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Thinking of starting your own business but don’t want to bear all the expenses?
Do you think your business can accommodate being operated virtually and your employees are willing to work remotely?
If yes, then why pay the mortgage for a building or sign a lease for office space?
The technology has already made it easier for people to work from anywhere, but with the pandemic, the remote working trend has escalated quite fast. Now the people have become accustomed to the new norm and enjoy the flexibility of working from home.
While there definitely are perks of remote working, there’s always the other side of the coin. In this article, we will understand virtual offices and the methods of successfully operating in cyberspace.
So let’s get into it!
Understanding Virtual Office:
A virtual office enables individuals and entities to operate remotely or in a non-centralized environment. While working from a virtual office, your office would be where you live. It could be your home, airport, even a beach or a mountain top.
The office would not have a brick-and-mortar presence, but it would have a business address and other benefits. You would have to rent the additional services as needed.
Virtual Office Services:
With a virtual lifestyle, you can have the perks of both physical and virtual offices.
The remote team can work from any part of the world but still have access to the usual physical office facilities like a virtual business address, conference room, a phone number, video conference tools, receptionist, and private offices.
How to Build a Virtual Office:
If you’re looking to commit to a virtual office, then you have some planning to do. Suppose you’re already working in a remote environment. In that case, it is always a good idea to step back and revise your strategy from time to time to make your business more sustainable in the long run.
But if you’re starting out entirely new for virtual offices, then here are some things that you can do to make it more successful.
- Making a Virtual Office Strategy
- Deciding the technology infrastructure
- Getting communication and collaboration software tools
- Keeping employees engaged
1. Making Virtual Office Strategy:
Planning ahead never hurts, and in this case, you need to prepare two things: logistics and core principles.
The logistics part involves deciding your virtual business address, where your mail would go, your phone number, or if you’ll hire a virtual executive assistant or a receptionist. It also involves deciding the technology, the number of employees you’ll be keeping, etc.
The other part of the planning involves ‘core principles planning.’
This involves the flexibility you’ll offer your employees, result-based evaluation, and setting clear expectations.
2. Deciding the technology infrastructure:
Since you won’t be having a brick-and-mortar presence, you won’t communicate in the usual way. That’s why technology infrastructure is your biggest strength.
To move to digital, the first thing you need to do is to become cloud-based.
You might think that having laptops and a pro Zoom Account is what it takes to be remote, but that’s not the case.
You can evaluate your infrastructure by ensuring that your employees have powerful devices to sustain any new procedures you might be putting in place. What software do you need to use? And it’s better to find one that serves multiple purposes.
You should also have cloud storage and determine if you need to digitalize any files. Make sure you have IT solutions ready to troubleshoot any issues.
3. Getting communication and collaboration software tools:
You might think that you need so many software tools for each physical business function that you need to replace, but not really.
Collaboration tools offer multiple functions that are integrated to work seamlessly to cater to your needs.
Most businesses will need audio and video for meetings or conferences, messaging, chat, cloud-based sharing, and project management software.
Choosing the right tools can drastically improve communication and productivity. Cut down on time spent checking emails by implementing a multi-email app solution capable of categorizing your emails based on topic. This is a great way to group communications on subjects like billing, travel expenses, deliverables, and more.
4. Keeping employees engaged:
While all the perks of remote working are valid, the downside is that it’s hard to be self-disciplined and motivated. With kids, pets, or a partner, getting distracted at home is easier than at a physical office
So, it’s essential to have a plan in place to see how your virtual team is performing. You can implement time tracking to see how many hours your employees log in and the work done in that time.
Another idea to enhance productivity is to organize virtual team-building calls. Some of the virtual team-building ideas include virtual pictionary, speed typing races, murder mysteries, and even Bingo!
Also, while you cannot see your employees in a virtual office, it doesn’t mean that you have to schedule meetings just for the sake of meetings. Avoid unnecessary check-ins and micromanagement of your employees and trust them to get the work done.
That being said, you can easily take your business’s operations digital and watch your business and productivity soar!