Davinci Virtual Blog



Virtual Offices Use Promotes Lower Stress, Better Work-Life Balance

NEW YORK—In our final review of the new report from Ipsos for Reuters News on telecommuting and its implications for virtual office space, we’re going to take a look on how telecommuting impacts stress levels and work-life balance initiatives, as well as its role in keeping women on board.

First, let’s look at women and telecommuting. A strong majority of employees in 24 countries agree equally (83%; 46% strongly, 47% somewhat) on two assessments of telecommuting:

(1) that it will keep talented women in the workforce instead of leaving temporarily or completely to raise children and
(2) that telecommuters have less stress due to less time spent in getting to their workplace.

From those perspectives, virtual offices can be a bastion for retaining top female talent.

On the stress front, 60 percent survey participants in Russia strongly agree telecommuters have less stress as a result of less time spent getting to work, followed by Turkey (53%), Hungary (51%), Argentina (45%) and Mexico (45%). The Swedes (19%) are least likely to strongly agree, followed by Australia (21%), Great Britain (22%), the United States (24%) and China (25%). It seems people in the U.S. stay stressed out no matter where they work.

Finally, 78 percent that employees who telecommute are better able to achieve balance between work and family. That's a very high number and a very strong case for virtual office space.

Telecommuters Debate Momentum Behind Trend

Study: One in Five Employees Telecommutes

NEW YORK—One in five employees who can connect online to their workplace report that they telecommute on a “frequent basis.” So says a new report from Ipsos for Reuters News. The report bolsters the case for virtual office space.

What’s more, seven percent say they “work every day from home which is remote or separate from their employers real office elsewhere.” And another 10 percent say they do so “on a very consistent and constant basis like evenings and weekends.”

Before we go any further, let’s define the world telecommuting as it’s used in this survey. Telecommuting is when an employee uses a stationary or portable computer to do their office work from a location outside of their office—either from their home or another location—either regularly or from time to time. Telecommuting and virtual offices go hand in hand.

Often referred to as “telecommuters,” these employees have the flexibility of using telecommunications—such as e-mail, phone, online chat—to communicate with colleagues in real time or do their work online from a remote location any time they wish—usually when they log in to their worksite—including evenings and weekends. It stands to reason that many telecommuters work from a virtual office.

The Ipsos study also looked at whether or not telecommuters are more productive. Many studies show that people who work from virtual offices are indeed more productive. But what did this study say?

Two thirds, or 65 percent, said telecommuters are more productive because the flexibility allows them to work when they have the most focus and/or because having maximum control over the work environment and schedule leads to job satisfaction and happiness. The other third, or 35 percent, agree that telecommuters do not work as hard because there is less manager supervision and/or because of family and social distractions at home.

Can a Virtual Office Space Help You Stay Trim?

NEW YORK-How much you sleep may be as important as how much you eat when you are trying to lose weight. It's true, according to a University of Chicago study. Research shows that a lack of sleep undermines your efforts to lose body fat. A virtual office space could help your cause.

Ten overweight but otherwise healthy adults on a moderate calorie-restricted diet were randomly assigned to sleep either 5.5 hours or 8.5 hours each night in a closed clinical research environment. After two weeks, researchers measured loss of fat and lean body mass. Compared to participants who slept 5.5 hours a night, the dieters that slept for 8.5 hours lost a whopping 56 percent more body fat. The dieters in the sleep restricted group had lost less fat and more lean body mass.

“Among other hormonal effects, we found that sleep restriction caused an increase in ghrelin levels in the blood,” says Plamen Penev, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Section of Endocrinology, at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study. “Ghrelin is a hormone that has been shown to reduce energy expenditure, stimulate hunger and food intake, promote retention of fat, and increase glucose production in the body.”

The conclusion: It’s importance to get adequate sleep to maintain fat-free body mass when dieting to lose weight. The Ghrelin factor could explain why sleep-deprived participants also reported feeling hungrier during the study. The study shows that even short periods of sleep deprivation can undermine efforts to lose weight. When restricting calories, dieters should consider obtaining adequate amounts of sleep to ensure that they retain lean body mass and lose fat.

So what does that have to do with a virtual office? There are two angles on this. One of them we have explored before. When you work from a virtual office, you are more productive. There are less distractions than when you work in one of a row of cubicles in a traditional office space. There are also fewer distractions than when you work from a coworking facility or a coffee shop. With fewer distractions, you can get more work done, get to bed at a decent hour, and enjoy a good night’s rest.

The other angle is avoiding the temptation to eat. When you work from a Starbucks, you may load up on coffee, but you might also be tempted to load up on high-calorie cappuccinos, pastries and other goodies in the refrigerated section. If you work in traditional office space, you may be tempted to go out to lunch with co-workers who aren’t watching their weight and end up eating something you wish you hadn’t. With a virtual office space, you can take control of your time—and your caloric intake—more easily.

Stem the Tide of Employee Turnover With Virtual Office Space

NEW YORK-I just read about an FPC Workplace Web Poll—and it had some startling results with major implications for today’s companies.

The bottom line: There may be a major shakeup in the employment marketplace in 2012. As employees see the job market improving, they are looking around for new opportunities. Consider the numbers:

  • 79% say they are planning to look for a new job when the job market improves

  • 50% felt they had gained marketable skills and lack advancement opportunities in their current position

  • 28% indicate they would move on at least in part due how their employer treated its employees during the recession

  • 8% stated that they were well treated and planned to stay put

Only 8 percent. Survey respondents were relatively indifferent to work-life balance perks either as a selling point for a new position or as a “keeping” feature for their current employment. Half of respondents indicated that perks such as casual Fridays, free lunches, and company-sponsored events were important to them, but would not dissuade them from considering a new position that did not offer them.

“As the economy and the job market continue to improve for college-educated management professionals, we’re seeing a level of pent-up demand for career change that candidates may have put off over the past couple of years due to economic uncertainty,” Ron Herzog, CEO & President of FPC. “Despite much of the negative commentary we all hear these days, employers are finding that they need to compete to attract and retain their top talent. Companies should be thinking about this in a proactive way.”

Virtual office space can help you stem the tide of turnovers, and stop the bleeding of best and brightest talent going to work for your competitors. You can maintain high levels of engagement with virtual office workers, as well as empower employees. Engagement and empowerment are two pillars of a happy workforce.

With virtual office space, you are offering more than just another work-life balance perk. Alternative workplace strategies give employees the flexibility and freedom they need to handle personal and business issues as they arise. In fact, many studies show that employees who work from a virtual office actually work longer hours in the end and are overall more productive. So as you consider your talent attraction and retention strategies for 2012, consider virtual offices.