There are pros and cons of working from home. Every organization is unique — what may work for one may not work for another — but society is advancing in a way that’s leading to more virtual teams and opportunities to work remotely. Once a company decides to implement work from home policies, it’s wise to consider the possible roadblocks to success.

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Increased productivity. Virtual collaboration tools allow remote employees to collaborate as if they’re in the same conference room. Employees can use forms of virtual communication in the workplace, such as video conferencing, as well as email, instant messages, and the telephone. Workers are more likely to work in excess of 40 hours a week if they’re working from home, and they also take fewer sick days. Employees working together across various time zones are more likely to achieve success if they’re able to collaborate from home. Business hours increase with more flexibility. Furthermore, business will continue as usual regardless of weather conditions that could limit productivity due to hazardous driving conditions.

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The conversation is twofold: Employees who work from home help companies reduce overhead costs, experience greater satisfaction in their jobs, and they’re more productive, but companies ultimately have the discretion to not offer work from home policies — or revoke them — if company leaders believe that managing a virtual workplace decreases speed or hinders collaboration.
The virtual worker is automatically a green worker, because the remote worker has a lower carbon footprint. It turns out that less of the work commute is a big deal when it comes to the environment. The virtual worker created a decrease in the annual fuel consumption numbers of the United States in 2013 by 680 million gallons, a respectable move of 0.5%. Going green also helps to attract young talent to a company, because the Millennial generation is very attracted to companies with a social conscience. Freedom, or the perception of freedom is another very important idea that will help attract young, elite talent, which is embodied in the virtual worker concept.
Virtual assistants work around your schedule to provide you service whenever you need it. Think of them as your 'on-call' go to person. No need to hire part time employees and hope you have enough work to keep them busy for the hours they work. With a virtual assistant you only pay for time spent on YOUR project AND work can be done outside normal business hours.
If you train your personal assistant well, you can develop a trusting relationship that can blossom into a long-term partnership. A good personal assistant eventually will learn the nuances of your business, as well as your dreams, aspirations and mental processes. He'll be able to anticipate your needs and those of the business. A trustworthy assistant can become a sounding board for your ideas and offer you insights you had not considered. The perspective can be refreshing and spark ideas or approaches that were invisible to you. A close, personal assistant can give honest, frank feedback that others might be reluctant to give.

Depending on where you live, one of the first places to start is the US Small Business Administration, the Government website for Industry Canada or whatever small business agency your country has to provide resources. It is important to understand the specific business regulations and legalities to becoming a business owner in your own country. The International Virtual Assistant Association is another online resource for virtual assistants. The following qualities are important if you want to become a virtual assistant.

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GlobeSmart ProfileSM Debrief: Aperian Global offers GlobeSmart, the industry’s leading online cultural intelligence resource for improved cross-cultural understanding. This program will help business professionals leverage the GlobeSmart online learning tool and use cultural intelligence to work globally. Learning objectives include gaining knowledge into common behaviors influenced by culture, learning to overcome cultural gaps, and more. The GlobeSmart Profile is an online cultural inventory that allows users to learn about their own unique working styles, while also providing them with advice about working successfully with colleagues and people from other cultures. The profile is available in 13 languages.
Employee engagement and motivation. Consider giving remote and office workers surveys to see who is more engaged and motivated overall. Ask questions about how they feel coming to work every day, find out whether they’re inspired at work and ask if they think their role within the company is important. Ask specific questions about whether or not they feel included in group decisions and ask if they feel as though their needs and concerns are considered and addressed.

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The virtual worker is a mainstream worker. 23% of workers are completing at least some of their work from a remote space, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This statistic is corroborated by the New York Times, which reports an even faster rise in telecommuting. Outside of America, fully 79% of knowledge workers are virtual workers. 60% of virtual workers stated that they would leave their current job for one with more freedom to work remotely. There is a rising number of upwardly mobile professionals who are leveraging the Internet to work remotely full time as employees or as contractors.
But even though most chatbots can handle moderately sophisticated conversations, like welcome conversations and product discovery interactions, the if/then logic that powers their conversational capabilities can be limiting. For instance, if a customer asks a unique yet pressing question that you didn’t account for when designing your chatbot’s logic, there’s no way it can answer their question, which hangs your customer out to dry and ultimately leaves them dissatisfied with your customer service.
Think about your to-do list. There’s likely tasks piling up. Only those that rise to the top because they can no longer be delayed get done. Often times, this delay causes something that might have been inexpensive to increase in cost. For example, putting off scheduling the furnace cleaning may lead to needing to have the furnace replaced. It’s also pretty likely that you’re not going to ask for help with these seemingly “small” tasks. You don’t want to bother people, or maybe you’re not sure who to ask. Lucky for you, that’s where a personal assistant comes in.

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Personal assistant’s possess quite a bit of power over their employers’ lives knowing all about the people they meet, the deals they make and what they keep hidden inside that locked desk drawer (…creepy, perhaps?) . Assistants also get to meet some of the most successful and talented people of their respective fields. That’s an amazing opportunity to learn and establish important relations every single day. Having constant access to the latest news and having all the people involved just a phone call away is a great opportunity to make a real, positive difference in both your own and other people’s lives.
Depending on where you live, one of the first places to start is the US Small Business Administration, the Government website for Industry Canada or whatever small business agency your country has to provide resources. It is important to understand the specific business regulations and legalities to becoming a business owner in your own country. The International Virtual Assistant Association is another online resource for virtual assistants. The following qualities are important if you want to become a virtual assistant.
Don’t completely neglect face-to-face meetings. If it’s possible, organize a face-to-face encounter for the first meeting. It’s possible to be successful without ever meeting in person, but there isn’t a replacement for face-to-face contact in person. Meeting physically allows people to share a deeper personal connection. Eye contact, proximity, voice, and body language allow people to connect more closely than they would if they met virtually. If meeting in person for the first time isn’t possible, consider holding an annual gathering or other event to keep employees in touch.
Virtual work benefits the environment because fewer people are traveling in cars, buses and trains, which lowers the amount of vehicle emissions and decreases fuel usage. In 2007, CNET News published an article touting the benefits of telecommuting with statistics pertaining to congestion and traffic in Texas. Commuters face significant increases in traffic congestion in all 437 metropolitan areas in the United States. Adding up all the associated costs, the Texas Transportation Institute in early 2000 concluded that gridlock cost $78 billion annually in terms of 4.2 billion lost hours, not to mention 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel. That's one convincing argument for telecommuting, especially in an area such as Houston where environmental pollutants are a serious concern.
When did life admin become a thing? We’re not quite sure but we do know that a “day-off” can often be entirely consumed by sitting on hold to British Gas, or searching for a holiday destination. Unless you love life admin, there is 100% a better way. One big benefit of a personal assistant is that they can take care of your personal life and your business one. As ibLE Co-Founder Georgina explains, a personal assistant can organise everything from “booking hair appointments, doctor appointments and sourcing gifts to doing research on trips, booking travel and even just looking through the diary to make sure everything makes sense.”
Developed by one of the leaders in the AI space, IBM, Watson Assistant is one of the most advanced AI-powered chatbots on the market. Pre-trained with content from your specific industry, Watson Assistant can understand your historical chat or call logs, search for an answer in your knowledge base, ask customers for more clarity, direct them to human representatives, and even give you training recommendations to hone its conversational abilities.
Created in 1966 as an early natural language processing (NLP) computer program that emulates a Rogerian psychotherapist, a clinical practice that allows clients to take more action and progression in discussions. This is also known as person-centered therapy. Developed by Joseph Weizenbaum, ELIZA, named after a character in the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, is generally known as the first chatbot.
Even if a company gets only the same levels of productivity, efficiency and morale, the company still benefits from the virtual worker. When employees are responsible for their own housing, costs for the enterprise immediately go down, according to Forbes. This is true even of the biggest companies in the world. Aetna stopped paying for 2.7 million square feet of floor space ($78 million) when it created 14,500 virtual jobs for 35,000 employees. American Express reported savings of $10 million when it began its virtual work programs.
Small-business owners often wonder how they can work so hard all day and accomplish so little. Much of the problem is an inability to multitask. If you are doing important work in your office but are interrupted by an equally important call or question from an employee, for example, you’re forced to divert your attention away from the original project. In this way, your focus is strained and nothing receives the attention it deserves. A personal assistant can handle these types of intrusions so you can continue to focus on what's most important.

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