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Few of us would have predicted, just a few years ago, that telecommuting would become such an integral part of America’s business culture. Worksimple found that, as of 2010, more than 26 million American workers were categorized as teleworkers; this represented fully one-fifth of the total adult working population. In the same year, almost two-thirds of companies reported that at least parts of their staffs were working remotely either full-time or part-time.
The virtual office has clearly arrived. It would not have been so widely adopted if it did not have obvious benefits. Virtual offices remove many of the fixed costs that plague businesses but they also seem to foster greater productivity. A recent study, found that 63 percent of New Zealand companies are reporting higher levels of productivity because they instituted flexible working practices, including telecommuting and virtual office spaces.
The mechanisms that make the virtual office into a buzzing hive of productivity haven’t been precisely worked out. But there is one thing most every worker, regardless of his/her position (or location) can agree on: coffee can further augment your natural productivity. A recent survey found that more than 40 percent of coffee drinkers say they are less productive than they are without it. Many of us, it would seem, can’t function as well as we would like if we are deprived of our morning (or afternoon) brew.
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that coffee does exactly what we caffeine-fiends have long claimed: it makes us better workers. A recent study by the Leeds University Business School, in Leeds, England, argued that there are considerable benefits to offering employees coffee. Employees, the study found, tend to work harder, solve more problems together and share resources in a way conducive to getting things done. Coffee, these researchers contended, was an essential ingredient to a business’s success.
That’s something any caffeine addict could have told them.
So, if you are looking to turn your business into a hyper-efficient profit engine, abandon the brick-and-mortar and let your employees go virtual. They will reward you with enhanced productivity and will be happier and more invested in your enterprise, as a result. But if you really want to see all the benefits associated with a virtual office – don’t skimp on the caffeine. Your employees will thank you.