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Can Virtual Offices Put an End to Office Romance?
Think about it. Where there is less face-to-face, in-person contact there is less opportunity for physical relationships. That’s an important factor considering Millennials don’t shy away from workplace relationships, according to a Workplace Options and Public Policy Polling survey.
The poll reveals that 71 percent of employed Millennials—workers aged 18-29—see a workplace romance as having positive effects such as improved performance and morale. Noteworthy is the fact that only 10 percent of older worker shared that sentiment. Could it be wisdom speaking from experience?
Poll results indicate that, as a group, the Millennial generation is more open to dating their supervisors than all other age groups combined. Forty percent of Millennials said they would date their supervisor, compared to 12 percent of older respondents. Again, could that be wisdom speaking from experience?
You can cut back on at least some of this office romancing with a virtual office set up. In a virtual office workplace, Millennials are less likely to chat at the water cooler, make lunch dates that turn into dinner and movies, or otherwise get romantically involved. If your firm is concerned about distractions, damaged reputations and harassment accusations, that’s a positive step.
A virtual office set up can even help you cut back on the gossip that often accompanies office romances—and the gossip that hinders productivity. With 57 percent of Millennials saying they would share information about a workplace romance with friends, coworkers and on social networks, this is a real issue.
Any workplace, whether traditional or virtual, should have clear guidelines around office romances. These relationships can indeed be dangerous. Virtual offices aren’t the panacea to the potential legal risks of office romances, but along with policies and guidelines they can be a tool in a Millennial workplace.
Check out this video on office romances:
Virtual Office Technologies Part of BYOD Trend
Emerging work strategies are changing the workplace. For example, space per person already averages 100 square feet or less in Europe. Data show the same will be case for 40 percent of companies in North America by the year 2017. What’s more, companies are using less office and work space, but they are making it more inviting, open, progressive and collaborative.
Another interesting insight is that 40 percent of employees believe the traditional office provides better tools and technology. That may be a perception issue, especially in the light of cloud computing. Virtual office technologies are making it seamless to work remotely, many times even from a mobile phone, without skipping a beat.
Of course, the CoreNet Global survey suggests employees will bring their own technology to work by the year 2020, because most companies can't keep pace with the "relentless advance of technology," especially the continuous introduction of new personal digital devices like tablets and iPhones. The report predicts cloud computing will be replaced by these "always networked" personal devices, because they will have "near-infinite" memory.
All this suggests the continued rise of alternative workplace strategies, including virtual offices. Virtual office technologies are answering the call for corporations looking to reduce square footage per employee, allow flexible work options and accommodate road warriors. And Davinci Virtual Office Solutions has you covered with a host of virtual offices, virtual receptionists, virtual assistants and other virtual office solutions.
Are Virtual Office Jobs Available for New College Grads?
Plenty, according to the latest FlexJobs’ Flexible Index Report. Jobs aimed at candidates starting a new career jumped 90 percent in the latest index. That’s good news for would-be virtual office users.
"The large boost in open jobs at the entry level bodes well for upcoming grads," says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. "As Forbes recently reported that Gen Y wants flexibility, this is good timing for those ready to enter the work force."
Some of the virtual office jobs that saw the largest increases in March include:
1. Data Entry (51% increase)
2. Customer Service (17% increase)
3. Administration (16% increase)
4. Medical and Health (14% increase)
According to FlexJobs, medical and health continues to dominate as the career field with the most available virtual office or telecommuting (or otherwise-flexible jobs). Specifically, the job categories with the highest volume of flexible jobs including, telecommuting, part-time, and freelance jobs, are:
1. Medical and Health
3. Customer Service
4. Education & Training
"With the competitive job market, now is the time for upcoming grads to start applying for positions," says Fell. "And if they are interested in flexibility, there are good signs of growth in jobs offering flexible schedules, telecommuting options, or freelance contracts."
This is all good news for job candidates who prefer working in virtual, remote or mobile environment. Virtual offices are the wave of the future (and the present, for that matter), as trends like telecommuting and the mobile workforce continue to drive the evolution of traditional office space. Indeed, alternative workplace strategies are emerging rapidly in large and small cities alike—right on time for a new generation of virtual office workers.
Virtual Offices: How to Answer Your Boss’ Pet Peeves
I wanted to wrap up this remote worker series with some stats that we didn’t include in the first few installments—noteworthy stats that deserve an explanation. Let’s dive right in. I’ll make my virtual office comments alongside the stats.
First, let’s look at bosses’ top pet peeves in dealing with remote workers:
- 49% cite the inability to talk face-to-face
- 26% cite a lack of focus
- 22% cite a lack of accountability
- 22% cite the belief that employees are doing less work
Here I see myths and misperceptions. I understand the need to talk face-to-face, but virtual office technologies like web conferencing get you pretty close. You can see eye-to-eye, read body language, make eye contact, etc. Virtual office technologies don’t replace human contact, but they can make up for a lot.
Bosses who think virtual office workers lack focus and accountability—or believe virtual employees are doing less work—aren’t looking through the right lens. Office workers in traditional office space can loaf just as well as a virtual office workers. Virtual office workers who are engaged and empowered tend to be high achievers and self-starters. If your employees aren’t focused, accountable and productive, it may be time to hire new employees.
Other survey data reveals that bosses are much more likely than employees to conduct business in public spaces (62% vs. 34%). The most frequent places mentioned by bosses include:
- 46% conduct business while driving
- 29% conduct business on public transportation
- 25% conduct business at a bar or restaurant
Here again, virtual office technologies can help you stay productive while on the go. Virtual office apps are one way, web conference apps are another. Want to stay productive while mobile? I assure you there is an app for that.
Davinci Virtual Office Solutions has a virtual office app for iPhone and Android devices, as well as plenty of virtual office technologies, virtual receptionists, virtual assistants, and, of course, virtual office space in Toronto.
Why Do People Really Use Virtual Offices?
Specifically, the top reasons survey respondents cite for working remotely are:
48% need to finish work that couldn't be finished at the office
44% want fewer distractions
35% want to be more productive
35% want a better balance of work/home priorities
"You may dismiss this as a Generation-C issue but this speaks broadly to all generations,” says Carolyn Buccongello, vice president of Human Resources with Microsoft Canada. “There are pros and cons to this new way of work, but it is not going away and technology can become the key to resetting those boundaries."
According to Buccongello, there are three core dimensions to transforming business for flexible work:
1. Technology: With the advances technology, the ability to work any time, any place, from virtually anywhere shatters the myth of the office as the primary work location.
2. Places: Canadian workers are on the move from airports, other offices, commuting home on the train. They are becoming more fluid in terms of their physical presence.
3. People: Canadian modern society is shifting as technology becomes commonplace, enabling Canadians to work and communicate in different ways.
"To create a flexible workforce begins with leadership teams building a culture of trust and a vision that focuses on individual results rather than how much time they spend at their desk,” Buccongello says. “You have to empower your people with self-direction. That's not just common sense, that's business sense.”
Do you know what makes common sense and business sense? Virtual office space. Virtual office space can help you avoid distractions, finish work more quickly, and overall be more productive so you can find greater work-life balance. Davinci Virtual Office Space has virtual offices in Toronto and beyond to help you meet your goals.
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