Covid-19 has changed the workplace for good or at least for the next one or two years. Companies that were skeptical previously on remote working, have in recent months, no choice but to implement work from home protocols.
There is a debate at the moment about how long people will have to work from home and we and if offices will open ‘back to normal’ this or even next year. But where we are now, most staff cannot return to the office environment, five days a week 9am to 5pm. It just can’t work in this new age of work and the workplace.
Workers have had a taste of working from home the past few months and in a lot of cases, employees do like this new normal. Less commuting and a greater flexibility. Also workers with children, have less overheads with creches.
Until a vaccine is discovered a large proportion will continue to work from home, whether full time or part of the week at home and in the office. So for companies fully implementing work from home or who will return eventually to the pre-covid workspace, implementing effective policies and technologies for running your virtual office is vital. Around central Dublin, most office blocks have not returned to anywhere near normal. You can tell this by the empty car spaces and car parks in or around the office space.
So here are a number of tips for effectively running your virtual office:
1. Choose a virtual business address:
A virtual business address creates a professional image for your business. Choose a prestigious central business address. Never use your home address as your business address. Incorporated with the virtual address, will be mail forwarding and mail handling service. The address can be used for all your business requirements, such as on your website, registration, correspondence.
2. Find the Right Video Conferencing Tools:
The cost of video conferencing systems were once suited only for large companies. Today, however, video conferencing tools, such as Zoom and GoToMeeting, are simple to install and easy and affordable to use, which has opened remote working and virtual offices to all businesses large and small along with freelancers and entrepreneurs.
3. Implement Work at Home Policies
This would be an agreement between the employer and the employee regarding the responsibilities and productivity expected from the employee. Responsibilities such as the hours to be worked, what expenses can be claimed for the home office, should the salary be the same, policies on video conferencing and communications.
4. Organise your Tream:
Organising your team is vital to the smooth running of your business. Not only can managing your team remotely be done by email or phone, but via online managment tools. With these online tools, you can set deadlines, assign tasks to employees and post comments.
It is vital to have online cyber security tools for your business, computers, phones and remote workers. simple tools such as two factor sign in for staff would be a good place to start along with spam and malware awareness for all staff
6. Meeting Rooms:
Those running their business via a virtual office service, should also make sure they have access to meeting room facilities. If required meeting rooms can be booked with your provider and you can use to meet clients.
7. Documentation Sharing:
Sending files by email is not always the safest way to share documents. The most effective and secure way of sharing files, whilst working remotely, is to set up a secure cloud storage facility through a company like Dropbox. Multiple users can share and work on files at the same time and files can be safely retrieved though any devise with an internet connection.
We are living in changing times for the workplace and employees will be working more from home or partly from the home and workplace, along with flexible workspace and virtual offices. Before businesses and employees make this transition, they should implement the above policies to run an effective and efficient virtual office.