Could Virtual Office Perks Help Curb Employee Dissatisfaction?

PHILADELPHIA—Most workers are expressing their intention to seek new employment somewhere else. Of course that’s nothing new. It’s been the same story for the past four years. So says a new survey from Right Management.

Could allowing employees to work from a virtual office help stem that dissatisfaction? Let’s look at the full story.

Specifically, 86 percent of employees said they plan to actively look for a new position in 2013—and another 8 percent said they may do so and are already networking. Only 5 percent intend to stay in their current position.

“At a minimum, the survey findings are a sign of considerable job dissatisfaction throughout North America,” says Owen J. Sullivan, CE of Right Management. “The constant drumbeat of downsizing coupled with the expectation to do more with less has put an added amount of stress on workers.”

Sullivan says ongoing economic uncertainty and volatility around job growth and job security have warranted the exploration of new positions. This kind of frustration may not be unusual, even in a strong job market, he says, but the levels of discontent we’re now finding have to be without precedent.

“What we’re finding is what behavioral psychologists call ‘flight cognition,’ a wish to depart a situation, not necessarily an indicator of actual employee turnover,” Sullivan says. “Nevertheless, when more than four-out-of- five workers seem so unhappy it ought to concern top management.”

The findings may also be a reflection of what Sullivan regards as the continuous job hunt. With so many job boards and constant social networking workers appear to have convinced themselves that they’re truly job hunting when all they’re doing is cruising the Internet.

“The Internet job boards are sort of like window shopping, something to do during a down moment,” Sullivan says. “A real job search, which is a much more serious proposition, requires a deliberate and concerted effort to make a change. However, the constant access and push and pull of the Internet and job boards make it easier to shift a window shopper into a buyer.”

So can allow employees to telecommute from a virtual office help retain workers? We think so. Numerous studies that show that employee would be willing to give up quite a lot for the opportunity to telecommute from a virtual office. Virtual office work is considered a perk that drives work-life balance for the employee and greater productivity for companies.

So if you are looking to hold on to your best and brightest workers in 2013, consider how alternative workplace strategies like virtual office space can help you accomplish your goals.


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