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Military Spouses Can Benefit From Virtual Office Jobs
"We travel a lot and the future of where we will be stationed for a long period of time is unsure. This makes it extremely difficult to get going into a career, and to build a reputation within a company,” says Monica Clark, an "army wife" stationed in California. “When looking for a job, there are so many scammers out there, that the internet can be a frightening place for job searching.”
Telecommuting from a virtual office can be an ideal solution for military spouses, as well as many others. FlexJobs’ Flexible Jobs Index for June 2012 details the top career fields with flexibility, which are ideal for military spouses who often move around the country. All of the virtual office jobs have been hand-verified--no scams.
According to the Flexible Jobs Index, career categories like research, writing, and media had the biggest increases in open jobs, and medical and health continue to offer the largest number of flexible jobs for military spouses looking for virtual office opportunities.
“Just like they are serving their husbands and wives, military spouses sacrifice a great deal for our country. Among these sacrifices, not knowing when or where you and your family may have to move next makes it difficult to maintain a job,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. “Jobs that offer flexibility and mobility, such as telecommuting and remote jobs, are a fantastic solution because military spouses can move their job with them, and telecommuting jobs are available in almost every career industry nowadays."
Here are the top five employment categories with the highest percentage of available virtual office jobs for June were:
1. Medical & Health
3. Education & Training
4. Customer Service
According to the Flexible Jobs Index, examples of telecommuting jobs in these categories include sales coordinator, English adjunct teacher, content developer, Linux administrator, account executive, market strategy consultant and general manager.
“Telecommuting is no longer a ‘trend’, but rather more common place than ever,” says Fell. “This is fantastic news for the spouses of those that serve our country and want to be able to contribute financially to their family without continual job changes.”
Virtual Offices Help Mobile Workers Balance Life
Today we are going to dive a little deeper into the mobile worker and virtual office angle. According to the Good Technology survey, overtime has become so commonplace that only a quarter of the 1,000 workers polled said it caused an occasional disagreement with their partner.
In what points to changing attitudes to mobile work, well over half surveyed reported no arguments whatsoever from their spouse or significant other over answering e-mail or making work calls at home.
Could that be because some of these overtime hours are being accomplished via virtual office technologies that keep loved ones on the home front for short meetings or e-mail sessions? I believe virtual offices may have something to do with it.
"When it comes to supporting a 'bring your own device' environment, it's important to take an approach that ensures data security without compromising the employee's privacy or personal experiences,” says John Herrema, senior vice president of Corporate Strategy for mobile security software company Good Technology.
“By shifting their management focus from 'devices' to 'apps' and 'data', enterprises can allow employees to get work done on the go whenever they want, and still keep personal information private, separate and safe."
The study also revealed:
68% of people check their work e-mails before 8 a.m.
The average American first checks their phone around 7:09 a.m.
50% check their work e-mail while still in bed
40% still do work email after 10 p.m.
69% will not go to sleep without checking their work e-mail
57% check work emails on family outings
38% routinely check work e-mails while at the dinner table
What do you think? Do virtual office technologies promote overtime or work-life balance?
Do Virtual Offices Help Reduce Overtime?
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.
Would You Sacrifice to Work From a Virtual Office?
A majority of workers who have never worked remotely (64 percent) identify at least one extremely popular perk or pleasure they'd be willing to give up in order to work from home (essentially working from a virtual office) just one day a week:
32% would give up lunch breaks
25% would give up alcohol
20% would give up coffee
How about the home office fashion front? If you work from a virtual office, you can work in your pajamas all day. But, according to the Citrix study, most people don’t. They just dress down.
49% say they're most likely to wear jeans and T-shirts when on the job
25% are most likely to work in their PJs
7% keep it simple—real simple—working from home in their underwear or birthday suit
What about the reply versus ignore question? Say you're finally on vacation and everything is perfect—until that urgent work e-mail arrives. Surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of office workers (72 percent) say they would be more likely to respond immediately to the urgent work e-mail than they would be to pretend they didn't see it.
"These findings show what all of us who work in offices know—life at the office can often be challenging. This survey shows that companies will benefit by being more flexible in allowing employees to work from anywhere,” says Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix.
“Enabling people to blend their professional and personal lives can boost morale as well as productivity. And there are plenty of tools and technologies today that empower people to do their jobs from any location. That's a win-win for companies and employees alike."
Virtual offices are also a win-win for companies and employees alike. That doesn’t mean letting all employees work from virtual offices all the time, but employers can be flexible and allow for virtual office use at pre-defined intervals, or during specific seasons in an employee’s career.
Virtual Offices Help Keep You Honest About ‘Sick Days’
A new Wakefield Research Study commissioned by Citrix offers up insights on the top frustrations of modern work life, which include annoying coworkers and bad bosses. The survey also shows just how creative workers are getting to avoid both. Could virtual offices set you free from the dishonesty and creativity?
Many people are getting more creative at avoiding their bosses. Thirty percent of office workers say they've scheduled time off around their bosses' vacation in order to maximize the time they won't have to spend together. This isn't just a junior-level ploy: 39 percent of executive and manager-level workers admit to this move compared to 27 percent of mid- and junior-level workers.
Of course, all bosses aren’t bad bosses. Many of us daydream about working for someone we've watched on television. Office workers would most like to work for Gibbs from "NCIS" (20 percent), Miranda Bailey from "Grey's Anatomy" (15 percent) and Buddy from "Cake Boss" (14 percent).
What do workers say when they are out? According to the survey, "I'm sick" continues to be a common excuse but office workers are getting especially creative about finding a way to avoid going in to the office. Here are just a few excuses according to survey respondents:
My bicycle ran out of gas
Gas is too expensive
I drank too much Sunkist and was too tired to come in
I'm having toenail issues
My numerologist told me not to come in
It's Elvis' birthday
Dog sprayed by a skunk
All my clothes are in the washer right now, I have nothing to wear
I had to see where my gardener was really planting everything that I wanted and paid for
Stumbled on the love of my life
The point is, there’s no need to rearrange your vacation schedule or find other creative ways to avoid your bad boss. Why not, instead, use those energies to get your boss to see the value of letting you work from a virtual office one day a week?
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