Davinci Virtual Blog



Does Working From Virtual Offices Mean Working Less?

BOSTON-Is working from a virtual office on the homefront an efficient alternative to the traditional office job or a productivity killer? This is a question that’s been asked—and answered—time and time again with regard to virtual offices and alternative workplace strategies. Now, CareerBuilder’s survey on telecommuting is offering both sides of the story.

While 17 percent of Americans who telecommute at least part-time spend one hour or less per day on work, 35 percent work eight or more hours, according to the study. And 40 percent of telecommuters work between four and seven hours per day. The survey questioned about 5,300 employees.

In another finding, Americans are able to work from home on a more regular basis post-recession. Ten percent telecommute at least once a week. That’s up from eight percent in 2007. This has played out in the uptick in virtual offices and the maturing technologies that support telework, like web conferencing and cloud computing.

"With mass adoption of smart phones and advanced network technologies, telecommuters are connected to their offices like never before. As a result, we're seeing more companies embrace the work-from-home option and more workers putting in full-time hours while at home," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

"However, to avoid situations where telecommuters aren't putting in the necessary time, managers need to be clear about expectations and establish daily objectives. The autonomy of working from home can be very rewarding so long as it doesn't diminish productivity."

Telecommuters are largely split as to whether time spent at home or at the office is more conducive to high-quality work. Thirty-seven percent say they are more productive at the office, while 29 percent report they are more productive working from a virtual office. Thirty-four percent do not see a difference, stating they are equally productive at home and the virtual office.

Clearly, entrepreneurs and small business owners have plenty of incentive to make the most of working from home using virtual office technologies. If they don’t work, they don’t eat. Although there are distractions on the home front, there are also built-in advantages, like saving time commuting to an office, saving money on traditional office space, and tapping into virtual office technologies and virtual office services (read: virtual receptionists and virtual services) that make you more productive.

Conclusion: Virtual offices bolster productivity when people are motivated to work. At the end of the day, slackers will be slackers no matter where they office.

Financial Industry Adopting Virtual Office Space

Face time at the office isn't what it used to be. Indeed, more companies are setting the state for the continued rise of the virtual office with alternative workplace strategies.

An Accountemps survey demonstrates how this trend is playing out in the financial services field. The survey reveals that one-third of Chief Financial Officers agree that remote work arrangements, such as telecommuting and working from satellite offices, have increased at their companies in the last three years. The survey questioned 1,400 CFOs across the United States.

"The prevalence of mobile technologies and wireless communication makes it easier for companies to support flexible work arrangements for their employees," says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies.

"Although not all positions are suited to remote work arrangements, for those that are, this option can help give professionals more control over their schedules and aid in recruitment and retention efforts. Businesses that are considering remote work arrangements should set clear policies and establish specific productivity goals."

Whether you are a virtual office worker or an employer relying on virtual office workers, here are some strategic tips from Accountemps:

1.  Communication: Keep remote workers in the loop on the latest news about the department and company. Don't rely solely on e=mail. Schedule regular calls and in-person meetings. Provide frequent status updates to the boss on key projects, and look for opportunities to interact with your manager and colleagues using virtual office technologies.

2.  Resources: Ensure offsite employees have the necessary resources, including appropriate network access. If you are using your own computer and phone system, make sure your equipment is up-to-date. You should be as productive working remotely as you are in the office.

3.  Planning: Establish expectations and guidelines at the outset so you can monitor the arrangement and adjust as necessary. Anticipate potential concerns your employer may have about an offsite work arrangement and be prepared to discuss how you plan to handle them.

4.  Security: Work with your information technology personnel to set up the requisite security protocols. Ensure your computer and other equipment are safeguarded by the company against security threats.

5.  Camaraderie: To ensure remote workers continue to feel connected to the group, include them in team activities and recognize their accomplishments in front of their colleagues. Try to join group activities, from offsite trainings to department celebrations, as much as possible. Seek input from coworkers when brainstorming, and volunteer to assist them when they need help.

What Are the Most Popular Virtual Office Jobs?

MIAMI-FlexJobs’ flexible job index offers some interesting insights into telecommuting trends in August. So if you are looking for a job where you can work at home from a virtual office, perk up your ears.

Here are the career categories with the most available job positions:

  • Medical and Health (8.4%)

  • Education & Training (6.7%)

  • Web & Software Development (5.3%)

  • Sales (5.2%)

  • Administrative (5%)

Meanwhile, the job categories that gained the most volume of flexible work opportunities from July to August, indicating an increase in hiring these fields, were:

  • Graphic Design (42% increase)

  • Engineering (40% increase)

  • Research (28% increase)

To provide an overview of what types of industries the job-seekers are interested in, August numbers show that the most sought after flexible positions were in Data Entry (7.6%), followed by Writing (5.9%), Administrative (5%), Editing (4.8%), and Customer Service (4.2%).

"Companies often see flexible/part-time schedules, telecommuting, and freelance jobs as fringe to their key positions and hiring needs, however the variety and depth of the jobs we find can show a very contrary picture,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.

Indeed, the diversity of positions are often surprising. Just a few job postings from the past month that are worth noting include:

  • A senior systems engineer, who would, "provide concept support for fire control/guidance systems of submarine launched ballistic missile program", with a part-time, flexible schedule

  • A vice president of Strategic Accounts in a full-time telecommuting role for a Fortune 500 company

  • An American Sign Language interpreter for a telecommuting, flexible schedule role

  • A chemistry acquisitions Assistant with a part-time schedule for a leading university

So, are you surprised at the diversity of jobs you could do from a virtual office? Virtual office technologies empower telecommuters to work productively from home, hotel rooms, or just about anywhere else there is an Internet connection and a quiet atmosphere.

How Much Could Telework Save Your Company?

LOS ANGELES-President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act last December. His goal: to pave the way for more than 90 percent of government workers to perform their duties by teleworking.

Now, a new study has revealed the potential impact on California if Gov. Brown signed similar legislation for state workers. According to the Telework Research Network, if state employees in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and other California cities worked from home just two days a week the state could save $1.5 billion a year. That equals $170 million in real estate costs alone.

There are plenty of examples in the corporate world, too. AT&T’s teleworking program has helped the company cut its yearly real estate costs by $30 million. Deloitte LLP saved $30 million in 2008 after redesigning facilities to accommodate mobile workers who don't need permanent desks. IBM cut its real estate costs by $50 million a year.

Beyond real estate, telework programs save companies in supplies, energy expenses, IT costs, and office furniture. Teleworking also reduces absenteeism and increases employee productivity and loyalty. Sun Microsystems estimates they saved over a $1 billion over a three-year period by instituting an aggressive telework program that achieved a 56 percent participation rate amongst its workers.

Let’s look at a few more examples of how virtual office technologies can help companies slash budgets. Cisco saves approximately $277 million each year in time and productivity costs. Nortel determined it would make up the entire cost to outfit and equip a teleworker in the first year if absenteeism was reduced by three and a half days. The examples go on and on.

What about your company? Whether you are a solo entrepreneur in Chicago, a small- to mid-sized firm in New York, or a large company in Los Angeles, you can save money teleworking from a virtual office. Virtual office solutions can enable the cost and productivity savings the Telework Research Network is reporting. The key is to choose a provider that offers reliable virtual office solutions and that can scale up services as your operation grows.

Check out this YouTube video on telework:


Workshifting Gives Virtual Offices the Big Mo