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Virtual Office Space Empowers Flex-Time

It’s a proven fact: telecommuters balance work and family life better than office workers. But it’s also a proven fact that telecommuters can maintain that balance even while sometimes squeezing in a couple extra days’ worth of work each week. So say researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU).

BYU analyzed data from 24,436 IBM employees in 75 countries. Given a flexible schedule and the option to telecommute, employees were able to clock 57 hours per week before experiencing an imbalance between work and personal life—and not all of those 57 hours are telecommuting hours.

According to E. Jeffrey Hill, a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life, the typical high-flexibility work arrangement includes a mix of office time and firing up the laptop from home, the venue depending on the task at hand. Virtual office space can help with the latter.

“Telecommuting is really only beneficial for reducing work-life conflict when it is accompanied by flextime,” Hill says. “Managers were initially skeptical about the wisdom of working at home and said things like, ‘If we can’t see them, how can we know they are working?’”

Nowadays more than 80 percent of IBM managers agree that productivity increases in a flexible environment. In the current economy, the scenario is being repeated with other businesses feeling the pinch. Virtual office space can enable flextime at large and small companies.

“A down economy may actually give impetus to flexibility because most options save money or are cost-neutral,” Hill says. “Flexible work options are associated with higher job satisfaction, boosting morale when it may be suffering in a down economy.”

Virtual office space is also an economical option in a down economy, both for the company and its employees. Employees can save on gas and even lunch expenses by working at home from a virtual office a couple of days a week. And companies can lease less office space if workers are distributed more evenly across the headquarters and the home front.

Virtual office technologies ensure that employees don’t miss a beat in terms of client or staff meetings. Virtual office technologies like Cisco’s WebEx, for example, enable seamless meetings from anywhere. Whether your employees are stationed in your city or road warriors traveling from place to place, virtual office technologies can drive greater productivity—and greater employee satisfaction—at your company.
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Labor Day and the Virtual Office Space

It's Labor Day in the United States. Have you ever thought about the significance of this day, other than an extra day off from work? I hadn't. So I decided to look it up.

Labor Day started in New York City in 1882, but became a federal holiday in 1894 after many workers were killed by the U.S. Military during the Pullman Strike. Then-president Grover Cleveland immediately began working to mend fences with the labor movement to avoid additional problems.

What a different world that was. Today, we don't even consider its significance. We just think of Labor Day as the official end of summer. But so much has changed in the U.S. labor market in the last 100 years. There's maternity leave, sick pay and virtual offices.

Wikipedia defines a virtual office as a combination of off-site live communication and address services that allow users to reduce traditional office costs while maintaining business professionalism.

MIT offers different definition of virtual office. This educational institution defines virtual office as when, "The company has a physical location, but employees have no assigned offices. Employees may have lockers and 'check out' a desk for the day, they may set up an 'office' in their hotel, etc. This term is distinct from 'Virtual Company' which refers to companies that have no one physical location at all, no collection of inventory that's held by the company, etc."

At Davinci Virtual, we lean more toward the Wikipedia definition of a virtual office space. Core features of our products include affordable administrative support solutions such as professional live receptionists, call answering and screening, scheduling, live web chat, video conferencing and over 750 global virtual office locations with access to conference rooms and business support services. Ultimately, Davinci Virtual allows companies to create a big business image on a small business budget.

So as you enjoy this Labor Day, consider how you can make the fall season more productive for yourself and your employees by tapping into virtual office technologies.

Check out this quick video on the origins of Labor Day:

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Telecommuters Consider Benefits of Virtual Office Space

I was reading about a company called FlexJobs this morning. The company is an online job service for telecommuting job listings. Brilliant!

FlexJobs works to save telecommuter job seekers time and aggravation by researching and aggregating job listings that are dispersed across thousands of Web sites in one ad-free website. Flexjobs gives job-seekers a way to find legitimate, hand-screened jobs quickly, easily, and safely. FlexJobs screens out online scams and anonymous employers in order to deliver users the best of the best flexible schedule and telecommuting job opportunities.

Now, the next natural step for these telecommuters who are competing for these flexible jobs is to get a virtual office space. A virtual office space can kick up your professional image a notch, or two or three. When you rent a virtual office space, you get a prestigious business address, a local or 800 phone number that follows you wherever you happen to be, and access to a physical location where you can meet with clients if you need to.

A virtual office space can give telecommuters hunting for jobs the edge in the marketplace. Let’s face it, telecommuting is on the rise—and there are more people looking for any kind of job they can get in a down economy. All things being equal, a virtual office can make or break your next employment deal.

Think about it for a minute. Would you rather clients send mail to your home address or to a known office building in your region? Would you rather clients call in to your home, or be fielded by a virtual receptionist? The most successful telecommuters are exploring the benefits of virtual offices and other virtual services.

Flexjobs can get you plenty of telecommuting job leads in more than 50 different job categories. There’s probably something there waiting just for you. But with so many others vying for the same position, you can stand out from the pack with a virtual office. If you build a long-term relationship with a client, you can even set up a virtual office address and phone number in their city and have your mail and calls forwarded to you at your home office.

So what are you waiting for telecommuter? For as little as $50 a month you can upgrade your professional business image and boost your productivity with a virtual office space.

Check out this video on how telecommuting can be beneficial to business:

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Executive Suite Success Features Martin Senn

Executive Suite Success magazine is featuring a bylined article from Davinci Virtual COO Martin Senn. Executive Suite Success is a resource guide for office business center owners and operators. The magazine published its third-ever issue this month.

Senn’s article is entitled, “
The New Virtual Office Market: Trends, Stats, and Needs.” In it, he discusses how virtual offices are ideal for many 21st century companies because they offer cost-savings, as well as flexibility and increased productivity. Senn didn’t just offer his opinion, though. He pointed to the 2008 OBCAI financial study, which showed virtual office revenues are about 7 percent of total revenues for highly profitable business centers. That number will probably rise in when the 2010 study is published.

“At some centers, virtual revenues even exceeded 10% of overall revenues without creating much additional overhead for the operation,” Senn wrote. “The study also showed a 7% increase in virtual revenues in 2008 compared to 2007 and identified virtual office revenues as one of the main factors that differentiate a high profit OBC (average 34% profit margin) from a middle profit OBC (average 11% profit margin). So statistically speaking, every OBC operator should embrace the virtual office business—yesterday!”

In his article, Senn also outlined a number of work trends and corresponded them to client needs. For example, one virtual work trend is to offer more flexible work schedules. The business center client need, in this case, is extended hours accessibility to facilities and communications. Another virtual work trend is heavy use of Internet, e-mail and chat. The business center client need in this instance is secure, wireless Internet access.

“Based on the rapid adoption rate of this new work trend, almost every business center operator should be able to attract a solid base of virtual office clients within their local market,” Senn wrote. “However, there are some approaches that may position a center location to grab market share quicker and at a lower cost.”

Senn shared plenty more wisdom in his Executive Suite Success magazine column. And his article was in good company. In the September 2010 issue, you’ll also find articles from Buddy Shaw, president and CEO of Shaw & Associates and Karen Condi, executive director of Alliance Office Strategies.
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What Does Hurricane Earl Mean for Virtual Office Users?

A Category 3 hurricane, Earl is moving up the East coast of the U.S. North Carolina’s vacation islands are evacuating in the face of potentially damaging winds and waves expected over the holiday weekend. The storm could hit as far north as New England before the end of the week.

But what does this mean for virtual office users along the East Coast? People who telecommute from virtual offices may need to move to higher ground. But that’s the beauty of a virtual office. It’s allows you to remain productive even in the midst of a hurricane.

Sure, power outages may force you out of your home office, but the virtual office technologies go with you. For example, if you use a virtual receptionist, you can still have your calls routed to anywhere you are on dry ground as you head west to escape Hurricane Earl. You can also conduct web conferencing from anywhere at any time.

Large companies that employ telecommuters can keep in touch with their employees even in the midst of the storm through follow-me numbers that find workers wherever they go to stay safe during Hurricane Earl.

I was reading a Reuters report. In it, the pointed to a testimony before Congress from John Berry, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Speaking of the blizzards that forced federal offices to shut down for several days, he said, “many federal employees rose to the challenge and continued to work, making good use of telework and other work flexibilities.”

So if you are in the danger zone as Hurricane Earl approaches, consider how virtual office technologies can help you keep in touch with your clients and others. Hurricane season is not going to be over for several months. If you don’t have a disaster management plan in place, and you are in a region that sees hurricanes, it’s time to consider a virtual office space that can keep you up and running in the wake of a storm.

Click here for an update on Hurricane Earl:

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