'Mobile Workers' Take Advantage Of Office Space Dedicated To Telecommuters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Telecommuting once sounded like science fiction, but it is so common today 10 percent of Americans work from home at some point during the week.

As CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported Tuesday, those who do not drive off to work are now often being driven to distraction. But now there is a solution in the form of a “virtual office.”

Maggie Mistal; her husband, Craig; and their 2-year-old son, Mercer, live in a one-bedroom apartment in Midtown.

Craig is a travel writer, and Maggie is an executive coach. They both work from home.

“It’s wonderful and challenging at the same time — no, really,” Maggie Mistal said. ”It’s a little bit of both because sometimes you get interruptions, and sometime you get the convenience of being able to walk out your bedroom door and do a phone call.”

Mercer’s cries interrupted Maggie Mistal’s thoughts as she spoke. But another telecommuter, David Deutsch, said there are plenty of other potential distractions too.

“I have all these things — ooh, I can get a snack, or ooh, I should do this — maybe I’ll just take a nap,” he said. “And that does happen, for me, even with a nice home office. I just have a really hard time working from home.”

Both Mistal and Deutsch have also taken the “home” part out of working from home. They are now part of the growing number of people who are so-called “mobile workers,” and work almost anywhere they can find an outlet and Wi-Fi.

Bill Morrow of Regus said a temporary office space could minimize the distractions one might encounter at home, or the local coffee shop.

“The difference between here and a Starbucks is you have a professional work environment, and you don’t have the typical distractions or crowded environment — and just the simple fact that we have electrical outlets and Internet that works all the time,” Morrow said.

Regus is one of several companies that offer temporary office space. There are many players in the “virtual office” industry, from a division of W.R. Grace to a company called Micro Office, but Regus has taken the next step.

The company just opened a street-level business center on Third Avenue. Telecommuters buy a membership for $30 per month, and can use any of their business lounges around the world.

Mistal said no matter where you work, you need to network. She said telecommuters should show up at the office on a regular basis and go to work-related events.

She said there is no substitute for face time – especially if you want to get promoted.

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