Davinci Virtual Blog



Avoiding Workplace Violence in Virtual Offices

NEW YORK—I read a shocking report today that made me glad I work from a virtual office. "Violence in the American Workplace," a report from AlliedBarton Security Services, reveals that more than half of Americans employed outside their homes have witnessed, heard about or have experienced a violent event or an event that can lead to violence at their workplace.

These events include open hostility, abusive language or threats and can escalate to significant physical harm to someone by another person. Even more significant is that 28 percent of workers report a violent event or one that can lead to violence happened to them at their current place of employment or they have been personally affected by this type of event. Overall, 12 percent have witnessed, heard about or are aware of an incidence of significant physical harm to another person, and 5 percent have had this happen to them or have been personally affected by this type of incident.

"Workplace violence often starts as verbal assaults or harassment and can escalate into threatening behavior, bullying, physical assaults and even, in some instances, deadly encounters," says Bill Whitmore, chairman, president and CEO of AlliedBarton Services. "With the significant increase in unemployment in the past several years and the downturn in the economy, there is every reason to believe that these incidents may increase.”

The disturbing study results go on and on. And the survey continues to reference people who are “employed outside their homes.” Working from a virtual office can cut down the exposure to workplace violence tremendously. At worst, a hostile e-mail from an angry coworker is nowhere near as intimidating or dangerous as open hostility in the workplace.

Until now, I had never considered that one of the benefits of working from a virtual office is avoiding workplace violence. I guess that’s because I didn’t realize how prevalent workplace violence. Obviously, everyone can’t work from a virtual office. But if you do work form a virtual office, you have one more reason to be thankful.

Could You Be a Virtual Office Worker?

LOS ANGELES—Could you be a virtual office worker? Can your employer trust you to work from a distance, even if yo you are both in Los Angeles, New York, Miami or whatever city you call home? Maybe you could, but there’s still a little bit of work to be done to overcome some misconceptions that unsupervised employees are unproductive employees.

According to a recent WorldatWork study, 80 percent of American employees would like to work from home. But the number of workers who work from a virtual office only adds up to about 2.8 million people, according to the Telework Research Network.

Still, the number is growing—the number grew more than 60 percent between 2005 and 2009, to be exact. And that number doesn’t take into account home-based businesses, many of which use virtual office technologies to get the job done. There were 3.1 million home-based business workers in 2008.

Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com, a consumer credit card comparison and education site that published an infographic tracking telecommuting trends, says part-time teleworkers include millions of mobile workers. At least 40% of the U.S. workforce (52 million people) hold jobs that could be done via a virtual office.

The typical teleworker is a college-educated 35- to 54-year-old, non-union employee working in telecommuting-compatible professions such as accounting, graphic design, engineering, computer programming, journalism/copywriting, administrative support or customer service.

“Despite the bottom-line benefits, it’s mostly the larger companies—those with 100-plus employees—that are hopping on the telework bandwagon,” says Tran. “In the long term, it’s inevitable that many more jobs will be done at home, but in the near term, the spirit is willing, but employer trust is weak.”

Are Virtual Office Users Really More Productive?

NEW YORK—Sixty-two percent of Americans believe more people want the option to telecommute—and another 83 percent believe that telecommuting is on the rise. So says a survey from online meeting software firm TeamViewer and Harris Interactive.

Check out these additional statistics from the study and then we’ll tie this in to virtual offices:

  • 53% says smartphones and tablets are increasing the use of telecommuting

  • 49% says access to telecommuting is increasing

  • 29% say telecommuting is getting easier

  • 30% say the use of telecommuting is increasing in small businesses

When asked about what Americans believe their own behavior would be as a telecommuter versus working in an office every day, 54 percent said they would be at least somewhat more productive and 32 percent  said they would even be more or much more productive.

As more Americans discover the ability to telecommute, a surprising number of them admit they would be willing to make sacrifices in order to get the option to work from a virtual office:

  • 34% would give up social media

  • 30% would give up texting

  • 29% would give up chocolate

  • 25% would give up smartphones

  • 20% would give up shopping

As you can see, employees are willing to give up quite a lot to work from a virtual office. The good news is, no one has to lose in the virtual office scenario. Employers gain productivity from workers and employees can still eat all the chocolate they want.

Virtual Offices Can Drive Employee Empowerment

NEW YORK—What do employees really, really want more than anything else? More empowerment, according to a new survey from Fierce, a communication training and leadership development company.  Virtual offices can help.

Think about it. Most companies create best practices around various issues. But are those best practices really driving the success of the organization? Not always. Forty-four percent of employees claim their company’s best practices actually hinder productivity and morale.

If that’s not bad enough, another 47 percent report that their organization’s current practices consistently get in the way of desired results. And when asked which practices hold their organization back, nearly 50 percent of respondents identified a lack of company-wide transparency and too little involvement in company decisions as key areas of concern.

Now let’s flip the script and talk about what employees want. Nearly half of respondents said the most beneficial practices are the ones that encourage accountability, development, and individual empowerment within the organization. It's clear that in order to implement practices that are beneficial to the individual -- as well as the organization as a whole -- companies must foster an environment where individual efficacy is encouraged and where communication is both elicited and valued. Virtual offices can play a key role in this scenario.

Virtual office users can tap into accountability and development tools like WorkSimple’s Social Goals, for example. Virtual office users can also leverage distance learning options for continuing education—right from the comfort of their virtual office. Need better communication? Virtual office technologies like web conferencing fit the bill. The point is, you don’t have to work in the same building to drive employee empowerment to new heights—and you don’t have to sacrifice accountability. Virtual office technologies let you balance both.

O2 Pilot Demonstrates Benefits of Virtual Office Work

LONDON—What do you get when 3,000 employees all move to a flexible work environment in a single day? A mass telecommuting movement that offers keen insights for virtual office users.

This week, O2 launched the largest-ever flexible working initiative when it allowed one quarter of its 12,000-member workforce to work remotely for a day.  The pilot aims to push the boundaries of what is possible through flexible working in London and beyond.

“We practice what we preach, and by asking O2 employees to work together as a team to test the company’s flexible working practices for themselves, we want to show that there are no limits—no matter how big or small your business is,” says  O2 Business Director Ben Dowd. “By sharing experiences from across our business, from business divisions to operations, we hope to encourage more organizations to help their workforce become mobile.”

O2 hopes its pilot showcases a wider economic business case for flexible working in helping to drive efficiency, productivity and innovation. O2 has previously saved more than £3 million in overhead costs through flexible working. As part of the pilot, O2 is evaluating reductions to electricity usage, CO2 emissions and travel time as employees swap their usual journey to work in favor of working from a remote location.

Virtual office technologies made it all possible. A team of 20 people spent two months planning for the big telecommuting day, making sure employees had access to virtual office technologies and tools that would support their remote work. Davinci Virtual Office Solutions offers virtual office space and virtual office technologies in most areas of London.

Specifically, Davinci Virtual has 11 virtual office locations in London, including:

  • Charlotte Street London

  • Great Titchfield London

  • Margaret Street London

  • Southampton Row London

  • Hammersmith London

  • Victoria London

  • Austin Friars London

  • Grove House

  • SoHo Executive Office Suite

  • Devonshire Square Executive Suite

  • Fetter Lane Executive Suite