How do you manage a virtual office?
What do you need to do to manage a virtual office
How to successfully manage a virtual workplace with remote workers is a challenge that millions of business managers are addressing every day.
Here are some key considerations that will really help:
Use the Right Technology for Your Virtual Office.
Fixed physical workplaces where every member of staff was on the same office floor was once the only way of work for millions of businesses. Employees used computers connected to a local network. The company’s server was housed in a server room on the office floor and maintained by their own IT staff. Network and data security was the company’s own responsibility and the business was hugely dependent on their own few IT staff to monitor their systems. But working in a remote work environment is not like that.
The foundation of a productive virtual office lies in the right mindset AND implementation of the right technological tools and platforms. Investing in a reliable communication provider, a reliable cloud provider and reliable remote collaboration software is critically essential for a successful virtual office. Reliability is everything in the remote workplace.
In the old system, people used to meet around a boardroom or meeting room table, bringing their coffees with them and apologising for being late. Maybe there was an early version of Polycom, possibly if there was a conversation with an interstate office someone would just put the office phone on speaker and patch the call in. Needless to say, the technology for a virtual workplace is not like that.
In the virtual office environment, applications like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom facilitate real-time communication, enabling team members to interact instantly, irrespective of their geographical locations. Utilizing project management tools like Trello or Asana can help also help manage tasks, deadlines, and progress updates efficiently.
Cloud-based storage systems, such as Google Drive or Dropbox also play a crucial role in servicing remote workers, sharing and accessing files securely. This software not only enhances collaboration but also enables version control, ensuring that everyone has access to the latest and most accurate information. Same, same and not different.
Use the Right Communication for a Virtual Business.
Effective, clear and regular communication is the lifeblood of every successful business, but it becomes even more vital in a virtual office environment. Establishing clear communication channels is key to ensuring that regardless of distance, a virtual workplace can work just as well and even better than the conventional office space.
As a business owner you have to define how you and your teams will be communicating, together, with providers, and with clients. Will you use WhatsApp or Skype for quick team messaging? Will you let your people define what applications they will use and risk a virus? What software will you use for scheduled video conferencing and how often?
Its crucial to regularly communicate.
Schedule regular catch-ups and ensure there is an agenda and action items so everyone can participate. Managing a virtual workplace means you really need to make sure that the further away a staff member may physically be – the closer you’ll pay attention to their input. And let’s not forget reality – how many of us remember the traditional office silos and the challenge of really being heard, even though you’re just sitting at a physical boardroom meeting with everyone around the table.?
Your regular team meetings, both structured and casual will help maintain a sense of unity among remote employees, fostering a stronger team culture. Then it is also crucial to arrange some face-to-face workshops and conferencing using the meeting facilities at your virtual office. That’s why its important to always subscribe to virtual office rentals that provide plenty of modern meeting rooms and conferencing spaces.
Build a Virtual Workplace Culture from the Get-go
While a virtual office lacks the close physicality of a centralized workspace, it is essential to build a company culture that maintains the spirit of the business regardless of remote working, time-zones and location. A good strong culture is a real asset, a driver of difference compared to the competition.
Thinking from the wider perspective of a virtual workplace, staying aware of the latest communication technology, remembering birthdays, festivals and public holidays, giving awards for performance that are fair, focussed and appropriate. – these are all individual activities that together create trust and satisfaction. Managers of virtual workplaces must use all the levers of relationship building – and outline the clear expectation that you have of the team’s performance – people want to know what they are expected to deliver.
A strong company culture will create loyalty among remote employees and this commitment to the business can be called upon during challenging times. A business without any staff dedication will collapse like a house of cards when faced with real problems.
Track the Performance KPIs for Your Remote Working Staff.
Managing a virtual office requires a keen focus on productivity and performance. While remote work offers flexibility, it also poses the risk of distractions and decreased accountability. Business owners must set clear performance expectations and objectives for each remote team member. Regularly measuring and evaluating performance metrics helps identify areas of improvement and recognize top performers. When people know their good work will be recognised it’s a huge incentive to put in the extra effort.
Monitoring the execution of tasks and the quality of processes in a transparent inclusive way ensures that your staff understand what is expected and can see that every member of the team is treated fairly. It is also important to encourage a spirit of being together ensuring customer satisfaction – not separate remote workers spread across the world but a definite ecosystem of like-minded people involved in a successful enterprise that matters.
Care For The Remote Workers at Your Virtual Workplace
In the virtual office environment, it is easy for employees to experience feelings of isolation and burnout. As a business owner, prioritizing employee well-being is essential to maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce. Keeping the talent that you’ve recruited is a vital cost-saving exercise - no manager wants to waste time continually interviewing for roles and spending all that precious time getting the new employ up to speed. Setting clear boundaries for work hours and sharing the expectations of how the remote team should go about their work duties is paramount – most employees prefer to have some structure and boundaries. Remote workers work best when they really feel they are part of a united team with everyone operating under the same SOPs and best practice guidelines.
When you think about employee satisfaction and retention, it’s really just all about the management mindset. It doesn’t matter if your address is a virtual office Sydney with your staff working from home across New South Wales or a conventional office on the ground floor of a small office tower in Mosman -with all the employees huddled together – if the management doesn’t really care about the employees – the business will never succeed – virtual or otherwise .
Separate Your Virtual Office From Your Home Life
Remote work can blur the lines between work and personal life, making it challenging for employees to disconnect and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Managers of virtual workplaces must encourage their team members to create a dedicated workspace that helps them separate work from leisure – and stick to that routine of working at a dedicated space in their home that’s set aside for work. Promoting flexible work hours, encouraging breaks, and emphasizing the importance of rest and self-care are essential for preventing burnout. It’s all mostly a matter of establishing a routine and sticking to it. Business managers with remote staff working across time-zones or even in other countries, should make sure that employees are only contacted out of hours for critical reasons.
If your virtual address Melbourne has staff working in different time-zones or countries, it’s useful for team platforms and CRMs etc to display the time in the different locations. This sort of thinking about ways to foster unity are critical – and knowing what time it is “somewhere else” means that you won’t be interrupting people’s sleep!
Get to Know the Service Team at Your Virtual Office
When you’ve realised the benefits of incredible cost-savings from not spending cash on a leased office space – it’s important not to just stop there - don’t think that dramatically reducing expenses is the only value of a virtual office.
The service team at your virtual office are also like your own staff – albeit they only work part-time for your business. A great relationship with the service team will mean that they will be able to second-guess your needs and help you to manage your business even better. Remember the service team at your virtual office know all about business needs – that’s their business.
So whether it’s how you want the business mail to be dealt with or arranging meeting room bookings or even accessing some translation services for a press release – let the service team leaders at your virtual office understand your business. Relationships when you are working virtually are always real.
Managing Your Virtual Office Means Thinking Globally.
You shouldn’t limit your business to local customers and you shouldn’t limit your workforce to local employees. Your virtual office location provides a respectable image, but apart from the image – it also gives you more opportunity. Your business ambitions shouldn’t be tied down to one location that you and your people have to commute to each day. That’s the old way.
Working from virtual office addresses means that you’ve deciding to think differently. Using virtual business services like virtual receptionists and virtual offices and even virtual assistants is a step outside the usual conventional business methodology. But this step into the future for many business owners, is just a step into the present.
The most critical thing about a virtual office is that your customers must never think less of your business because you’re managing it virtually. Customers don’t care how you manage your virtual office and where your staff actually work. Customers don’t care if you do commute or you don’t commute. Customers simply aren’t concerned with how a business manages itself. All that matters is that the business delivers. You’ve set the right impression with one of our highly respected virtual office locations and all that matters is that you’re satisfying your customers.
Managing a virtual office with remote workers and leveraging the opportunities of global connectivity is a new normal now - nothing exotic. The old traditions of office workers spending thousands of hours of their lives commuting back and forth in their millions to sit at the same desk in the same office everyday – now that’s strange!