With the onslaught and flexibility of technology today, many companies are making the switch from a traditional brick and mortar office to a virtual office. There are many benefits to doing this, such as reduced expenses on mortgages and rent and more employee engagement and appeal. However, you can’t just decide to make the switch. There are certain technologies and elements you’ll need to put into play to ensure that your transformation is a successful one. Take a look at the following five things that every virtual office needs to be successful, and then be sure you’re including these elements when you make your switch.
When you have employees working from all over the globe, you need to be sure that they are connected to the right information at all times. Emails can get dated quickly, and it can be hard to sort through a list of email chains to find the information you need. This is why cloud communication platforms are a must. These programs allow information to be stored on the cloud and updated automatically. According to Masergy, cloud communications include analytics and service control, global presence, intelligent sip trunking, and UCAAS. So no matter where your employees are located, you know that they will always be working with the latest information to keep production moving forward.
When you have a virtual office, you need to ensure that your employees have the mobile devices they need to do their jobs effectively. For instance, do your employees need to have smartphones, or would they work better with a new tablet? Or, do they need both? You need to look into your company’s needs and figure out exactly what technology would work best for your employees regarding mobile devices. You should also look into downloading apps that may be beneficial. For instance, if you use an organization program like Trello or constantly deal with traffic through Waze, make sure that these applications are usable on these devices too.
Even though your employees will work away from each other, they will still need to be able to communicate in real time. While it would be easy to just pick up the phone, you can’t send documents this way, and email can be way too unorganized. Instead, consider finding a chat tool that also allows you to share documents. For instance, HipChat is a great resource that allows your team to talk to one another (individually or in groups), and you can also share documents through the tool too. Plus, you can access it via mobile app, desktop app, or website, so you can count on your employees to be constantly accessible when you need them.
When you don’t physically have someone overseeing your employees, you need to find a way to stay organized. Project management tools are great for this. For instance, Trello is a program that allows you to create project lists and attached documents. This way, everyone on your team can access the information they need in real time. It also allows individuals to know who is working on what project and the status of that project as well. This way, managers can ensure that employees are still staying productive, even when working from home.
Okay, so the purpose of going virtual is to avoid office space, right? Yes, but there will be a time when it’s nice to have a place to meet that’s not at the local Starbucks. Instead of dishing out money on rent for years, you can find companies that rent out office space by the hour. These can be anything from an actual one-person office to a conference room for meetings. By having this space readily available, you can meet with clients and help generate new business. Otherwise, you’ll always have to do it over the phone, at a public place, or at the client’s location, and this can be tiring.
Having a virtual office is a great way to save money and make your employees happy. And if you arm yourself with all of these elements, you’ll find success.