Virtual offices are becoming more popular as the benefits of working remotely become apparent to business owners and entrepreneurs. There are unique challenges that can come with the territory, however, and before making the leap it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the ways to maintain a high level of productivity.
You’re, most likely, already aware that you’ll be saving time on commuting as well as minimizing workplace distractions but what about collaboration? Will you be able to stay organized and informed of everything that is going on with your coworkers? How will you communicate the most effectively? This list has a few important tools that can help you get started on making the most of your virtual office experience.
Communication is key in any workplace but it becomes essential in a virtual workplace. Without communication important things can fall through the cracks and you can run into unnecessary snags and headaches that could’ve easily been avoided with a simple memo. With virtual offices you’re best bet is to utilize Email for your communication needs since you can’t leave paper memos or notes for your coworkers or employees.
Be sure that you have it set up to filter important messages properly, however, since it can be an annoying distraction to constantly filter through spam or other unimportant messages to get to your work Emails. You can’t go wrong with Gmail in this instance since it is very easy to filter only your important messages and to create folders to organize your messages more effectively.
Organizing and Planning
Don’t throw out that planner simply because you’re moving to a virtual office! You’ll need it now more than ever to make sure you stay on task and complete al of your projects on time. It may be a smart idea to utilize an online calender, however. That way you can keep everyone in the loop about deadlines and other important dates without the need to constantly send reminder emails or phone calls. Google Calendar is an extremely useful tool especially if you’re already using Gmail since the two integrate so smoothly.
Sometimes Email is not the quickest or most effective way to communicate important or time sensitive information. If you need to get the information to someone more quickly then there really is no substitute for direct communication. Thankfully there are numerous ways to communicate directly whether it’s via telephone, instant message, or video calls. With a virtual office and a mobile phone plus an internet connection any one of these modes of communication is easily at your fingertips. Skype is a great option that can cover all of these options with one application.
Online File Storage and Sharing
Storing and sharing files is essential for online collaboration. Particularly if most or all of your office is virtual and if a lot of information is in the Cloud. DropBox is one tool that is particularly useful for virtual office collaboration. Not only can you store all of your files in one place but your coworkers can also edit and make changes on the documents if needed.
Virtual offices are a great way to cut back on costs and to reduce commuting time. It can be a great way to grow your business but if you don’t use the correct tools you could potentially run into a few challenges. However, as long as you’re sure that everyone is able to communicate effectively, stay on task, and collaborate when needed you’ll be well on your way to a productive and efficient virtual office environment.