Davinci Virtual Blog



Avoid Flu Outages With Virtual Office Arrangements

LOS ANGESLES—There are still three months left in what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is calling the worst flu outbreak in a decade. Employers from coast to coast are feeling the doubt-whammy financial impact of increased health care costs and widespread absenteeism. Virtual offices can be part of the solution.

The CDC estimates that, on average, seasonal flu outbreaks cost the nation's employers $10.4 billion in direct costs of hospitalizations and outpatient visits. That does not include the indirect costs related to lost productivity and absenteeism.

This year, the cost to businesses may be significantly higher in light of the increased number of cases. So far, 29 of 41 states reporting flu cases say the outbreak is at "severe" levels. According to a report in the New York Daily News, the number of cases in the state has already surpassed 15,000, compared to just 4,400 reported cases during last year's entire flu season. Virtual offices can be part of the solution.

"The economy is still on shaky ground and many workers continue to be worried about losing their jobs, despite the fact that annual layoffs are at the lowest level since the late 1990s,” says John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “In this environment, workers are reluctant to call in sick or even use vacation days. Of course, this has significant negative consequences for the workplace, where the sick worker is not only performing at a reduced capacity but also likely to infect others."

As we enter into what is typically the peak time for catching the flu—January and February are considered the heaviest period of the flu season that stretches from October into March—companies that may already be shorthanded coming out of the recession could find themselves struggling to keep up with demand in the weeks ahead as absenteeism claims more manpower. By allowing employees to telecommute from a virtual office, you can reduce the risks of spreading the flu through the office.

"While sick employees may think they are doing the right thing by 'toughing it out' and coming into work when ill, the fact is they are only making matters worse,” Challenger says. “Whether it is motivated by job security or a desire to continue making a contribution in an overburdened workplace, presenteeism, as it has come to be called, only spreads illness to more workers and further damages the employers ability to meet demand.”

Challenger says you want to encourage workers to stay home when they are sick so they do not spread illness to co-workers. If you have virtual office technologies set up, they can remain at least somewhat productive even while at home.

According to Challenger, one of the most effective ways to prevent the flu from spreading through the workplace would be to become a predominantly virtual office workforce. Any employee who can do his or her work from home with a computer and phone should be doing so prior to an outbreak.

"For those who must go to the workplace, such as retail workers and hands-on service providers, companies should enforce a three-foot minimum buffer between all personnel at all times,” Challenger says. “Employees should also be encouraged, if not compelled, to follow strict hygienic practices, including washing hands regularly and using anti-bacterial wipes to keep their work area, phone, keyboard and mouse clean.”

Reduce Exposure to the Flu By Working in a Virtual Office

MIAMI—Flu activity is high across most of the United States according to CDC’s latest FluView report. But you could cut down your risk of catching the flu if you work from a virtual office.

“Reports of influenza-like-illness are nearing what have been peak levels during moderately severe seasons,” according to Dr. Joe Bresee. CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination and antiviral treatment when appropriate at this time.

Influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reportable to CDC since the 2004-2005 season. To date, CDC has received reports of 18 pediatric deaths this season.

“While we can’t say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations,” says Bresee, who is Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division.

Twenty-nine states and New York City are now reporting high levels of influenza-like-illness and another nine states are reporting moderate levels of flu-like illnesses. Ten states are still reporting low or minimal flu-like illnesses. These are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

When you work from a virtual office you are not altogether immune to the flu, but you can reduce your risk from catching it from your coworkers since you aren’t interfacing with them directly. By telecommuting from a virtual office you dramatically reduce the chances of catching the flu virus while also heightening productivity. If you aren't already allowing employees to telecommute from a virtual office, now may be time to launch an experiment as many companies begin to feel the pinch of sick workers.

Chinese Firm Proves Virtual Office Benefits

HONG KONG—The Wall Street Journal offered up an interesting article on Monday entitled, “Chinese Firm Experiments With Telecommuting.” The article looks first at Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency. Ctrip recently completed a nine-month virtual office experiment that was overseen by economists at Stanford and Beijing University.

The Journal reports: “Ctrip, was looking to save money on real estate costs and cut turnover. It asked 996 employees in its Shanghai call center if they’d be interested in working at home four days a week. Half were interested, and 252 qualified for the experiment by virtue of having at least six months on the job and broadband access from a quiet corner of their home. Those with birthdays on even days were selected to work at home, those with odd birthdays stayed in the office, making this the sort of random experiment that academics relish.”

The result: Ctrip saved plenty of cash with no ill impact on productivity. Such is the promise of telecommuting from a virtual office. Alternative workplace strategies, which include virtual offices, save companies money in a number of ways. The primary way is by tapping modern technology to cut back on the largest cost a company posts: office space. By slashing the amount of bricks-and-mortar space, a company can quickly boost its bottom line.

At the same time, telecommuting from a virtual office helps employees remain more productive. Numerous studies prove that virtual office workers are more productive than their brick-and-mortar colleagues. There are fewer distractions for virtual office workers, who avoid the hustle and bustle of the office and the distractions around the water cooler. Allowing employees to telecommute from a virtual office can also help you attract and retail the best and brightest workers.

Of course, most companies can’t put all—or even most—of their employees on telecommuting status. But many companies can allow part of their workforce to telecommute from a virtual office full time and work remotely at least part of the time. With that in mind, expect the virtual office trend to continue to gain momentum in 2013.

1 Queens Road East Offers Hong Kong Virtual Offices

HONG KONG—If you want a prestigious office address in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 1 Queen’s Road East is a good choice.

You can rent Hong Kong virtual office space from Davinci Virtual at Three Pacific Place. Located 18 1 Queen’s Road East in Hong Kong, Davinci offers virtual offices there for prices starting at just $90 a month. That’s a low price compared to renting traditional office space.

Queen’s Road East is in north Hong Kong. It connects Admiralty in the west to Happy Valley in the East and is one of four section of Queens Road. In Hong Kong, it’s included in what has historically been known as Queensway.

According to Wikipedia, Queen's Road East was first developed into a European commercial and residential center after the arrival of the British in 1841. It had become a mainly Chinese residential, laboring and shop-keeping community by the 1860s.

This Hong Kong virtual office package includes a prime business address, mail and package receipt, access to a business support center, and a lobby greeter to welcome any guests who come to pick up or drop off packages and more.

This virtual office space in Hong Kong also makes available conference room rental for $25 to $45 an hour and day time office space for $10 to $35 an hour. You can use your Hong Kong virtual office address for business cards, licensing, websites and other public materials. With Davinci Virtual, you also get access to a network of more than 3,000 meeting rooms worldwide.

Why Overachievers Use Virtual Assistants

LOS ANGELES—I was reading an article in Forbes today called “5 Things Overacheivers Do Not Do.” TJ McCue penned the article that looks at what you should NOT do if you want to be a high achiever. He talked about not thinking small, not asking permission, not using e-mail before 9 a.m., not ending weakly, and not trying to do it all yourself.

That last point is where a virtual assistant comes in. Let’s listen in to McCue’s reasoning and notice how he specifically points out the value of virtual assistants in his fourth point, which is: Go-Getters Do Not Try To Do It All Themselves.

“Did you read that post years ago about a Wall Street Journal reporter who tried to hire out ALL of his work to a virtual assistant (VA)? He even tried to send his VA to his therapy appointment. His therapist drew the line and said no, that he had to attend his therapy sessions on his own. Trying to do everything yourself is a recipe for face plants. Not good.”

I agree. I used to try to do it all myself. I was a horrible delegator. But there came a time when there were no more hours in the day to work and too many opportunities to pass up. So I did what every overachiever should do: I hired a virtual assistant. Indeed, I have virtual assistants for transcribing, virtual assistants for social media, virtual assistants for all sorts of tasks.

What about you? Are you a high achiever? Do you want to be? You can achieve a lot more with a  virtual assistant. A virtual assistant can handle the repetitious, time-consuming tasks that bog you down. A virtual assistant can free you to pursue the more complex work and revenue-generating opportunities.

So what are you waiting for? Be an overachiever. Hire a virtual assistant today. It may seem like more work at first because you have to train your virtual assistant to flow with you. But in the long-term you’ll maximize your time and your opportunities.