5 Things To Consider In Selecting a Virtual Office

Selecting a virtual office comes with a host of benefits, that much is certain. There is the cost-saving angle to consider for sure, and it will save a lot of resources no matter what stage the business is at. A virtual office also provides employees with a sense of flexibility and ease and provides innumerable facilities needed to run a business smoothly.
Virtual offices are a great solution for both large and small businesses and are an easy solution for many businesses that would like to have office facilities but are still in their growth phases.
It is important to select something that will both fit and accommodate your needs in both the short-term and long-term. Here are the most important factors to consider when selecting a virtual office.

1) Virtual Office Facilities

This one might sound incredibly simplistic, but it bears repeating because it is very important to be thorough in the selection process. Oftentimes many will end up selecting a virtual office without doing any research because they need it quickly, but that ends up becoming more costly in the long run.
If a virtual office does not have all the facilities you need to operate your business, keep other options in mind. If you anticipate rapid expansion, ensure that facilities are in place and that the virtual office can keep up with your growth.

2) Ease of customization

The earlier point directly ties with this one; how flexible is your virtual office solution? Do they nickel and dime for each change, or are they able to accommodate your needs and provide solutions immediately? And what sort of approach are they taking? Is it more one-size-fits-all or tailored to specific needs?
Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s important to work out what will be the best solution for you. If it has standardized offerings, then it takes out the headache of needing custom solutions. However, if your business is niche or is growing, then you will likely need a virtual office that offers flexibility in handling them.

3) Usability

What exactly do you need from your virtual office, and how is this solution fitting into that? Some people opt for basic virtual offices with services they do not actually need while others struggle to find the right solution. This usually boils down to being unable to articulate exactly what the virtual office is being used for early on in the process.
Of course, it’s difficult to anticipate every single need, but you will likely have a fair idea. Will there be lots of conference calls, meetings, and client visits, or is it more for employees to have a central base? This will dictate what your usability needs will be, so it ‘s good to go in with a clear idea.

4) Other tenants

Are there other tenants and virtual office holders that they are managing? Are those tenants satisfied with their packages and offerings? Do not be afraid to ask for references and success stories, and even consider contacting others using the virtual office! It is better to have an understanding of who you might be sharing space with early on, and get a sense of their workload – especially since shared workplaces might be involved.
It is also important to determine the scale and size of their shared workplaces and whether that’s even an option you will really need. It is definitely great to have other businesses around to grow and learn from, but it might also prove to be a distraction or a nuisance.

5) Their mission and your mission

At the end of the day, a virtual office is your home base and a centralized place for employees. So for a mutually beneficial business relationship, it is integral that your missions align and that you have similar viewpoints.
Is the virtual office service focused on customer success and happiness? Is their work informed by a higher purpose of customer satisfaction or are they simply just uninvolved in it all once they have handed you the reins to the office? There are different approaches to managing customers in the long-run and short-run – what is it theirs and does that align with your own viewpoints?
To get started with the virtual office process and learn more about how we provide purpose and convenience for a great office experience, please contact us.
Read about Rapid Iteration

5 Things to Consider for a Virtual Office

How to Lead and Manage in a Virtual Office Space

It seems like there’s always something happening in offices that change the way we do business.
Fax machines and e-mail made it easier to communicate with clients and co-workers. Smartphones have made it easy to always travel with a small version of your office.
Office culture has changed almost as much as the tech employees use in them. A few decades ago it was unheard of to work any hours outside of 9 to 5. Formal suits were considered work-appropriate. Now, people have flexible schedules and work in jeans.
The office space has had to change along with office culture. Now people are working in new ways that were only imagined in the past.

The New Office Space

Imagine what work would be like if you could work from anywhere. The fantasy is now the reality for a growing number of people in the United States. According to a Gallup poll 37% of people surveyed worked remotely.
Having a virtual office space benefits both the employer and the employee. Employers can save money on office space rentals and know that their employees are more flexible and reachable.
Some employees have reported that they feel like they’re more productive when they work from home. Others report feeling happier and like they have a better work-life balance. They also don’t have to worry about spending money on gas and tolls for long commutes.

Managing the New Frontier

A virtual office space is convenient for everyone involved. However, it’s also going to be a different environment to manage. Working in a virtual office space is different than working in a physical space.
You need to lead your team and manage your employees to best suit their needs.
When you move your office to the virtual space, you need to change your management style and techniques. If you follow these tips you’ll have and productive employees that can work anywhere they have an internet connection.

Hire the Right People

Every business wants to make sure they hire employees that are a good fit for their business. This is especially important for employers that plan on having people work remotely. Certain kinds of employees thrive in this environment and others fail.
Employees that work remotely are going to need to be self-starters. They’re going to be in charge of managing work throughout the day, you won’t be there monitoring them and making sure things get done. Someone that needs a lot of hand-holding may not be the best fit for the job.
You’ll also need people that are comfortable working with digital products. Tech literacy can vary among people, and someone that isn’t used to using smartphones or video chat apps may struggle in the virtual environment.

Set Expectations Early On

Employees shouldn’t be in the dark about proper performance and behavior protocol when they’re working. Let them know what you expect out of them when they’re hired. This way, you can ensure that your needs are met. Remember, you won’t be there to monitor them throughout the day. They’ll need to know what to do.
Do you expect to be sent a summary e-mail at the end of the day that outlines what they did? Should they expect to occasionally have to attend in-person meetings, or are they going to be using Skype or another chat services?
These are all important questions to have answers to. When you set expectations early on you’ll ensure that employees are well-informed and ready to work remotely.

Check-in On Schedule

You should expect your employees to be able to manage themselves, but they’ll still need to be able to reach you in case they need you. Consistent communication with your employees is important for managing a virtual office space.
Some managers find that it’s easy to check in with employees multiple times throughout the day to ensure that work is being done. Others are fine with an email at the end of the day or week.
The frequency of communication is up to you. Regardless of what you decide, make sure that your employees feel like they’re able to contact you when they need it. Get feedback from them and see what kind of schedule they prefer.

Find a Chat Tool

If you run a virtual office space you don’t want your employees to feel like they’re working on a team of one. It’s important to make sure that employees are keeping each other in the loop about work.
One of the simplest ways to do that is to give them a chat tool for office communication.
Gmail’s Gchat feature can work well for small offices that just need to use something to periodically check in. Larger offices that rely on frequent cross-collaboration may want to consider something like Slack that can accommodate a lot of people and groups.

Track Progress

Clocking in and out of work used to involve a punch card, but things have gotten a bit more advanced over the years. Now there are systems that can track time throughout the day. This can make tracking the progress of tasks and employee productivity a lot easier in a remote office space.
If you’re paying hourly employees make sure they clock the amount of time they spend on every task. That can help you ensure that employees are getting paid fairly, and can also help you gauge how much time should be spent on certain tasks.
Tools like BaseCamp can make project management simple. Everyone can have one place to place client notes, upload files, and communicate about finished work.

Learn from Employees

The easiest way to see if your management techniques are working is to see what your employees think. Check in with them periodically to see what they think about the way they’re being managed.
Ask them if they have the resources that they need to complete work and thrive. See if there’s anything they feel could be done better, or if they have suggestions about what they think could help.

Your Stories

How did you move into the virtual office space? Do you have tips for people that are new to working remotely?
Tell us about it in our comments section.
If you are interested in learning more about the virtual office experience, contact WorkSocial today.


Learn More

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Having A Virtual Office

“Why limit your business to the ideas of few people when you have unlimited access to pool of talent screaming for opportunities?”
Today, work is what you do, and no longer a rigid place you go to.
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, work at a small firm, or you’re worried by large investments in physical space, then there are several reasons to consider a virtual office as the right solution.
Virtual offices not only decrease your technology related investment and overhead costs (by eliminating the costs of your lease and building expenses), it also makes your business more productive as you are providing an opportunity for your remote workers to work from the places they find most comfortable.
Virtual offices are a relatively new concept in the business world, but chances are it could be the calling card to take your business to next level. Below are five reasons that explain why you should try virtual office for your business.
1. Saves Money
Yes virtual office needs quite initial investment to set up. But that can be easily recovered by having employees telecommute from their homes. A recent article from BusinessWeek pointed out that businesses can save up to £8000 per every employee that works remotely.
This is excluding the money saved from not making any sort technology investment and taking office building on lease.
This means that virtual offices are not just for small firms anymore. Even if you are operating a larger business, you can use virtual offices to spread your branches. There can be minor issues with security as you are operating from a distant place but this can be easily eliminated using a better encryption service for your data.
2. Easier Multitasking
The whole point of having a virtual office is to assist your business in performing many tasks simultaneously. Majority of virtual office service providers provide services like mail forwarding/receiving, providing meeting space, call answering services, virtual receptionists and customer care, etc.
These services help small businesses a lot. Relax and calmly make your future strategies while the people virtually manage all your professional endeavors.
3. Increased Productivity
A Chicago based communication firm chose virtual office to reduce its investment costs. What was supposed to be a year long experiment by the firm changed into permanent solution after the productivity of the firm increased dramatically with decrease in the turnover time. Moreover, the employees were significantly happier.
Most people are happier doing their jobs from their homes avoiding any dramas that arises after being put up with people they dislike. This accounts for heightened productivity and lesser turnover time.
4. Access to global talent
The union of talent with opportunity can be regarded as the biggest achievement of the internet. Why limit your business to the ideas of few people when you have unlimited access to pool of talent screaming for opportunities?
The seemingly endless boring office hours tire workers and it’s often hard to generate fresh ideas. The employees would be more creative if they are not glued to their desks all day long.
5. Cleaner Environment
According to yourvirtualofficelondon, virtual office save up to 90% of power expenditure as remotely working employees means elimination of costs associated with the adaptation and equipment of a conventional office.
This has an instant positive impact on environment because these are the sort of things that have a direct link with generation of carbon footprints according to figures from the World Resources Institute. Virtual offices also make use of electronics in much larger scale, this reduces the need for conventional office works which in turn reduces the need for energy and water.
Act Now and Grow