Would you love to check out of the office permanently, with the freedom to work whenever and wherever you want? You’re not alone. For the past five years, the number of American employees working remotely has been on the rise.
New technology and ever-evolving options have made remote work easier than ever. As more employees work virtually, more options become available—including the virtual office.
Have you made the decision to move to a virtual space? These tips can help you get off to a strong start!
Set Your Structure
Most of the time, when you hire employees, they work in the traditional time-based payment and review structure. Employees have grown accustomed to being paid based on the number of hours they work—thus focusing on hours as a basis for expectations.
But, in a virtual office, expectations are much less hours-based. It requires both leaders and employees to look at job duties from a new, outcomes-based perspective. Employers have a harder time focusing on the amount of time employees spend “in the office” because they’re never really in an office.
Instead, the focus should shift toward quality and quantity over time. When setting expectations for a virtual company, it’s important that everybody understands these expectations. Of course, for this to happen you have to provide your employees with the tools to meet expectations.
Some key things to keep in mind:
- Consider how the change will impact how your business is run, will job descriptions change?
- Provide employees with communication strategies
- Invest in the tools a virtual office needs to succeed
- Be willing to be flexible
Plan the Transition
Before you choose to make a move to a virtual office, put together a transition team. It’s vital that everyone is on board with the decision. While a virtual office has its benefits, the change might not be best for everyone. Some may be skeptical about the shift, and others may thrive in a different environment. The key to a successful transition is transparent communication.
You’ll want to communicate:
- Why you’ve decided to make the transition
- How the transition is going to look
- When you’ll be making the transition
- What the virtual office is going to look like
It’s important that you share the expectations, benefits, and logistics with your team up front. Without a solid plan and communication transitioning to a virtual office can be a big hurdle to overcome.
One last tip: give employees an idea of what a virtual office will look like. People respond well to visuals, and everybody prefers knowing expectations up front. The idea of “virtual” can be scary!
Get the Tools You Need to Succeed
Show your employees how the available technology will make developing and maintaining an effective virtual office easier and more attainable than ever.
- Stay connected: It’s key that a remote team stays in contact. Tools like Slack, Uberconference, Basecamp, GotoMeeting and so many other options make team communications attainable. When choosing what to use, think about your needs. Do you need video chat? Text chat?
- Project management: Tools like Wrike, Jira, Trello, Dropbox, and Smartsheets make managing projects of all kinds easier, especially for virtual teams. Project management tools will keep your team in contact and organized.
- Project-specific tool: What does your team need to succeed? Adobe Suite? CRM? Cloud-based graphic design tools? Industry-specific software? It’s key that you prepare in advance, so you get the right tools in the hands of the right employees!
And don’t forget, a virtual receptionist can help your virtual office grow!