Virtual offices can be beneficial for many reasons. It can save money and maximize productivity and creativity within your business. However, if not managed properly, a virtual office can run into unique problems that you wouldn’t normal consider in a traditional office. There are ways to mitigate these potential pitfalls if you know what to do. Here are 5 tips for managing your virtual office workers to make sure your business is running as smoothly and effectively as possible.
1. Setting Ground Rules
Setting ground rules is an important first step for any successful virtual office. Working in any sort of remote environment is very different from working in a traditional office. It can be difficult for your employees to stay on task when they’re not surrounding by coworkers or feeling the pressure from supervisors. This can be a detriment to productivity but it can also be a boost if it is managed properly. As long as you clearly state, from the beginning, what is expected of your employees then you can be sure that productivity will not suffer.
Having dedicated work space and work hours is extremely important to maintain order and ensure that all of your employees are on the same page. Flexible hours are one of the greatest benefits of virtual office space but it’s also important to have set hours where all of your employees can collaborate and be in immediate contact with one another.
2. Provide Regular “Visibility Time”
Virtual offices can be very isolating for your employees. Having regular time where everyone can see one another, especially between employees and managers, can ensure that the team remains united and accountable to one another. When you have a virtual office, however, many of your employees and managers may be scattered in remote locations and not capable of meeting all together. Webcams and Skype are invaluable resources for the successful virtual office. Being able to see expressions and hear tone of voice can be the difference between your team feeling united and productive or feeling cold and distant.
3. Routine Reporting
Routine reporting is important for any type of office environment but it is vitally important for the virtual office. When most, or all, of your employees are working remotely it can be difficult to manage their productivity and to know where they are on projects and monthly deadlines. With routine reporting you can be on the same page as all of your employees and ensure their accountability monthly, weekly, or even daily. Google Documents and Dropbox are great online options that will facilitate timely reporting among your entire team as frequently or infrequently as your business needs.
4. In-Person Meetings
In person meetings are an often overlooked aspect in a virtual office environment. Having some sort of yearly company party or retreat where all of your employees can get to know one another face-to-face is invaluable to the success of your virtual based company. Nothing can replace the value of face-to-face contact and it can really bring your team together and foster unity which will in turn increase overall productivity for all involved.
5. Reward Good Work
Finally, rewarding good work is one of the best ways to ensure that your virtual employees remain consistent and positive. A negative work environment, even a virtual one, can have a drastically negative effect on even the most cohesive and well-managed team. Rewarding good work, whether through positive reinforcement, bonuses, or other incentives can help create an atmosphere of positivity and appreciation that your employees will greatly value. It’s no secret that positivity increases productivity and creativity so why not make that a top priority among your virtual employees?
Managing virtual employees shouldn’t be time consuming or difficult. However, it’s important to realize that there a number of unique challenges that virtual offices must overcome in order to remain successful. By following these 5 simple tips you can be sure that your virtual office environment will remain positive and productive.