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March 6, 2013 | 4 minutes

Can Virtual Offices Encourage Community Service?

virtual offices community serviceWorkplace flexibility is the new buzzword in recruiting, management, and overall business operations. It’s something employees, both young and old, want when considering a position, so workplace flexibility is something employers need to consider just to retain and to attract the best people. However, it could also be something that encourages community service, so employers who want to improve their corporate social responsibility efforts or image ought to consider it as well.

According to the “Parents & Work” survey from FlexJobs, workplace flexibility could lead to an increase in community involvement. Eighty-nine percent of parents say that a flexible job would allow them to spend more time volunteering in their children’s school and organized activities. Fifty percent of those would be first-time volunteers.This not only ties into the ability for parents to be better parents by spending more time with their children, but it also means children are taught the value of helping others and more people getting involved with causes outside of school and organized events.

Virtual Offices Are a Flexible Workplace Option

If increased community service is something you want to incorporate into your life, or into the corporate culture of your company, then consider virtual offices as an option to get that started. First of all, virtual offices can reduce or eliminate the commute time, giving those employees with kids the chance to spend more time with their family while also having a bit more time to work (on average, Americans spend 23.7 minutes getting to work, so that’s an extra hour per day with virtual offices). Second of all, virtual offices can save your company money, such as reducing utilities costs, real estate costs, relocation costs, loss productivity etc. Virtual offices are not only great for your employees, but they can be a great option for the company’s bottom line as well.

Part Time Virtual Offices are Also a Good Thing

If unsure if working from home will work for you, or if it’ll be good for your company or your employees, then try a part-time or once a week option. Not only can the option help retain and attract great talent, but even a part-time option is something employees will go for. Followed by telecommuting 100% of the time (30%), the FlexJobs survey found that people wouldn’t mind telecommuting some of the time (26%), having a part-time schedule (21%), or even having a freelance contract (11%). Part-time options would still make a big difference with both volunteering and being a better parent, while being a nice compromise for employers who don’t want to jump fully into virtual office solutions.

Why You Want Your Employees to Do Community Service

Volunteerism may not seem like a big benefit, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a meaningful one. The Corporation for National & Community Service found that there were health benefits to volunteering, such as lower rates of depression and a greater sense of self-worth and trust. This translates to happier, healthier employees who are much more positive and productive when doing their work. Volunteerism also provides additional ways for the company to get involved, and for the company to increase its exposure. This includes matching donations, organizing a company-wide event to contribute to something your employees are passionate about, sponsoring an event, or even highlighting what you’re employees are doing in a company blog or newsletter. If your employees are doing great things for other people, why not do great things for them and the causes they are working hard on?

So, how about it? Encourage your employees to volunteer and to get involved by making it easier! Virtual office solutions are the way to do that without forcing people to volunteer!

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