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Virtual Offices Boost Worker Productivity

Worker productivity in the U.S. fell unexpectedly in the second quarter, according to the Labor Department. At the same time, labor costs increased.

Specifically, worker productivity declined at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter after seeing large improvements in 2009. Labor costs rose 0.2 percent in the quarter, marking the first increase since spring 2009.

This is a contrast to the height of the recession, when companies slashed their payroll and employee productivity rose fairly dramatically. When worker output rises, so do living standards because companies can pay larger salaries without raising the cost of goods.

How can companies combat the worker productivity slide? Companies that work from office buildings can turn to telecommuting and virtual office space.

According to a study from CompTIA, working from home boosts productivity and lowers operational costs. With virtual office technologies maturing, companies don’t have to sacrifice collaboration or a professional business image to set employees free from traditional office space. Virtual offices allow employees to work at least part time at home without skipping a beat.

Virtual offices can also help companies boost productivity by attracting the most qualified staff, no matter where they live. An employee in Los Angeles can work for a company in Manhattan using virtual office technologies that generate greater productivity by effectively extending the company’s operating hours.

What’s more, telecommuting from a virtual office can lead to higher employee retention rates, removing the cost and productivity losses associated with hiring and training new workers. Telecommuting also decreases stress, according to the CompTIA study, and potentially reduces auto emissions.

Telecommuting and virtual office space work hand in hand to improve productivity. Although this strategy doesn’t help companies in retail or restaurant industries because employees have to work on site, the headquarters of these service-oriented companies can still leverage virtual office technologies to achieve productivity gains among administrative and executive staff.

Check out this Brian Tracy video on doubling your productivity:

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Skype IPO Points to Virtual Office Tech Value

Demonstrating the value of virtual office technologies, Skype on Monday announced that it has filed papers with the Securities & Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering (IPO).

Skype, the real-time Internet communications platform that allows VoIP phone calls, instant messaging, video chat and desktop and file sharing, is hoping to raise $100 million.

Skype isn’t solely a virtual office technology, but the software is enabling the virtual office. Skype is one of the most popular instant messaging services available with 23 million users online at peak times of the day. This virtual office technology, as the company likes to say,  “connects business colleagues, saving them time and money and allowing them to stay ahead of the competition.”

Virtual office users can tap into Skype. Although web conferencing solutions offer a more robust experience, this virtual office technology sets the stage for GoToMeeting-like screen sharing and file sharing on the fly—and for free. That allows you to hold a conference call where all parties are looking at the same thing at the same time. You can even use this virtual office technology on your mobile phone by downloading an app for your BlackBerry, iPhone or Android-powered device.

But Skype’s IPO is more about the functions and features the company offers. Skype’s IP speaks to a larger trend in the marketplace. There is an increasing demand for virtual office technologies. Whether it’s Cisco’s WebEx, Citrix’s GoToMeeting or Skype, virtual office users and others in the world of work are relying more and more on technologies that drive productivity and collaboration.

What’s more, these technologies prove that collaboration is possible with a distributed workforce. Even if you have some employees in Manhattan, some in Miami and some in Los Angeles, you can tap into the power of virtual office technologies to get on the same page any time of the night or day with a few clicks on your computer keyword.

Check out this video on how Skype screen sharing works and leverage the feature in your virtual office today:

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Virtual Offices Combat Moscow Smog Delays

A dense smog shrouded Moscow on Friday, grounding flights at the city's international airports, seeping into homes and offices and stinging the eyes of residents as wildfires raged to the east and south.

That’s the lead to an Associated Press story on Friday morning that describes smog that is so bad it has grounded incoming flights to Moscow. Moscow’s three main airports are rerouting flights in the wake of smoke from forest fires. Moscow and several surrounding regions are in a state of emergency.

Raging wildfires and other natural disasters cause business interruptions that could cost companies thousands of dollars in additional travel costs and productivity. Business travelers planning to land in Moscow now have to fly in to other cities and make alternative arrangements to get to the capital city. And this isn’t a one-day event. Moscow officials expect the situation to continue for another week.

The Moscow smog is another example of the value of virtual office technologies. If it’s not absolutely necessary to meet in person, why fight the smog, the travel reroutes and the additional road time to make a business meeting in Moscow? Virtual office technologies offer a cost-effective alternative to business travel under the best of circumstances. How much more in the midst of an emergency situation?

Virtual office technologies like Cisco WebEx let you hold online meetings and virtual conferences from your computer—or even from your smartphone. Davinci Virtual offers its virtual office customers special monthly rates on the service that lets you launch and even record virtual meetings.

And for companies or individuals who are in Moscow and don’t want to try to fly out of the region during the smog, Davinci Virtual also offers virtual office space in Moscow. You can rent virtual office space on the 19th floor of Northern Tower Business Suites in Moscow from $200 a month. You can also rent virtual office space at Moscow Executive Suites on 11 Timur Frunze Street in Moscow from $160 a month.

So whether you are in another nation trying to do business in Moscow, or you are in Moscow and need to tap into virtual office technologies that you don’t have access to in your home office, Davinci Virtual offers the tools you need to minimize business interruptions.

Check out this video on the crisis in Moscow:

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Warwick Virtual Offices Boost Business Image

Warwick, Rhode Island is a beacon for business. Centrally located in Rhode Island, Warwick offers access to more than 300,000 residents in a 10-mile radius. What’s more, two-thirds of New England’s 8.7 million residents are within a 75-mile radius. That gives your company a built-in audience of consumers.

Warwick  offers some of the most aggressive employment and training tax credit programs in the nation, including funding up to 50 percent of an employee’s training costs, matching retraining grants up to $30,000 for existing employees, and more. That means no matter what industry you are in, you’ll get support finding qualified workers.

Then there’s the quality of life. Warwick is a vibrant location for new or expanding businesses. Close to historic Providence, just 30 minutes north of Newport, and about an hour south of Boston, weekend getaways are unlimited. But there’s also plenty in Warwick, including more than 850 acres of ball friends, tennis courts, bike paths, beaches, coves and marinas.

Of course, you don’t have to move to Warwick to do business there. You can expand into Warwick with virtually no risk by opting for a virtual office space. With a Warwick virtual office space from Davinci Virtual, you get a prime business address. Specifically, your virtual office would be set up at 3970 Post Road, Warwick, Rhode Island in the prominent 02886 Zip Code.

Your Warwick virtual office, housed in Rhode Island Business Suites, also offers the convenience of mail and package receipt and a client dropoff/pick up point. You can opt for mail forwarding and shipping services for an extra fee if you need them.

Your Warwick virtual office also comes equipped with a business support center that offers all the business amenities you need while you are visiting Warwick for client meetings. Speaking of client meetings, you can also access a conference room for about $30 an hour. A lobby greeter, ensuring a professional image, will even welcome your clients. Davinci Virtual offers Warwick virtual offices from $100 a month.

So whether you just want to enhance your Warwick-based business’s image or you need a way to expand into Warwick without risking much capital, virtual office solutions from Davinci Virtual have you covered.
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Fight Obesity with Virtual Office Space

The U.S. is getting fatter—and fatter and fatter.

According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, the number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more has tripled in two years. Obesity is now prevalent in nine states and no state met the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15 percent.

Medical costs associated with obesity are high. In 2008 dollars, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. People who are obese had medical costs that were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, according to the CDC report.

"Obesity continues to be a major public health problem," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "We need intensive, comprehensive and ongoing efforts to address obesity. If we don't more people will get sick and die from obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death."

Part of the problem is a lack of exercise. Many long hours in cubicles by day, only to come home each night too exhausted to exercise. A virtual office can offer people freedom to break up the workday with exercise. Even a half-mile walk after lunch and dinner can make a difference in the war against obesity.

Virtual offices give people more time to pursue fitness activities. Instead of commuting to work, the employee can use that time to jog or do other exercises and still log the same number of hours in a home office. Virtual offices also offer more flexibility in work hours. With virtual office technologies, phone calls can be forwarded to any number or answered by a virtual receptionist who can make appointments, take orders or take messages so you don’t miss a beat while you are on the walking trail.

Virtual offices can’t make up for overeating, but they can give telecommuters the flexibility to get moving in the morning or take a longer break at lunch to exercise. Considering the medical costs of remaining sedentary, it makes sense for companies to consider flexible work arrangements that include virtual office space.

"Obesity is a complex problem that requires both personal and community action," said Dr. Dietz. "People in all communities should be able to make healthy choices, but in order to make those choices there must be healthy choices to make. We need to change our communities into places where healthy eating and active living are the easiest path."

Check out this video about obesity's impact on the brain:

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