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Are You Making the Most of Your Virtual Assistant?

NEW YORK—Do you know everything you need to know about working with virtual assistants? I recently ran across an info graphic compiled by Chris Ducker, a startup and small business guru, about what every entrepreneur needs to know about working with virtual assistants.

So no matter whether you work in a virtual office or you have a bricks-and-mortar empire, I’ve offered up eight of his best tips for working with virtual assistants:

1. First things first. Be realistic about this!

“Outsourcing is not a quick-fix magic pill that you can ‘pop’ and expect everything to work perfectly from day one,” Ducker says. “So, don’t except too much from your virtual assistant right out of the gate.”

2. Leverage your time—you know it makes sense!

“The number one benefit of working with a virtual assistant is saving time, gaining more time and ultimately becoming more productive as an entrepreneur yourself,” Ducker says.

3. Don’t make assumptions!

“Assumptions make an ass out of you and me.’ Give very clear, direct instructions on the tasks you’re asking your virtual assistants to perform for you,” Ducker says.

4. Invest time in developing your virtual assistant.

“Make sure you spend time training your virtual assistant to the point where they can work unassisted, and to a level that you’re both going to be happy with, so that your relationship becomes a long-lasting one,” Ducker says.

5. Set realistic task timelines.

“Think about all the parameters in place on each task and set realistic task timelines,” Ducker says.

6. Build trust with your virtual assistant.

“Build up trust, don’t micromanage and become a virtual vulture of a boss!” Ducker says. “Show them that you believe in them and the work they are doing for you.”

7. Give praise for a job well done!

“Receiving praise makes your virtual assistant feel accomplished, which is very important to the overall growth of your relationship together,” Ducker says.

8. Have fun with this thing … You’ll learn to love it!

“Have fun with your new business relationship and most importantly utilize your virtual assistant properly,” Ducker says.

So what are you waiting for? If you aren’t working with a virtual assistant, Davinci Virtual Office Solutions has the hookup. We can help you find a virtual assistant to help you maximize your time right now.
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Virtual Offices Could Reduce the Number of Sick Days

LONDON—Are you so stressed out it’s making you sick? That’s the story for seven out of 10 workers under 24 who call in sick. It’s not the flu—it is just stress—according to a survey by financial services provider Friends Life.

Telecommuting from a virtual office at least part time and help you alleviate stress. Virtual office technologies may keep you more connected than ever before, which can stress you out if you haven’t found work-life balance. But working at home from a virtual office can reduce stress by helping you stay focused and more productive without all the typical office distractions.

Friends Life surveyed 2,000 full-time workers, who largely blamed the state of the economy for their anxiety. In fact, they date stressful feelings about money and work back to 2008. But that was before virtual office became a more popular alternative workplace strategy for companies large and small.

Dr. Ian Drever of The Priory Group has some thoughts on why this stress-related sickness is so prevalent among younger age groups. He says there may be a couple of dynamics at play that are causing younger workers to take on more stress than their older counterparts.

“Firstly, younger people maybe more stressed due to their job roles being more time pressured, having greater expectations upon them to climb the career ladder and cope with numerous demands in more challenging economic times,” Drever says.

“They may also be more aware of the signs of stress in themselves—such as disrupted sleep or diminished cognitive performance—so can recognize it at an earlier stage, and then flag this up within the work environment.”

Again, a virtual office can help. By working from a virtual office during tight deadlines, you can stay focused on the task at hand, block out distractions from coworkers, and just get the work done. Stress hurts productivity, so working from the quiet of a virtual office could be just what the doctor ordered.
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Should Virtual Office Workers Discuss Politics on Election Day?

NEW YORK—It’s Election Day. That means there’s going to be plenty of anticipation—and plenty of debate—in the workplace over who will become the next president of the United States. That opens the door to lots of bad blood in the workplace. But virtual office workers like me can avoid the political fray.

Indeed, politics are on everyone’s mind today and that’s not going to automatically die down after Election Day. But a new survey from CareerBuilder.com reveals workers may feel more comfortable keeping their political views out of the office. I'm sure the same holds true for virtual office workers.

“It is easy for a conversation about politics in the office to become an argument about politics,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “For the most part, people want to avoid controversy in the office as much as possible. Avoiding discussions of politics may be one way they can do that.”

Specifically, 66 percent of workers don’t share their political affiliation at work, and 28 percent of workers said they feel like they need to keep their affiliation secret around the office. When you work in a virtual office, it’s a lot easier not to engage in political debates but some still do.

For example, the CareerBuilder study also found that men are more likely than women to share their political beliefs at work. Thirty-seven percent of men say they share their affiliation compared to 31 percent of women. Eighty-two percent of respondents said that they plan to vote in November.

Ninety-eight percent of workers don’t have U.S. presidential campaign items or decorations on display in their office. Workers who keep their political affiliations secret at work usually do so because they don’t feel politics should be discussed in the office unless it affects their job (68 percent) and only 13 percent keep their affiliation secret because they think their co-workers mostly support the opposing party.

Working from a virtual office gives you more privacy in many ways. And that may come in handy as the election results start rolling in state by state. But if you feel you must engage in the discussion from your virtual office, either via email, Skype or social media, Haefner offers the following tips:

1. Find things you agree on: Discussing facts and values you agree upon can help ensure the conversation remains respectful.

2. Deal only with the facts: Exaggerating and spinning facts are common ways to start an argument.

3. Pay attention to their tone and body language. If your coworker becomes quiet or overly defensive, it is best to back off and steer the conversation back to respect and agreement.

So whether you work from a virtual office or not—and whether you are comfortable discussing politics or not—use wisdom when you do. Now, excuse me while I go out to vote and then return to my virtual office.
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Virtual Office Technologies Make Time for Voters to Cast Ballots

LOS ANGELES—It’s a conundrum that happens every four years. You need to get out and vote but you can’t afford to miss any work. Virtual office technologies are coming to the rescue this year.

Virtual office technologies like Citrix’s GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC can help mobile workers stay connected to the office—even if they are only mobile workers for a few hours at the polls. Citrix is making it easy by offering free downloads and use of its virtual office technologies in the run up to Election Day 2012.

The promotion is part of a campaign to drive businesses nationwide to encourage their employees to ‘workshift’ or work flexibly on Nov. 6. Consider the statistics: About 90 million eligible Americans are not expected to vote in November’s national election—and 26 percent say the primary reason is because they don’t have the time.

“The 2012 presidential election is set to be the closest race in decades, which makes it more important than ever for Americans to make their vote count,” says Erin Hintz, vice president of global marketing at Citrix. “To make it even easier for potential voters to get to the polling stations, we are encouraging businesses to allow their employees to work flexibly on November 6. We also will provide free downloads of our leading collaboration tools so they can get their work done regardless of location.”

Of course, virtual office technologies can help you boost productivity beyond Election Day. Americans lose an average of 50 minutes on top of every working day commuting. By tapping into virtual office technologies like remote access, web and video conferencing and mobile collaboration services, you can stay more connected no matter where you are.
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Davinci Offers Low-Cost Toronto Virtual Offices on High-End Bloor Street

TORONTO—If you want to be in a major commercial thoroughfare in Toronto, you want to locate your virtual office on Bloor Street. Located on Toronto’s west end, Fortune magazine named Bloor Street one of the world’s most expensive streets in 2008. But a virtual office on Bloor Street is a bargain.

You can rent
Toronto virtual office space from Davinci Virtual at the Toronto Office Center. Located at 3300 Bloor Street in Toronto, Davinci offers virtual offices through Toronto Office Center for prices starting at $55 a month. That’s a low-risk investment to get a prestigious business address.

This Toronto 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 Toronto 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 Toronto 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.

According to Wikipedia, the stretch of Bloor between Yonge Street and Avenue Road (often nicknamed "Mink Mile" or "Fashion Mile”) and its neighboring side streets are one of the most popular and trendy shopping areas in Toronto, housing several large, well-known fashion and jewelry companies. Bloor Street/Yorkville has been recognized as one of the most luxurious shopping streets in North America, being compared to New York's Fifth Avenue, Chicago's Magnificent Mile, and Los Angeles's Rodeo Drive.

So if you want a business address alongside all the chic companies, a Toronto virtual office space from Davinci Virtual will put you on the map.
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