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Virtual Offices Fueling Flex Work Movement

ALEXANDRIA, VA—We’ve been focusing a lot on the flexible workplace this week—and with good reason. The 2012 National Study of Employers just came out and it’s revealing an increase in employers that offer flex time. Virtual offices fit clearly into this picture.

Published jointly by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resources (SHRM), the survey shows that significantly more employers are allowing at least some employees to get flexible. Virtual offices are finding their place in the flex time work trend.

"It seems that employers are dealing with the lingering economic instability by trying to accomplish more with fewer people,” says Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of FWI and an author of the study. “Most of the gains allow employees to work longer hours or adjust those hours to care for their personal and family responsibilities while getting their work done. Although some may have expected employers to cut back on flexibility entirely during this economic downturn, we are seeing employers leverage flexibility as they look toward the future."

  • 77% use flex time and periodically change starting and quitting times within some range of hours

  • 87% take time off during the workday to attend to important family or personal needs without loss of pay

  • 63% work some of their regular paid hours at home on an occasional basis

  • 44% have control over their paid and unpaid overtime hours


"Employers continue to find ways to offer flexibility to their employees, despite economic challenges they may face," says Henry Jackson, president and CEO of SHRM. "As we look ahead, it is clear that in order to remain competitive, employers must find ways to offer flexible work options if they want to attract and retain top talent.”

Virtual offices are helping to forward the flextime work trend in several ways. Virtual offices allow for workshifting, making room for those 77 percent of workers to "use flex time and periodically change starting and quitting times within some range of hours." Virtual offices also make it possible for those 63 percent to "work some of their regular paid hours at home on an occasional basis." Flexible work and virtual offices aren’t always paired, but they are often a good match, especially for companies exploring cost-effective alternative workplace strategies.
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Flexible Work, Virtual Offices, Workshifting and Employee Retention

BOSTON—The Families and Work Institute just released its 2012 report on employers who offer workers perks like flexible work, healthcare benefits, retirement and leave. The overarching results: flexible benefits around place and time are on the rise.

"Flexibility that enhances an employee's ability to decide when and where they accomplish their work tasks is on the rise with increases in the proportion of employers allowing at least some employees access to flex time and place and choices in managing time since 2005," the researchers wrote.

Virtual offices play a key role in the flexible work trend. Virtual offices allow employees to workshift without compromising the integrity of job projects. Virtual offices, flex time and workshifting run in the same vein—and more companies are allowing these concepts to take hold in their cultures.

Here’s some data from the 2012 report:

  • 77% employers offered flextime in 2012

  • 63% offer flexplace offerings

  • 93% allow employees to manage how they spend their work time


“As flexible scheduling and workplaces become more common, organizations that fail to adopt these options run the risk of being out performed by competitors who benefit from lower operating costs and better adaptation to a global knowledge- and service-based economy,” the report warns.

Does your company offer employees to pursue flex time via virtual office space, mobile technology or some other remote working arrangement? If not, it’s time to consider how this trend may fit into your corporate culture. Virtual offices are not going away. And companies who don’t understand that may lose some of the best and brightest talent in the generation ahead.
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How Do Virtual Offices Fit Into Flexible Working Trends?

BOSTON—Want to know what the experts are saying about flexible working? The Society of Human Resource Management just wrapped up a conference about its latest employer survey—and there was plenty of talk about flexible working.

Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute, said emphatically that flexibility is not on a fast track, but it's on a steady track to becoming the new normal. That ties right in with the adoption of virtual offices.

"This is all about, in a tough economy, keeping and having the people who are there doing the best they possibly can, both to make work work for themselves and for their employer,” Galinksy said. Virtual offices can make work work for everyone.

Although virtual offices aren’t quite yet mainstream in every company, that day may soon be coming. Galinksy said we're not at a saturation point in providing flexibility, but we're moving in that direction.

"We have a stereotype that larger companies are more family friendly. But smaller companies have the edge,” she said. “Smaller companies are leading the way in this."

Ken Matos, senior director of employment research and practice, noted that forms of flexibility that allow employees to work longer hours, and adjust those hours on a daily basis, seem to be on the rise. That’s a concept called workshifting and it works well in a virtual office setting.

"The types of flexibility that pull employees away from work for an extended period of time seem to be offered less often,” Matos says. “Those are the moments when a lot of employees can do professional development, it's when they deal with recovery from work and burnout and when they deal with longer-term family issues."
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Virtual Office Job Seekers Should Spruce Up Resume

HOUSTON—Looking for a virtual office job? Have you spruced up your resume? Whether you are looking for a virtual office job or something more traditional, your resume is one of the most critical components in the quest to land an interview.

Flex Hour Jobs, an employment web site that focuses on flexible job opportunities, such as telecommuting and virtual office jobs, is offering 10 secret reasons resumes do not get callbacks or interviews. So if you are on the hunt for a virtual office or telecommuting job, listen up. Here are the top 10 reasons:

  1. Resume is too wacky or unprofessional.

  2. Screening software excludes resumes without relevant experience or pertinent keywords.

  3. Extensive and unexplained work gaps indicating a possible lack of updated skills.

  4. Lack of mobility or inability to travel or relocate.

  5. Job seeker too focused on kind of company they want to work for, rather than what they can do for the company.

  6. Resumes not formatted optimally with visible attention-catching information.

  7. Too many typos or poor grammar.

  8. Resume appears mass mailed and not specific to the job.

  9. Candidate over qualified, too set in their ways of doing a job the same way for years.

  10. Resume appears overly embellished with experience and achievements.


So what is a virtual office job seeker to do? For starters, update your resume regularly. Customize your resume to cater to the specific needs of the virtual office job you are seeking. Make sure relevant job experience is clearly stated in a visible area of the resume.

“Online resume submissions should list the most eye-catching information above the fold, visible before the viewer has to scroll down,” says Jacqueline Sloboda, founder of Flex Hour Jobs. According to Flex Hour Jobs, most hiring managers make up their minds about candidates within six to 15 seconds of reading a resume.

If you need some help, Flex Hour Jobs offers a resume service that costs $30 to $60. Or you can go it on your own. Whichever way you go, increase your chances for a virtual office job by avoiding the top 10 mistakes listed above.
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Can Virtual Offices Help a Sleep-Deprived Nation Get More Winks?

MIAMI—Are you tired? You are not alone. According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control, more than 40 million workers are getting less than six hours of sleep every night. Could virtual offices help you get more rest? Mine does.

"There about 41 million workers who aren't getting the recommended amount of sleep," study author Dr. Sara Luckhaupt, a medical officer in the division of surveillance, hazard evaluations, and field studies at the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Washington, D.C, told HealthDay. "Not surprisingly, workers who work the night shift are more likely to not get enough sleep.”

How can you tell whether or not you are getting enough sleep, really? Well, feeling tired is one clear indication. But here’s something perhaps a little more telling. Sleep expert Dr. Michael J. Breus told WebMD that you are probably sleep deprived if you fall asleep in less than 10 minutes at night or hit the snooze button more than twice in the morning.

Shelby Freedman Harris, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program and the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, told HealthDay that "our society is a very sleep-deprived one."

So how can a virtual office help? In a very practical way. Just the commute time alone could give you an extra hour of sleep in the morning and more time to relax in the evening. Virtual offices also allow for workshifting, which means you could take a much needed nap in the middle of the day if you are too tired. Virtual offices give you the ultimate flexibility to live, work and sleep in harmony with what your body needs.
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