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“Best Companies” Include Telecommuting Options
Way back in 1996, Ernst & Young established an Office for Retention with the express purpose of raising its overall rate of retention, especially among women. Since then, the firm has improved its retention rate of women over that of men and continues to benefit from the support of firm management to keep the momentum going. Part of the magic is telecommuting.
Ernst & Young employees take advantage of flexible work arrangements, such as compressed workweeks, telecommuting and flextime. With this flexibility, they can manage and achieve success in their careers, suited to their individual needs—ultimately producing the best possible results for Ernst & Young's people and its clients.
Companies like Ernst & Young are pioneers in telecommuting. Virtual office space goes hand in hand with telecommuting. Virtual office technologies empower telecommuting. At some level, you can telecommute without any virtual office space or virtual office technologies. All you really need in many cases is a phone and an Internet connection.
Case in point: When Ernst & Young started allowing telecommuting, virtual offices were hardly mainstream. In fact, most people didn’t have an Internet connection and those that did were most likely to be using AOL with a Netscape browser. But times have changed. Although telecommuting was possible long before the Internet, virtual office space and virtual office technologies help telecommuters work more productively, which has spurred more companies to adopt the practice.
Congratulations to all the companies that landed on Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list. I’m sure many others besides Ernst & Young have some sort of flexible work arrangement—and it’s no coincidence that those companies are on this list.
Convergys Corp. Forwards Virtual Office Trend
Convergys Corporation is only looking to put 18 of those new employees to work at its physical location. The rest will be telecommuters. That means, essentially, Convergys is hiring call center employee to work from home—from a virtual office space.
The company’s reasoning?
“We are especially pleased to offer telecommuting positions which allow us to expand our walls beyond our brick-and-mortar site, and extend employment to qualified individuals who may find a daily commute to be difficult or cost prohibitive,” says John Sargis, site leader for the Convergys contact center in Ft. Lauderdale.
Sargis clearly isn’t concerned about a loss of productivity. The company will train its telecommuting new hires for two weeks before they begin taking inbound customer calls from their home-based virtual office. Convergys offers telecommuting employees hourly wages plus incentives, and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, tuition reimbursement, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off.
Clearly, the move toward telecommuting and virtual offices is gaining ground. Although virtual offices make good sense for call center employees, this isn’t the only industry that can or is benefiting from virtual office technologies. Large companies like Cisco and IBM are tapping into telecommuting, as are universities.
Likewise, virtual office space can be a professionalism-saver for entrepreneurs looking to offer a stronger business image. Davinci’s virtual office space offer prime business addresses in Ft. Lauderdale that get attention. Virtual office space also offers a physical meeting place for entrepreneurs who need to conduct client presentations, or just meet with them in a professional business setting to discuss projects.
Convergys Corporation’s move to hire 100 telecommuters and put them to work in home-based virtual offices is further confirmation of an ongoing trend. Is it time for your company to consider virtual office technologies that help your company shave costs and increase employee productivity?
Istanbul Offers Prime European Virtual Office Location
With other reports of Turkey working to win international favor on the business scene, the time may be right to consider opening a virtual office in Istanbul, Turkey. If your company does business in this region, Istanbul certainly offers a strategic location.
With a population of 12.8 million, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the first largest in the world. Turkey is also the second largest metro in Europe. The Maslak financial district is famous worldwide.
If you decide the time is right to open a virtual office in Istanbul, you can choose from the Turkey Business Center, Sun Plaza Istanbul or Spring Giz Business Center. Let’s review each one.
- The Turkey Business Center is located at Yildiz Posta Cad. Yasemin Solk. Birlik Sit. You can rent a virtual office at the Turkey Business Center for $155 a month.
- The Sun Plaza Istanbul is located at Maslak Maallesi Bilim Sokak. This is a high-rise tower in the heart of the city. You can rent virtual office space at The Sun Plaza Istanbul for $240 a month.
- The Spring Giz Business Center is located at Büyükdere Caddesi Meydan Sokak. This is another modern building that rents for $240 a month.
No matter which Istanbul virtual office you choose, you can be assured Davinci Virtual is offering you a prime business address and access to business center support. Your virtual office space includes mail and package receipt, a lobby greeter, and a client drop off and pick up point.
You can have your mail forwarded to anywhere in the world from your Istanbul virtual office. And if you need a conference room in Istanbul, you can rent one from $25 to $40 an hour. You can also rent a day office from $10 to $35 an hour, depending on which one of the locations you choose.
The Pros and Cons of Telecommuting
One of the most intriguing parts about Eggers’ article on telecommuting was the list of pros and cons. Both should be considered when considering whether to work from home using a virtual office or whether to rent traditional office space. Although this article deals specifically with finance professionals, there are some lessons in it for other industries.
Again, I’d suggest reading Eggers’ entire article, but I’ll outline her pros and cons here for a quick discussion of telecommuting and I'll relate it to virtual offices.
The “pros” she listed are:
- You can sleep later and still get more done.
- You’ll save money—both for you and your boss.
- You could live somewhere you’ve always wanted to, and keep your job.
- You’ll have fewer coworker interruptions.
- You can help your firm go nationwide and global.
The “cons” she listed are:
- Confidentiality and security can be an issue.
- Jurisdiction can come into play.
- “Flexible” can become too flexible.
- Face-to-face interaction is highly limited.
- It could totally backfire.
I don’t know whether or not Eggers works from a virtual office—but I do. (I am based near Ft. Lauderdale.) So I can vouch for the “pros” of telecommuting she lists. But I don’t totally agree with the “cons.” (Granted, these are specific to the financial services industry.)
She cites a risk with wireless networks, but I’m not using a wireless networks—not do you have to use a wireless network to work from a virtual office. From her perspective of the financial services industry, yes, this may make sense. But for most of us it’s irrelevant. She also cites jurisdiction in the financial services industry. This is another “con” that doesn’t apply to most of us.
Eggers says “flexible” can become too flexible. I suppose it could for some, but if you are an entrepreneur determined to build your business, you won’t slack off. And if you are a company employee who is ambitious, you won’t either. Recent studies show that telecommuting doesn’t engender laziness, but greater productivity. Virtual offices breed productivity.
Eggers says face-to-face interaction is highly limited. To me, this is not a disadvantage. I work on very tight deadlines. I spend most of my day on the phone or writing. Face-to-face interaction is overrated. If I want to interact personally, I can go out to lunch. Ultimately, I’m more productive without co-workers sitting next to me.
Sleep Easy with a Virtual Office Space
But how important is it to get a good night’s sleep? A team of British and Italian researchers will tell you that it impacts your health and the length of your life.
In fact, according to the study, people who sleep less than six hours a night are 12 percent more likely to die prematurely than those sleeping between six and eight hours a night. How much sleep should you get? The general consensus across sleep studies is between six and eight hours a night for adults. Teens and kids need more.
OK, so what does this have to do with virtual office space? Plenty. I’ve written about this topic before—and I’ll probably write about it again. The way I see it, if researchers find it valuable to continue looking at the impacts of sleep and sleeplessness, it’s just as well to explore how virtual office space can help you be more productive so you can get more sleep.
Indeed, virtual offices set the stage for a productivity boost in more ways than one. First, you can avoid all the distractions associated with the traditional office life. You know, the water cooler conversations, the noises around and about you, the commute to work. Virtual offices eliminate all of those distractions and help you get more done in less time.
Even if you do have to pull an all-nighter to meet client expectations once in a while—or if you have to work late every night one week to take advantage of the dead silence that comes in the dead of the night so you can meet your deadlines—working from a virtual office space gives you the freedom to catch up on lost sleep.
Ultimately, researchers concluded that sleeping at night is better than taking naps in the day, but some sleep is better than no sleep. So if you are looking for ways to get more done—and get more sleep—check into the virtues of a virtual office space.
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