Once upon a time, all businesses rented an office space and set their employees to work within the four walls of that office. Everybody would arrive at 9 am, leave at 5 pm, and repeat this work behavior from Monday through to Friday. Thanks to advances in technology that are enabling a virtual office scenario, business owners are realizing that this may not be the most productive way of doing business after all.
Giving employees the flexibility to work from home and to choose some of their working hours may seem like a scary proposition at first, but if managed correctly, it can have massive benefits for an organization. Employees may actually be more productive within an environment where they feel completely comfortable, and companies can also save huge amounts on overheads such as office space rental.
But how exactly should a company manage a virtual workforce?
1. Cloud managed networks. When you share an office space with somebody, you are able to exchange information, share documents, and edit your work together in real-time. Sharing a physical space encourages collaboration and so those methods of collaboration must be effectively recreated for the virtual environment.
Using a cloud-based network means that everybody working for an organization can have access to exactly the same data and that they can work on projects in real-time together. All that an employee needs to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively with colleagues is a robust internet connection.
2. Video conferencing. There is nothing quite like meeting with colleagues and clients face to face in order to resolve work issues. Even in an office environment, getting the right people together in the same room at the same time can be a challenge, but when you manage a virtual office, this can be even more challenging.
By using advanced video conferencing solutions, any person within an organization can talk to another via a live video stream. There are now many HD videos conferencing solutions that provide crystal clear picture quality, and many of these systems also offer advanced features such as being able to share documents across the platform – this can significantly enhance work productivity in a virtual office.
3. Business process outsourcing. When you begin to give employees the autonomy to work from home or wherever they choose, you will begin to realize that there are many work functions that do not necessarily need to be executed from within the business. Outsourcing certain work tasks can make a business far more efficient as when outsourcing tasks you only pay for the hours that are used by the third party organization.
Business processes that are commonly outsourced include data entry tasks, processing payments, and accountancy tasks. Another great example is virtual call centers, which can take your calls when you need them to and free you up to do other tasks that help drive your business.
By selecting the right tools for communication and collaboration, you can successfully manage an efficient and productive virtual office within your business. In doing so, you will be able to offer your employees greater work flexibility that will result in improved work performance and an increased loyalty to the company.