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Study: Virtual Offices Empower Employee Productivity

LONDON—Flexible working has a larger financial impact on businesses than cutting operational costs. So say 66 percent of respondents in a Polycom survey. The study offers more proof of the financial viability of virtual office technologies.

A flexible working strategy empowers workers with the ability to work at home or out of the office regularly or occasionally. According to the survey, companies with flexible working programs report that employees who participate are 39 percent more productive than others.

Considering that, on average, respondents say that more than half of a company's ability to generate revenue depends on the positive productivity of its employees, the extra productivity of flexibly working employees has a significant impact on the bottom line. Companies looking for new ways to succeed and thrive should tap into virtual offices and virtual office technologies.

"At Polycom we've seen that flexible working is proliferating across Europe and now the Gulf, and these survey results provide further evidence for this," says Gary Rider, president at EMEA Polycom.

"In the past, flexible working has primarily been considered an employee benefit, enabling a better work-life balance and reducing travel time and costs. But in fact, these results show that a flexible working strategy is a huge benefit to the business too, improving employee productivity by as much as 39 percent, and video collaboration is also a key component, keeping people connected and collaborating from wherever they are.”

Virtual offices are part and parcel of the flexible working trend. With the rise of mobile workers, virtual offices are filling a need for a hybrid of technologies and traditional office space. Polycom has prove once again that alternative workplace strategies are vital to the future of a productive workforce.
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What Do Virtual Office Users Have in Common With Retired Workers?

PHILADELPHIA—Stress. New research from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is taking another look at the issue. So listen up and learn how a virtual office can help you reduce your stress levels.

CMU’s Sheldon Cohen and Denise Janicki-Deverts worked to determine if psychological stress is associated with gender, age, education, income, employment status and/or race and ethnicity—and if the distributions of stress across demographics were constant over the 26-year period.

The results: women, individuals with lower income and those with less education reported more stress. They also show that as Americans age, they experience less stress and that retirees consistently report low levels of stress.

"We know that stress contributes to poorer health practices, increased risk for disease, accelerated disease progression and increased mortality," says Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology within CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences who is a leading expert on the relationship between stress and disease.

Cohen and Janicki-Deverts found that those most negatively affected by the 2008-09 economic downturn were white, middle-aged men with college educations and full-time jobs. The authors suggested that this group may have had the most to lose since both their jobs and their savings were at risk.

"It's hard to say if people are more stressed now than before because the first survey was conducted by phone and the last two were done online," Cohen said. "But, it's clear that stress is still very much present in Americans' lives, putting them at greater risk for many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders."

Stress is just a part of life. There’s nothing we can do to completely eliminate it. But working from a virtual office can help you cut back on stress. Virtual offices can empower those telecommuting options. Virtual offices can give employees the freedom to work at least part of the day, or several days of the week, at home. With that comes an escape from stressful commuting time, office politics and just the pressure of trying to meet deadlines in a noisy environment.

Check out this video on how to deal with stress:

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Virtual Office Workers Have More Employment Options

BOULDER, CO—I’ve been saying for a while that FlexJobs is one of the best places online to find virtual office jobs. Well, now it just got a little better.

That’s because FlexJobs just acquired Tjobs. That means there’s more telecommuting, virtual office, part-time and otherwise flexible job listings from which to choose.

"This is an exciting time for work-life balance positions as we continue to see the listings grow," shared Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. "By purchasing Tjobs, we are providing a one-stop destination for job seekers who would like to find a professional, home based job."

If you’ve never heard of Tjobs, you can take a hint at its telecommuting nature from its moniker. Tjobs has been dedicated to advancing telecommuting as a viable work option for both job-seekers and employers for more than 16 years. Virtual offices also go back that far, and even farther, but only in recent years have virtual office jobs become high-profile in the media.

"We are proud that we've been able to contribute to the growth in telecommuting over these many years," Tjobs said in a statement. "However we have realized that it's time for a change. As such, we are very happy to pass the torch to FlexJobs to help carry on the mission."

What does this mean, practically speaking, for FlexJobs? It means all the virtual office job listings that were once on Tjobs are now on FlexJobs. All current Tjobs members are now part of the FlexJobs family.

In total, FlexJobs has more than 10,000 hand-screened flexible job opportunities. But FlexJobs offers more than just virtual office jobs. It also offers its members free skill testing, resume and job search tips, special savings offers, and a comprehensive Guide to the Best Companies for Flexible Jobs.

FlexJobs has job listings in more than 50 career categories, ranging from entry-level to executive and freelance to full-time, FlexJobs provides the most extensive database of hand-screened flexible jobs currently available. FlexJobs is dedicated to promoting the work-life balance, environmental, and economical benefits that telecommuting and flexible work offers to both job-seekers and employers.
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Virtual Offices Help Fathers Maintain Work-Life Balance

LOS ANGELES—Yesterday we looked at CareerBuilder's annual Father's Day survey, which revealed that new dads aren’t maximizing paternity leave—and we looked at how virtual offices can help.

Let’s dive into some additional study findings as well as some helpful tips for fathers on paternity leave. (This tips could also apply to dads who work from a home all year round in a virtual office.)

The CareerBuilder survey reveals that 22 percent of fathers say their work has negatively affected relationships with their children and 26 percent said work negatively affected relationships with significant others. How can dad get a better work-life balance going?

Alex Green, general counsel for CareerBuilder and father of three offers some tips. (My comments are in parentheses.)

Talk about it: Remember that communication is a two-way street. Besides just listening to what is going on in your family's lives, talk about what is going on in your office, so everyone understands why you are away or have to do some work when you are home. (Of course, if you have a virtual office you can be more flexible as to when and where you work.)

Scheduling is key to success: Add every family member's schedule to one master calendar so there are no surprises. Also, save vacation days for important events and talk to your supervisor about flexible work arrangements. (Virtual office technologies will let you take mini-vacations if you can’t get away for a full vacation with your new family.)

Establish a "no work" zone: Put down your Blackberry and avoid checking e-mails from the time you arrive home until after your children have gone to sleep. (Then you can tap back into your virtual office and get more work done if you have to—but only if you have to.)

It is OK to say no!: In addition to actual work, sometimes activities associated with your job can take a toll on your free time. Determine what additional activities you can turn down and which are necessary so that you can free up more of your time outside of the office.

Consider flexible work arrangements: (This is what we've been saying all along!) More companies are offering telecommuting options, flexible hours, condensed work weeks and other arrangements. Approach your boss with a game plan of how the new arrangement would work and how it can ultimately benefit the organization. (Who knows? He may be cool with you working from your virtual office more often than you think!)
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Virtual Offices Help Dads Maximize Paternity Leave

NEW YORK-Is work keeping new dads from maximizing their paternity leave? Forty-three percent of dads who had a child in the last three years reported they didn't take any paternity leave. But leveraging the benefits of virtual offices could change those numbers.

Working dads who took some paternity leave said they felt pressured by work to come back early. So says CareerBuilder's annual Father's Day survey.

The stress of prolonged economic uncertainty post-recession appears to have affected more working fathers' balance between professional and family life. Thirty-six percent of dads reported they bring home work from the office, up from 27 percent in 2008.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of working dads said they would consider trading their careers for a role of staying home with the kids if their spouse or partner made enough money to support the family. And 33 percent of working dads reported they would take a pay cut if it meant they have more quality time at home.

"For many households, the recession has affected family life as much as personal finances," says Alex Green, general counsel for CareerBuilder and father of three. "Many families need dual incomes, and post-recession work environments often entail longer hours. Fortunately, we see more dads taking advantage of flexible work arrangements to try to make up the difference and have more quality time with their families."

And therein lies the key words: flexible work. Flexible work strategies can help new dads on paternity leave maximize their time with their newborn. Virtual offices give dad the flexibility he needs to work during odd hours, as well work during what would otherwise be commuting time. And virtual offices let dad work in his pajamas at 5 a.m. before the baby wakes up if he has to.
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