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Will the Office Become Extinct? Long Live Virtual Offices.

Is the office going the way of the dinosaur?

According to the Cisco Connected World Report, traditional office space seems to be making room to alternative workplace strategies. The survey reveals plenty about the state of officing today. The results lead me to consider how virtual office space fits into alternative workplace strategies in corporate America.

“The Cisco Connected World Report gives further insight into the future of the workplace and it is clear from the research findings that the desire among employees to be more mobile and flexible in their work lifestyles is extremely strong throughout the world—as strong as salary,” says Marie Hattar, vice president of Borderless Networks at Cisco.

For employees who can access corporate networks, applications, and information outside of the office, about half of the respondents (45 percent) admitted working between two to three extra hours a day, and a quarter were putting in four hours or more. However, extra hours do not translate to always-on, on-demand employees. They simply want the flexibility to manage their work-life balance throughout their waking hours.

Employees also feel strongly about having the flexibility to work anywhere that it would dictate their company loyalty (13 percent), choice of jobs (12 percent), and morale (9 percent). For example, two of three employees worldwide (66 percent) said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media, and mobility than a higher-paying job without such flexibility. This percentage was higher in some countries, such as Spain (78 percent), despite economic woes the past couple years.



“It is also evident that organizations need to embrace a borderless IT infrastructure to capture competitive advantage and increase employee satisfaction. The employee desire to be productive anytime, anywhere, using any device provides an opportunity to embrace the agility and flexibility provided through a Borderless Network Architecture," Hattar says.

The virtual office fits directly in this business trend, which is hardly new. Cisco has been tracking this for years and is itself an early adopter of telecommuting and other alternative workforce trends. That's one reason why Davinci Virtual has partnered with Cisco on the virtual office front to delivery WebEx. These and other virtual office technologies enable alternative workplace strategies.
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Who Needs an Office? A Virtual Office Will Do.

Cisco just released an intriguing international workplace study. The tech industry giant reveals three of five workers around the world believe that they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive.

In fact, their desire to be mobile and flexible in accessing corporate information is so strong that the same percentage of workers would choose jobs that were lower-paying but had leniency in accessing information outside of the office over higher salaried jobs that lacked flexibility.

According to Cisco, these and numerous other findings provide real-life insight into the expectations, demands, and behavior of the global workforce that is influencing the way information is accessed and how business communications are changing.

The stage is set for the continued rise of the virtual office. Here are some key findings from The Cisco Connected World Report:

The study, which involved surveys of 2,600 workers and IT professionals in 13 countries, revealed that three of every five employees (60 percent) believed it was unnecessary to be in the office to be productive. This was especially the case in Asia and Latin America. More than nine of 10 employees in India (93 percent) said they did not need to be in the office to be productive. This sentiment was extremely prevalent in China (81 percent) and Brazil (76 percent) as well.

Two of every three employees surveyed (66 percent) expect IT to allow them to use any device—personal or company-issued—to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere at any time, and they expect the types of devices to continue diversifying. In the future, employees expect their choice of network-connected endpoints to broaden to non-traditional work devices like televisions and navigation screens in cars.

It may be unnecessary to be in the office to be productive, but you still need some sort of connection with the office. That’s where the virtual office comes in. Virtual office space is part and parcel of the alternative workplace strategies of many companies around the world. From New York to Los Angeles to Chicago and beyond, companies are turning to virtual office space to allow employees the freedom to telecommute or work remotely.
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Cut Real Estate Costs with Virtual Office Space, Part 2

As we discussed yesterday, facilities are the second-highest expense for large companies—and many are providing more workspace than they really needed.

There’s a real opportunity in the realm of virtual office space. Today, we’re going to look at 11 ways companies can reduce corporate real estate costs without sacrificing productivity. These suggestions come from New Ways of Working panelist members.

1. Start with a fact-based discussion about utilization and mobility. Conduct research to understand the existing situation, such as utilization, rather than rely on assumptions.

2. Consolidate facilities. Enterprises can save overhead and lease costs by combining data centers, lab space, demo and training centers.

3. Strengthen/streamline supply chain - accomplish more through supply chain optimization-reducing the number of suppliers/contractors to cut administrative costs.

4. Drive workspace design based on utilization studies. Track who works where and how often. Develop ratios to help allocate workspace. For example, knowledge workers might be out of the office 40 percent to 70 percent of the time, giving a company an opportunity to share workspaces.

5. Optimize workspace size based on type of work performed.

6. Create policies giving people choice about where they work.

7. Ensure the technology will support people wherever they choose to work.

8. Establish processes for developing service level agreements with employees

9. Update performance evaluation process to make it performance-based rather than traditional activity-based.

10. Set up mechanisms so team members can review workloads and balance them within teams.

11. Reinvest a portion of the real estate savings into improving the workplace.

You can see how the virtual office space touches on a number of these strategies. When a company consolidates facilities, virtual offices can fill in the gap. Giving people a choice about where they work could lead to virtual office space considerations. You get the picture. As you seek to reduce your real estate costs, seek to understand all the benefits of virtual office space.
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Cut Real Estate Costs with Virtual Office Space, Part I

Facilities are the second-highest expense for large companies—and many are providing more workspace than they really needed. There’s a real opportunity in the realm of virtual office space.

"The opportunity to reduce facility costs, by reconfiguring office space or reducing the average space allocated to each worker is an opportunity corporate leaders cannot ignore," says Jim Creighton, co-founder of New Ways of Working, a member organization focused on alternative workplace solutions.

New Ways of Working recently hosted a roundtable to examine how to decrease real estate expense while maintaining a steady workforce or even increasing headcount.

A panel consisting of Chris Hood, Program Manager, the HP Workplace at Hewlett-Packard, Clark Sept, Co-Founder, Business Place Strategies, and Mark Wartenberg, Founding Partner, Co3 Group, Ltd., tackled the problem of cutting real estate costs by 50 percent while accommodating more employees in less space. Virtual office space can play a key role in these strategies.

Real-world examples demonstrate that companies can save millions of square feet of real estate and reduce occupancy costs by optimizing footprint, employing workplace flexibility, and implementing processes and places that support mobile work. Again, virtual office space can play a key role. Hood says HP has just about halved its office space worldwide, and has reduced operating costs by about 40 percent.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at 11 ways companies can reduce corporate real estate costs without sacrificing productivity, with virtual office space front and center in the discussion.
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Woburn Virtual Office Space Puts You Close to Boston

About halfway between Lowell and Boston, Woburn, Mass. is home to about 38,000 people. The Boston suburb borders Wilmington on the north, Stoneham and Reading on the east, Winchester on the South, and Burlington and Lexington on the west. That puts Woburn smack dab in the middle of plenty of business activity.

Woburn is a mix of residential neighborhoods, office and industrial parks, and wooded conservation areas. If you are an architecture buff, you’ll appreciate the styles of New England dating back to the 1600s through colonial times in the 1800s. But you may appreciate the high-tech facilities in Woburn even more, especially if you need virtual office space in Woburn.

Davinci Virtual can hook you up with virtual office space in Woburn at the Waterfield Business Center. Located at 12 Alfred Street, the Waterfield Business Center is a modern building that taps into the latest in business equipment and technology for its virtual offices, including high-speed Internet access, static IP addresses, network security, and more.

When you rent Woburn virtual office space from Davinci Virtual, you get a prestigious business address in the city. You can also enjoy mail and package support, a business support center, a lobby greeter, a client drop off and pick up point, and mail forwarding services.

You can rent a virtual office space in Woburn for $110 a month. For that price, you are within about 15 minutes from Boston, Wilmington and many other cities. That gives you a great location to meet your clients from throughout the region. You can rent conference room space for between $25 an $40 an hour or day time office space for $10 to $35 an hour.
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