Davinci Virtual Blog



Could Virtual Offices Help Workers During Olympics?

LONDON—Did you know that more than half of London employers are embracing flexible work strategies as the summer Olympics approaches? So says new data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey.

“Options such as flexi-time and home working can enable employees in parts of the country likely to face travel disruption as a result of the Olympics to spend their time working rather than stuck in traffic jams or adding to the pressure likely to be faced by our public transport system,” says Rebecca Clake, a research adviser at CIPD.

According to the study, nearly 30 percent of employers say they will try to accommodate requests from employees to work from home. Another 17 percent will extend flexible working opportunities, while 13 percent will actively encourage staff to work from home. That means virtual offices will suddenly be en vogue.

"The Olympics is a golden opportunity for UK businesses to review their flexible working policies to ensure they are supporting their staff,” says Barney Ely, director at Hays Human Resources. “Communication is key to ensure both parties clearly understand and adhere to the guidelines around flexible working. By embracing this exciting time companies will benefit from more engaged employees.”

Virtual offices are already popular in London, but the Olympic games could introduce the concept of virtual offices to a whole new audience of employers and employees who are looking for a way to stay productive during the commuting mayhem. Virtual offices and other flexible working strategies are consistently front and center in corporate talk about the London Summer Olympics.

Check out this inspiring video on the 2012 London Olympic games, which also offers a hint at how commute times will be affected:


Virtual Offices and the War for Talent

CHICAGO-One in three employers worldwide cannot find qualified talent. So says a new study from ManpowerGroup. Could virtual office space help attract and retain talent?

This year’s data reveals the crisis' deeper impact as 56% of employers now indicate that unfilled positions are expected to have little or no impact on constituents, such as customers and investors, a considerable increase from 36% in 2011.

Why can’t employers fill the roles? The most common reason is a lack of applicants and/or a lack of technical competencies/hard skills. In particular, employers cited the lack of industry-specific qualifications in both professional and skilled trades categories.

Could it be possible that opening up these positions to telecommuters who work from virtual offices in flex time arrangements might attract some best and brightest talent? I think so.

Studies show that young talent appreciates flexibility. All other things being equal, allowing workers to set up shop from a virtual office at least part of the time could help you win their heads and minds.

Virtual office technologies mean employees aren’t out of sight or out of mind. You can keep in touch with virtual office workers via technologies like web conferencing and Skype, which offers presence tools.

In the war for talent as the economy recovers, virtual offices could play a significant role in separating the companies that win competent workers and the ones that don’t.

Check out this video on attracting and retaining talent with work-life balance strategies:


Are Mobile Workers Using Virtual Office Space?

NEW YORK-At some level, mobile working and virtual office space have a connection. Although not all mobile workers use virtual office space and not all virtual office space users fully embrace mobility, there is some definite cross over.

That’s why I looked twice when I saw the latest iPass Mobile Workforce Report. According to the study, 60 percent of mobile employees reported 50 to 60 hour-plus work weeks that also include weekend days as the most popular time to work remotely.

"Connectivity is like oxygen for today's mobile workers. The improved ability to work anywhere as long as they are connected appears to be driving higher productivity,” says Evan Kaplan, CEO at iPass. "While having control over when, where and how one works is a significant benefit in terms of well-being, mobile workers themselves need to take care to manage the unique stressors that an always connected work-life brings."

Speaking of work-life balance, the percentage of mobile workers sleeping with their smartphone has risen slightly since 2011. Seventy-one percent of Asian mobile workers report they sleep with their smartphones in the bedroom, followed by 58 percent of North Americans and 55 percent of Europeans.

Mobile usage is also causing more friction in mobile workers' personal lives with their partners, family and friends. The highest amount of friction was reported in Europe at 38 percent, followed by 33 percent of North Americans and 30 percent of Asian respondents.

Mobile workers may be able to achieve greater work-life balance and reduce friction—maybe even stop sleeping with their smartphones—if they work from a virtual office. Setting up a virtual office on the home front can serve as a stationary oasis from the demands of the mobile working lifestyle.

You can get a lot more done on a large screen than you can on a smartphone, tablet, or even a laptop—especially from a quiet place. So if you are a mobile worker who can’t seem to unplug, test out virtual office technologies that help you drive more productivity so you can get your work wrapped up faster and balance your life better.

New Ways of Working Includes Virtual Offices, Telecommuting


Virtual Offices Can Help You Juggle Work and Personal Demands

MENLO PARK, CA—What's stressing out everyone at the office? What else? Work. According to a new Accountemps survey, 41 percent of CFOs are trying to balance work and personal responsibilities—and they cite that as the greatest source of workplace stress for accounting and finance pros. Office politics came in a close second with a 28 percent vote.

"Work/life balance may seem like an issue for individuals, but it also should be a concern for businesses," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies 2nd edition. “Whether it's through flexible work schedules, telecommuting arrangements or other options, companies can benefit from helping their teams balance professional and personal objectives. Organizations that commit to these efforts enhance morale and productivity and make their businesses more appealing places to work."

As usual, Messmer hit the nails on the head. Virtual offices can help financial professionals solve both these issues, as well as a third challenge identified in the survey: the challenging commute. Virtual office technologies enable flexible work schedules, telecommuting and other alternative workplace strategies.

Messmer also offers some additional practical advice that’s worth noting. Beyond understanding the benefits of working from a virtual office, here are five things every employee should know. (My comments are in parentheses.)

1. Your employer's priorities: Knowing which initiatives are most critical to the firm's success will help you prioritize your responsibilities. Proper workload management will increase your productivity and make it easier to accommodate personal demands as they arise. (Working from a virtual office can also drive up your productivity by helping you stay focused and even avoid much of the office politics.)

2. What your company offers: Familiarize yourself with alternate work arrangements or other benefits your employer may provide. For example, can you telecommute or adopt a more flexible schedule? When approaching your manager about adding these offerings, present a business case that also details how the firm will benefit from giving employees more flexibility in when and how work gets done. (There are many studies on how virtual offices and flexible work benefit employers and employees. Go in armed with that information. You can find a lot of it on this blog!)

3. How to say no: Realize that no one can accomplish everything. If you can't take on a new project, let your manager know. Explain the situation, and, if needed, offer to shift some of your responsibilities to accommodate the new request. Your boss would rather know up front than see a project fall through the cracks. (Suggest that you may be more productive working at home one day a week from a virtual office.)

4. Your calendar: It may not work every time, but try to block out your schedule when you need to attend to personal activities or errands, and let your manager know in advance. That way, you'll have the time already built into your day.

5. How to unplug: As much as possible, set aside times when you can cut the tether with the office. Try to avoid checking work email and list an alternate contact in your out-of-office message.