Even though a virtual office is not a new concept or considered uncommon in the business world, the COVID-19 pandemic has massively increased the appeal of remote working solutions for small and large businesses alike.
The new reality made businesses that previously had little need or interest for a larger office aware of the benefits they offer. With more and more companies deciding to make remote working part of their new normal, here are some of the best tips that will help you set up your virtual office for success.
Gather all your tools together
Communication and collaboration tools are the heart of a successful virtual office, so it’s super important to get them right from the start. This also goes for cloud storage, particularly if your business is working with sensitive information.
To create a successful virtual office, you’ll have to invest in the best collaboration tools for your team. This means that you’ll have to decide which tools are essential for your particular business before making an investment.
For example, if you’re the manager of a communication company, you need to focus on strong collaboration tools. On the other hand, it may be more important for you to have some solid cloud storage and file-sharing tools if you have a design company.
Recruit the right people
One of the main benefits of working from home is that you have access to a broader pool of talent.
This means that you can actually recruit people from anywhere in the world, which offers you the opportunity to recruit individuals who are actually right for your business.
When setting up a virtual office, you need to decide whether you need to hire actual staff for sales, marketing, payroll, and HR or whether you’ll use a virtual assistant to outsource these tasks.
Remember that even though most people are attracted by the flexibility offered by a virtual office, this is not a working environment that suits everyone, so it’s essential to make sure everyone you hire can work with minimal supervision.
Get a virtual business office address
Whether you’re transitioning from a traditional office to a virtual one or you’re a start-up, it’s essential to have an official business address for your company. The good news is that numerous virtual office address providers offer not only business addresses but also services such as call answering and call forwarding, and pay-as-you-go access to co-working spaces.
Some providers offer discounts for signing up for an address over more than one year, whereas others provide perks such as discounts on gym memberships and invitations to members-only events.
Having a virtual address will not only ensure that you’re compliant with corporate laws but will also help you build credibility.
Move all your data to the cloud
Having all your data in the cloud gives your employees access to everything they need to complete their tasks, including software, documents, and tools that they can access no matter where in the world they are.
There are other benefits of moving to the cloud, including high performance and scalability, increased productivity and flexibility, and improved IT security.
When you set up a virtual office, you need to give your team access to everything they would have in a regular office. Your employees can access any data, documents, and other essential resources in the cloud, so there’s no time-consuming back and forth communication about files. Software tools such as Google Drive can help store your data on the cloud securely.
Offer employees a platform to socialize
One of the most challenging adjustments to remote work is the lack of face-to-face interaction. It’s quite a common mistake for businesses to neglect this aspect when setting up a virtual office. If you only rely on phone calls and work emails when conducting your business, this can lead to a breakdown of employee relationships and eventually take a severe toll on morale.
The good news is that there are so many apps designed specifically for this purpose, offering video conferencing, instant messaging, shared storage space, and more. Try to set up weekly casual meetings for the team to hang out and talks about anything besides work. You can also schedule regular happy hours and virtual team-building activities to make up for the lack of face-to-face interaction.
Establish the organizational culture
It’s often easier to share company rules and delegate responsibilities when working in a traditional office environment. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to establish an organizational culture for your virtual team as well.
Just like in a physical office, you need to provide employees with a structure, and implementing virtual office hours is the first step.
This way, employees are aware of the hours they’re expected to be available while still being able to work flexibly. If you have employees located in various time zones, try to set some standard hours that make it possible for everyone to be available.
Using time and productivity management tools can help ensure all team members work a certain number of hours a day. These tools also make it easy to see if anyone on the team is stretched too thin so you can take action. When establishing the organizational culture, the main goal is to make sure everyone can enjoy an excellent work-life balance.
It’s also essential to ensure that employees are clear about their duties. Iron out all the details regarding goals, responsibilities, and company policies when onboarding new team members.
You should also have a reliable system for distributing and evaluating work. Finally, don’t forget to encourage everyone to ask questions whenever they feel that something requires extra clarification.
There are endless options when it comes to operating a virtual office, and with the right setup, you can enjoy working seamlessly with talent from all over the world while also having more work-life balance.
And remember that if you ever run into difficulties when setting up and managing a virtual office, you can also talk to your team and ask for their insight to improve your processes in a way that’s best for everyone.
Search Remotely is at the forefront of the future of work. On one hand, we enable remote workers to upskill and find remote jobs, and then on the other hand numerous employers around the world trust our recruitment team to place candidates into their companies and scale up their remote teams.