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Work-Life Balance and the Virtual Office, Part 2

How would you like to work a mere 21 hours a week? The New Economics Foundation, or nef, just released a study that suggests this schedule should be part of the new world of work.

In part one of this series, we looked at how virtual offices might help make that possible. Today, we're going to dig into the study a little deeper as we continue to explore how virtual offices could facilitate the workplace of the future.

For example, the nef report shows that many people work longer hours than they did 30 years ago. Since 1981 two-adult households have added six hours – nearly a whole working day – to their combined weekly workload.

What's more, nearly 2.5 million people can’t find jobs today. Cutting labor to save money without changing working hours means some are burdened with overwork while others lose their livelihoods, nef concludes.

As a result of this growing inequality in working time, nef says, the unpaid components of life are suffering. Family life, neighborhood networks, time with children and quality of life for older people are all diminished, with painful results for society that sometimes get lumped together and lamented as 'Broken Britain.'

I don't think these issues are isolated to Great Britain. I am betting workers in many other nations could vouch for the validity of this survey. So the question becomes, how can virtual office space help shorten overextended workweeks and improve quality of life?

Virtual offices can help shorten workweeks by offering telecommuting opportunities. Virtual office technologies make it possible to allow employees to work from home, at least part of the time, where they can accomplish more work in less time.

At the same time, companies can reduce their overhead by leveraging virtual offices to maximize use of traditional office space. Imagine if you had half your workforce come in on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other half come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with only key management in the office on Fridays. This is possible with virtual offices, virtual receptionists and virtual assistants.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore the nef study as it relates to virtual offices in tomorrow's article.
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Work-Life Balance and the Virtual Office, Part 1

Stanford Study Shows Multitasking Comes with Price

Are you a multitasker? Before you proudly answer yes, consider the costs.

According to a Stanford study, people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory, or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time. A virtual assistant can help relieve the temptation to multitask by taking on tasks that aren't core to your business.

Here's an eye-opener worth listening to: Stanford researchers are still studying whether chronic media multitaskers are born with an inability to concentrate or are damaging their cognitive control by willingly taking in so much at once. But they're convinced the minds of multitaskers are not working as well as they could.

Rather than e-mailing while talking on the phone, watching television and surfing the Internet, you can turn over online research to a virtual assistant who can perform the job undistracted. You can also outsource your non-core phone calls to a virtual assistant, and even assign e-mail follow up tasks and other duties.

The point is for you to focus on doing one thing at a time – and doing it well. With a virtual assistant on your team, you can avoid the potential snares of multitasking without sacrificing productivity in your organization.
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Can a Virtual Receptionist Boost Your Customer Service?

Word of mouth marketing can be a boon for business – assuming the words from your customers' mouths shed a positive light on your products, services and employees. Assuring positive word of mouth marketing means creating a positive customer experience based strongly on customer service.

With that in mind, consider your phone presence. When potential or existing customers call your business, how are they greeted? Or are they typically met with an answering machine because you are too busy to answer the phone? If you want to ensure your customers are greeted professionally every time they call, a virtual receptionist can help. A virtual receptionist can answer your dedicated phone line with a customized greeting that makes your customers feel welcome.

Indeed, a virtual receptionist can help give your customers confidence that they are getting the answers they need when they need them. Virtual receptionists are trained to handle appointment-setting and message-taking, as well as answer simple questions about your company, such as address or hours of operation. A friendly virtual receptionist can make the difference between a satisfied customer or a lost sale.

Whether you work from a large office building or a home office, a virtual receptionist could be the solution to your quest for better customer service – and for a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time receptionist to man your phones. Especially if you are already using a virtual office, a virtual receptionist is the next natural step as your business call volume grows.
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Low Virtual Office Start-Up Costs Attract Entrepreneurs

Want to accomplish more than what you are doing today? Maybe a virtual office can help. If you are a start-up, a virtual office can play a key role in helping you overcome new business challenges and hasten toward your goals.

One of the key benefits of virtual offices for new companies is low start-up costs. Instead of renting traditional office space, you can work from a home office and tap into the benefits of a virtual office for mail delivery services to a prestigious address, virtual receptionist services and even virtual assistants. In fact, you can leverage an entire virtual network, from technology to personnel, and potentially save thousands of dollars a month.

Virtual offices are just smart planning for the start-up. Not only do you get the prestigious business address, you also have a built-in conference room or day office should you need to meet with a client on the fly. You have the best of both words, so to speak, because you have an on-demand office and a 24/7 professional business image.

A virtual office can open the door to more freedom for you to grow your business while you leave the phone-answering, appointment scheduling and other administrative tasks to a qualified virtual assistant. Without full-time office costs or full-time salaries, you are better prepared to run a full-time start-up that can grow into a traditional office and even expand into new territories.
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