such as Davinci Virtual Offices that offer inherent flexibility and agility, providing numerous ways to future-proof a workplace. 

1. Space utilization.  

With real estate comprising a company’s second-largest expense after human resources, optimizing space (not necessarily reducing it) is a critical step in reducing overhead. 

On-demand spaces allow users to pay for only what they need, when and where they need it, avoiding the all-too-frequent case of paying for excess space not utilized. They also easily and economically accommodate staffers who only need to be in the office on a part-time or project basis. 

2. Space flexibility. 

Future-proof spaces are flexible, multifunctional and adaptable, and provide multiple options for places to work, relax and recharge, socialize and collaborate. They include choices for shared and individual spaces, open and closed rooms, quiet focus areas and active group meeting rooms, respite nooks and gathering and eating spaces. 

Because their facilities are designed to serve different personality types and workstyles, on-demand offices and meeting rooms typically have many choices in work settings. 

Additionally, on-demand offices allow companies to easily add, reduce or reconfigure spaces to accommodate rapid growth or change when new projects arise, or other growth or contraction occurs. 

3. Furniture flexibility.  

A future-proof office provides a selection of furniture that can adapt to varying scenarios throughout the day or week. For example, it might be a modular system that can switch from desk to meeting tables, or a reception desk that adapts to bar service for an evening event. 

Because they typically serve a wide range of customer types, and often serve a clientele for whom offices are optional, on-demand office and meeting rooms aim to be highly flexible and appealing by providing the most up-to-date furnishings, amenities, infrastructure and support. 

Users of on-demand offices will also find more ergonomic furniture and the latest tools and amenities to support technology users, such as specialized seating, large monitors, footrests, monitor arms, convenient power access and hidden power connections. 

“The idea is to create an environment that people want to go to because they are getting tools and tech they can’t get anywhere else,” Julie Whelan, head of occupier research at CBRE, told Bis Now

4. Geographic agility 

Expanding to new geographic locations is another change factor that an organization may experience in the future. Coworking spaces, day offices and meeting spaces, arranged via online booking systems, allow organizations to expand operations quickly, easily and cost-effectively. Whether it’s an international expansion or regional relocation, they require low capital expenditure. 

5. Technology infrastructure 

With an average lifespan of 18 months or so, technology has the shortest lifecycle in a work environment where furniture is expected to last 10 years and a building itself lasts for 50 or more years. Thus, building an infrastructure that can be easily and seamlessly updated, without disruption to the office occupiers, is critical. 

For maximum workplace flexibility, infrastructure should be detached from the workforce, which makes virtual and on-demand offices an ideal alternative. Such spaces typically have the latest IT solution integrated into the space, wirelessly or with cable/wire management, facilitating connecting with new tech as it is introduced. Users can typically count on the latest power sources, which may be free-standing units, table troughs or other convenient connections. 

Additionally, spaces such as DaVinci allow independents and small companies to access and afford the same high-quality technology employed by large companies such as cybersecurity, top flight technical infrastructure, fast internet speed and ubiquitous Wi-Fi. Such services and amenitie are increasingly important to operations of all sizes. 

6. The Human factor.  

Future-proofing a workplace goes beyond the physical environment. It also addresses how to best plan for the human factor. Opting for an on-demand work and/or meeting space can ensure an environment that is more pleasant, productive and engaging for its occupants than a home office, coffee shop or other remote alternative. Among human-focused benefits such offices provide are: 

• Community 

While coffee shops, public libraries and other third spaces may provide companionship for solopreneurs and other home-based work, coworking spaces can provide community with all the amenities, security and professionalism of a formal office. 

• Agility 

A future proof office means not only an agile workplace, but also having an agile workforce. Maintaining a lean, specialized team, comprised partly or completely of remote and/or contract workers, allows an organization to flex up or down to meet their needs. 

• Wellbeing 

Environments that provide for wellbeing have been proven to lead to more positive outcomes for occupants. Such spaces foster engagement and collaboration, boost productivity and encourage movement. Some other ways they contribute to improving wellbeing are by providing access to natural light, good air quality, filtered water, healthy nourishment and comfortable acoustics. 

• Services 

As the workforce ebbs and flows to accommodate shifting workloads, the need for various services may arise as well. On-demand offices provide a greeter to humanize the work experience for employees as well as their guests. They can also accommodate unpredictable support needs on a pay-as-you need basis. 

Planning for a future-proof work environment, one that helps recruit and retain the best workers, achieve maximum productivity, foster collaboration and spur ideation and engagement, requires addressing the human experience as well as the physical setting. On-demand office and meeting spaces provide a solution to both. 

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