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Virtual Office Work Helps You Avoid Annoying Elevator Riders

CHICAGO—When you work from a virtual office, you can avoid all sorts of annoying coworker behavior. The latest survey from CareerBuilder shows just how annoying some of that behavior can get—in the elevator.

Ever see someone at work floss his teeth in an elevator? "Pants" a co-worker? Get in a fist fight? Talk about blowing elevator etiquette—facing forward and generally keeping quiet—this survey uncovers some downright rude behavior that you don’t have to deal with when you work from a virtual office.

Beyond the flossing and pantsing, survey participants also reported behaviors like: changing a baby's diaper; clipping fingernails; showing someone a rash and asking for a diagnosis; moving the entire contents of a co-worker's office into the elevator, including the desk; a woman with her arms full of papers using her head to keep the doors from closing on her; and dancing throughout the ride. Unless you think this is fun stuff, be grateful that you work from a virtual office.

But that’s not all. Survey respondents asked to identify the most annoying elevator habits they see in the office have a laundry list:

35% cite talking on cell phone
33% cite not holding the door open when others are running to get on the elevator

32% cite standing too close when there is plenty of room in the elevator
32% cite squeezing into an already crowded elevator
27% cite not stepping off the elevator to let other people out
26% cite holding the elevator doors open for an extended period of time while waiting for someone else to get on
23% cite cutting in line to get on the elevator when other people have been waiting longer
20% cite taking the elevator to go up one or two floors instead of using the stairs
17% cite pushing the wrong button, so the elevator stops at more floors
7% cite facing away from the elevator door, instead of toward the door like everyone else

For some workers, elevators rides are a source of anxiety. Sixteen percent of workers said they are afraid of getting stuck in an elevator due to a malfunction. And just think, you can avoid all this by working in a virtual office.
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Can Virtual Offices Help You Avoid Workplace Bullies?

DALLAS-Bullies are a real problem on the schoolyard and in the workplace. Can virtual offices help you avoid grown up bullies? Maybe so.

First, let’s look at the facts. A recent survey from the Australia’s House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education reveals almost one in three young people have been bullied or have witnessed bullying at work. Although this survey is specific to Australia, I imagine it rings fairly true in most countries.

"Thirteen percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 said they had been bullied at work, with another 19 percent having witnessed it,” says Janet Giles, SA Unions State Secretary.

"We know from our other work with young people that they are less familiar with their rights at work, and are more often in part-time or casual work where they worry that if they speak out they will lose their jobs."

She says what's most concerning about the survey is that 65 percent of the bullying is reported to have come from employers or managers. And that figure rises to 74 percent for those in part-time work.

"These are the people with the power to hire and fire, increasing the likelihood that young people will feel intimidated into remaining silent,” Giles says. "We clearly need stronger national laws against bullying to stop it happening in the first place, rather than dealing with it when it has already occurred."

So the question is, can working from a virtual office help you avoid bullies. The answer is yes and no. Working from a virtual office, you won’t have as many opportunities to interact with people who bully coworkers or employees. Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t be bullied via e-mail, instant message or Skype.

Bullying is a widespread problem and virtual offices won’t solve it. But, in my view, people who work from virtual offices are less likely to run into the drama that swirls around the office bully.
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The Rise of Alternative Workplaces (and Virtual Office Technologies)

PHILIPPINES—I was reading an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer this morning rightly called “The alternative workplace.”

In it, reporter Isabel Berenguer Asuncion discussed how the rising cost of prime property, an unpredictable world economy and the need to improve profit margins within a global market of constantly changing technology have driven businesses to rethink the way they configure their office spaces.

That, she wrote, ushered in alternative workplace strategies. She went on to define the term as a combination of nontraditional work practices, environments and schedules that supplement or replace the workings of a traditional office work environment. We’ve been chronicling the rise of alternative workplace strategies, including virtual office space, for years on this blog. And the trend just keeps getting bigger.

In her article, Asuncion pointed out several possible alternative workplace models, including flexible work, bring-your-own-gadget, hoteling, free address, desktop sharing and work from home. The virtual office crosses several of those lines.

For example, companies that allow flexible work often allow the off-site portion of the strategy in a virtual office. Employees may choose to workshift but the time when they are not in the office they spend in a virtual office, often on the home front.

That leads us into work-from-home arrangements. Working from home often demands a cadre of virtual office technologies, from simple e-mail to more sophisticated online meeting software. When you bring-your-own-gadget, also known as bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, in the United States, you are often working on the go. Again, virtual office technologies play a role.

The point is this: with the rise of alternative workplace strategies comes the rise of virtual office technologies. From cloud software innovations like Microsoft Office 365 to online meeting technologies like Cisco’s WebEx, virtual office technologies are underpinning the alternative workplace strategies of many companies pursuing this path.
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Is Outlook.com Right for Your Virtual Office Space?

Memphis Virtual Offices Catching on in a Connected Tennessee

MEMPHIS—I was just reading an article in the Times Free Press about the rise of telecommuting in Tennessee. And where there’s more telecommuting there’s more virtual office use.

According to the article, Connected Tennessee conducted a statewide survey that revealed nearly 1.2 million Tennesseans—that’s equal to about 44 percent of people employed in the southern state—would be willing to work at home from a virtual office if their employers would let them. Another 586,000 adults in Tennessee who are currently unemployed would be willing to get a virtual office job.

"We continue to see significant growth in telecommute jobs, but there is potential for far more, especially in rural areas where many higher-paying jobs were not available in the past,” Corey Johns, executive director for Connected Tennessee, told the Times Free Press.

"While some Tennesseans may only take advantage of limited telework opportunities merely requiring basic broadband speeds, Chattanooga clearly has access to the full spectrum of telework opportunities and that is certainly a competitive advantage for those working to advance local economic development.”

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions has virtual offices in Brentwood, Franklin, Knoxville and Memphis at prices starting as low as $75 a month. Virtual offices offer many benefits to workers in these Tennessee cities, including the promise of greater productivity, lower commuting expenses and the convenience of working from home at any hour.

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