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Virtual offices: outfitted for winter weather

While companies that boast office space in Tampa are spared the seasonal challenges that result from winter weather, telecommuting operations across the country have an advantage when the cold sets in. In parts of the nation where snowstorms can shutter public transportation and make commuting to work dangerous or impossible, the benefit of allowing employees to work from home is that the show goes on, even when the weather outside is frightful. 

In some areas, employees may get the short end of the stick on company snow days. According to CBS News, non-exempt employers are not required to pay workers for days the office is closed: a measure that might sound reasonable for a company's bottom line, but that can derail personal budgets around the holidays. For exempt employees, managers can apply vacation time to account for weather shutdowns. While those circumstances sound like punishment enough, it further begs the question: Can employees be fired for being unable to commute?

"Short answer, yes. You can be written up, demoted and even fired for not making it into work, even though the streets are ice covered," writes Suzanne Lucas on the CBS News website. "Long answer, they certainly shouldn't. Every company should take their employees' health and safety seriously."

The beauty of a virtual office is that it's structured to circumvent these problems altogether. Barring power outages, telecommuting teams can stay in touch, stay on task and, above all, stay warm when winter weather costs brick-and-mortar offices precious time and money. In the end, it's a dreamy arrangement for both executives and their employees. 

Instead of waking up and wondering if the roads are safe enough to travel, telecommuters can make some hot cocoa, open their laptops and dig into a regular day of work. 

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