There is a common misconception that Virtual offices are only useful for micro companies, one employee companies or sole traders.
This simply isn’t true. Depending on the type of business you run, you may not ever need physical office space. A Virtual Office can be used as a hub, a central point that is recognisable to your customers. You can meet clients there, but it is not a location your workforce calls home.
A True Virtual Office – keys to managing a remote workforce
Unless all of your business is conducted via mobile, it is important to have a robust telephone system in place. Traditionally when sharing a physical office, all members of the team would be connected to one network within the confines of four walls.
This can easily be mimicked by using VoIP each employee can be given their own handset and DDI (this can be a local number to where your Virtual Office is located), connected to the internet in their home office. Transferring calls is easy, and through your VoIP provider you can set up a number of rules to dictate what happens when a phone call arrives.
If using a telephone answering service, the receptionist can transfer calls wherever you want. If you don’t use an answering service, you can set a certain type of call to go to certain member of staff, or set a sales calls (for example) to ring everybody at the same time. The possibilities are endless. Another benefit to utilising VoIP is the flexibility of the contracts, much like our Virtual Office service, many VoIP providers work flexible month to month agreements.
Keep in contact
To retain a certain level of control (and cohesiveness), it is important to stay in touch with your employees daily by phone, and encourage your remote staff to communicate with each other. This breaks down the potential feelings of isolation felt by some home workers, and more importantly, helps promote team work and the feeling you are all working towards a common goal.
Calls and messages do not always have to be work related through, casual frequent chats can replace the visual clues you would rely on in a traditional setting to read an employees emotional status.
Having regular conversations with your workforce builds trust, it is important however to not fall into the trap of checking in several times a day.
If you find yourself in this situation, you are either a.) hiring the incorrectly, or b.) not learning to trust your workforce.
Transparency is key -by allowing staff to work from home, you are giving them more freedom to work to their best, even if they have to pop out at 3 to pick up the kids. Treating your staff in this way will promote respect for each other, allowing a business to be managed by results, not by desk hours.
Employees in a physical office are ‘at’ work, but are they working?
It is a misconception that just because an employee is sat with their eyes glued to an office computer for 8 hours a day, that they are actually being productive in that time.
It is important to set clear objectives for all members of your team, from sales and accounts to customer service – every employee must have a structure that allows you to measure their performance.
Objectives need to be clearly communicated, and reviewed regularly, so all members of the team have a clear picture of your business goals.
Meet, Reward and be Social!
Using a city centre Virtual Office, and having a remote work force is not just about cutting costs, it is about letting your workforce feel empowered, allowing them to have a better work-life balance.