Do Virtual Offices Help Reduce Overtime?

LOS ANGELES—The average American puts in more than a month and a half of overtime a year—just by answering calls and e-mails at home. So says a new survey from Good Technology. What role does the virtual office play in this issue?

The survey of U.S. working adults sponsored by Good Technology reveals that more than 80 percent of people continue working when they have left the office—for an average of seven extra hours each week—almost another full day of work. That's a total of close to 30 hours a month or 365 extra hours every year. They're also using their cell phones to mix work and their personal life in ways never seen before.

So, are virtual offices an enabler of this behavior or do virtual offices help curb this behavior? In other words, how do virtual offices fit into this issue of working overtime? It’s hard to be precise, but the survey does offer some clues.

While 60 percent use their cell phones to mix their work and personal life simply to stay organized, almost half feel they have no choice because their customers demand quick replies.

Another 31 percent of respondents admit to continuing to work at home as they find it hard to “switch off.” Half of Americans can't even put their phone down while in bed, as they read or respond to work emails after climbing under the covers.

"In today's 'always on' mobile environment, secure access to corporate e-mail and apps is a 'must have' vs. a 'nice to have' for nearly all companies,” says John Herrema, senior vice president of Corporate Strategy for mobile security software company Good Technology.

“While most of our customers believe their employees do work more hours as a result of this accessibility, they also appreciate and welcome the enhanced work-life balance that comes when employees have more freedom and choice to get work done whenever and wherever they need to—whether that's in the office, on the road, or while sitting in the stands at a child's baseball game."

As I see it, the moral of the story is that virtual offices don’t necessary cause people to work more overtime. They are already working over time. Virtual offices, rather, help people find more work-life balance in the midst of overtime.


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