Small business owners have transitioned from enduring high overhead costs to discovering ways to cut down on them.
Virtual offices have become the norm in the past few years. Such an alternative work environment boosts productivity, reduces overhead costs, and gives a small business more professional perks.
The five advantages of virtual offices for remote teams include:
You may be wondering if a virtual office is right for you and your business. If this is your first time hearing about virtual offices, discover why this could be a great stepping stone for your small business.
A virtual office is a designated physical space for a business to perform its everyday work.
Paying rent on an entire building for start-up operations is a less popular norm now. Virtual office spaces are the new start-up trend for smooth operations. Half of America’s workforce now holds a job that can be done somewhat remotely.
Your virtual office space may have desk chairs, a landline telephone, and desktops. If desktops are not available, you will need work laptops.
A virtual office allows its employees and contractors to perform telework. The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) defines telework as an employee or contractor completing work at an agreed-upon site other than the company’s headquarters.
For start-ups, it can be challenging to gather enough capital for a brick-and-mortar office location. A virtual office reduces overhead costs while giving professional perks:
These professional perks allow start-ups to gain more respect from first-time patrons. Enforce credibility from the get-go to gain loyal customers over time.
If your virtual office space does not provide you with a landline telephone, there’s another option. Try a VoIP service to have your remote teams connected with clients without the need for a landline.
Virtual office spaces operate on a month-to-month lease. Find a new location if your current one is not working for you. Take command over your business location when you lease virtual office space. One-year leases are the norm when renting a traditional brick-and-mortar office location.
Some virtual office space providers ask that you stay a minimum of six months. Other providers allow a month-to-month lease agreement. Check with your local providers to learn their specific terms. Do not forget this step, especially if you plan on relocating your virtual office later on.
The virtual office space provider you choose will make you feel like you have an assistant. They’ll reassure you that your mail gets delivered to your office mailbox when you are away from the office. Ask if this service comes with your rental package or if it’s an add-on service.
When you have walk-in clients, a lobby representative will greet them. One of your clients may need help navigating the building. The lobby person can help your client get to your office.
Now that you know how a virtual office works and its importance for start-ups, let’s discuss the perks of having a virtual office. Here are the five advantages of virtual offices for remote teams.
Communication is a two-way street, they say. Open communication lines are vital as you manage, lead, and motivate your remote teams.
Encourage your clients to reach out to you with questions or concerns whenever they need to do so.
Communication with your clients is seamless in a remote-work environment. Set up a meeting during a time that works for both of you. Schedule a phone call or a 1-on-1 video conference. Quick correspondence is convenient for both parties. Conduct the meeting accordingly and quickly so as not to inconvenience either party.
1-on-1 video conferencing is best for:
Communication is key for meeting deadlines, maintaining productivity, and carrying out the company’s business purpose amongst your remote team. When communicating with your contractors or employees, there are easy and quick communication benefits for virtual offices, too.
Your virtual team can hop on a Zoom call to discuss daily responsibilities and goals for the week, month, and quarter. Keep Zoom calls no more than 30 to 60 minutes long so you do not take away from your team meeting their deadlines.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that 70% of people prefer to work from home. If they were given the choice, workers would want to work remotely either full-time or part-time.
Your team can operate flexibly based on their schedule to complete their deadlines.
If you have customer service agents that take calls, your agents can communicate their availability to you. Doing so will have them answering calls only during their designated shifts. Workers can achieve a work-life balance as they set their schedules.
Your company may have piece work or assignment-based projects that your team will have to complete within a designated deadline. For example, if you run a content mill business, freelance writers can flexibly create content on their own time. Communicate with freelance writers via text, audio chat, or video chat to discuss expectations for each project.
Over 60% of CEOs and CHROs stated that maintaining company culture is the biggest challenge to tackle when conducting remote work. Maintaining communication was the second biggest challenge in a remote-work company environment.
Both challenges are interchangeable. Improving company culture requires two-way communication between managers and team members. A manager must communicate expectations to their team in a clear manner. Team members must fulfil these expectations while communicating any concerns as they work on tasks on a deadline.
You can build your company’s overall culture which starts with a strong remote team foundation. Even with virtual offices encouraging remote work, the company’s culture should follow the same etiquette and teamwork rules as a brick-and-mortar business.
Build a strong company culture in a remote-work environment by following these steps.
A remote-work leader will bring uniformity to your remote teams. Communication sometimes suffers in a remote-work environment. The leader will streamline communications, reassure deadlines are met, and train the team as needed.
As a small business owner, you are the reason your business exists. If you lead your team without outsourcing a manager, designate an office hour. If your remote workers have questions or concerns, they can email you or have a quick Zoom chat with you to solve the problem.
Your remote teams may not feel like they are a team. Remote-work environments take away the in-person aspects of working a job.
Meet over a video conference app at least once a week. Discuss goals for the upcoming week, month, and quarter. Doing so will keep your remote teams on task and focused on their key tasks in the coming days and weeks. The collaboration requirements and your teams’ needs will decide the regular meeting frequency, whether it’s once a week, once per workday, or bi-weekly.
Send out email reminders three days in advance to remind clients about meetings. Send another email reminder 24 hours in advance of a scheduled meeting. Text your team an hour before the meeting starts. Regular reminders will reassure that no one misses a meeting.
When your team is not in a meeting, check-in with team members and send a quick text message. Ask if they have any questions about their current task. If it is getting close to their deadline and the team member has not communicated with you that day, see how they are doing and their procedure for meeting the deadline with only a limited time left.
In a world where 81% of remote workers experience conflict in their virtual workplace, be sure that your company culture is strong. Well-built company culture will:
Working remotely means employees and contractors can choose to work from anywhere they desire. They may want to work at home in their home office. Others grab a meal from a local cafe and get their work done there. Individuals may even have a designated workspace at their local library to get their deadlines done. Team members may be from different countries, too.
Building a diverse company culture in a remote-work environment opens access to worldwide talent. You may have a Customer Service Agent based in Pakistan. Your Team Manager may operate from London. Your team’s Remote-Work Leader may operate from the United States.
A business where employees must commute to work means you have limited access to talent. Employees are only going to want to commute only but so far to a workplace.
A virtual office for remote teams will allow your diverse team to learn from one another. During downtime, team members may discuss what’s happening in their country. Team members will not be just in their bubble of what’s happening locally. They can learn more from people in different countries than from their own.
If you get a VoIP service, it can filter out spam calls for you to receive only your clients’ calls. The system you choose can help you pull up client information and history during the phone call. These perks mean you will not have to call the person back once you have obtained the correct information.
Other ways that virtual office can increase productivity include:
Virtual offices are improving productivity and reducing company costs. People are feeling more of a team unit as conference calls and regular check-in text messages happen.
Keep your remote team strong with open communication lines and regular team meetings. Collaboration is key when operating a business with a virtual office.
Now that you know the advantages of virtual offices for remote teams, go discover the one that works for you, your business, and your team.