With so many businesses operating mostly, or even completely, online, it’s no wonder that many hire virtual assistants to help keep them organized and complete administrative tasks. According to the International Virtual Assistants Association, these workers are “independent contractors who (from a remote location, usually their home or office) support multiple clients in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative, and technical services.”
The 2012 Status Telework in the Federal Government features teleworking highlights from the past 18 months as well as goals for improving teleworking in the future. Reports finding that all 87 agencies participating in the Data Cell had established telework policies and 73 percent of the policies met the Telework Act Requirements. More than 684,000 federal employees were deemed eligible to telework, this represents approximately 32 percent of all federal employees. More than 144,000 federal employees had written teleworking agreements with their agencies. 27 percent of teleworkers worked remotely three or more days per week. In addition to the findings, the reports examine teleworking at the Department of Defense. According to the report, there are more than 793,000 employees in the DoD and of those employees, 134,477 were deemed eligible for teleworking. Overall, the federal government seems to have embraced teleworking and is attempting to create more remote working opportunities for employees. In closing, the report listed several ways that the government could make more jobs available through telework. Suggestions include using telework as a tool to retain employees at or near retirement age and using telework to expand hiring of highly trained disabled veterans.
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According to the job characteristic theory, the relationship between characteristics of the job and job satisfaction was moderately strong. Of the five task characteristics, autonomy has a strong relationship with job satisfaction such that greater autonomy leads to greater job satisfaction. Teleworkers may have increased satisfaction due to the flexibility and autonomy their jobs provide. Teleworkers were found to have higher satisfaction than office based workers. It was found that autonomy increased teleworkers' satisfaction by reducing work-family conflicts, especially when workers were allowed to work outside traditional work hours and be more flexible for family purposes. Additionally, autonomy explained an increase in employee engagement when the amount of time spent teleworking increased. Furthermore, a study from FlexJobs that surveyed over 3000 people found that 81 percent of respondents also said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.
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