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HOW TO ACHIEVE A SMOOTH VIRTUAL OFFICE TRANSITION How to Achieve a Smooth Virtual Office Transition


PART ONE

Know the Basics A physical office is undoubtedly a sign of progress and growth for a firm or company, and it’s not surprising if all startups and young enterprises seek to have one. The importance of having a brick-and-mortar office is something we cannot totally ignore. It mostly signifies permanence and reliability, and it is also needed for internal matters such as meetings and collaboration between employees and clients.

How to Achieve a Smooth Virtual Office Transition


PART I - Know the Basics

However, as technology keeps on rising and improving, the mindset has began to change. Cloud computing and paperless technologies are continuously rewriting the rules for many businesses in different industries. Today, going virtual is not merely an option for companies -- it is setting the pace for a revolutionary yet promising and effective way to run businesses. There are questions you should ask yourself before finally deciding to go virtual. Does it suit your firm or business; would the benefits overpower the drawbacks eventually? Can you afford to spare time preparing for the transition? How can you transition smoothly and what are the factors to consider when doing so? As you read on, you can get the vital information that you need to make an educated decision.

The Virtual Office in a Nutshell


PART I - Know the Basics

Technically, a virtual office is a business location that exists in the cyberspace. It allows all or some of a company’s owners, executives, and employees to work from any location convenient for them by using various technological devices and programs. Meetings and conferences are usually done via teleconferencing (audio and/ or video), while documents are transmitted electronically or uploaded to a cloud storage which can be accessed by the involved staff.

Is Going Virtual Worth It? Becoming a virtual organization isn’t for everyone. Determining if going virtual or adopting some elements of a virtual office will make sense for your organization requires careful consideration of your business’s nature, as well as the impact that the change will bring. But nonetheless, for a successful and easier transition, you need to make everyone in your organization realize the following benefits:

+ Greater productivity - Many people can work more productively when they are given greater control of their work schedules and environments. However, managers and executives need to let the staff know and understand that there will be some sort of time and productivity tracking system. Additionally, it will be better if managers ask employees to plan out their possible schedules before the actual transition for easier syncing among teams and staff.


PART I - Know the Basics

+ Decreased overhead - Rent is one of the biggest

expenses for businesses. While some will also need to subscribe to virtual office services, they can still save a significant amount when a physical office is eliminated from the scene.

+ Happier employees & staff - While happiness is

subjective, there is no doubt that telecommuting offers promising benefits, particularly in the time freedom aspect as well as transportation savings. Employees with families and children can appreciate this privilege greatly, and make them more inspired and determined to work harder.

+ Easier recruitment

- Going virtual offers the benefit of accessing a wider manpower market -- you can hire professionals from beyond your locale, while you provide more attractive opportunities for talents who prefer telecommuting.


PART TWO Get Ready:

Know the Challenges Transitioning from having a physical office to adopting a virtual setup is comparable to setting up a new business as there are a lot of aspects to look into and challenges to face and solve. Possibly the biggest challenge associated with virtual offices is establishing and maintaining a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among the staff. Firms & executives must be able to develop strategies and systems to ensure that teams and members stay connected to one another, and eventually, stay committed to the fulfillment of the organization’s goals, mission, and values. How to Achieve a Smooth Virtual Office Transition


PART II - Get Ready: Know the Challenges

However, that is just one issue that you must prepare for. To achieve a smooth transition, you must not be caught off guard by these challenges.

Primary Staff Issues That You Are Most Likely to Address and How Below are some of the staff and management practices and issues that you must carefully handle:

Communication - This is practically the backbone of any organization, may it be traditional or virtual. And when it comes to the latter, it becomes more challenging as the employees and team members can be miles apart from each other. Aside from securing technologies that allow for effective remote communication, managers also need to develop strategies or systems such as: ◙ Regular short meetings via audio or video conference ◙ Requiring personal check-ins just to know where an employee is working from ◙ Allot a time where staff just chat about anything (non-work related) ◙ Use chat or IM status to indicate the time that the employee started and ended working, and what he or she is working on


PART II - Get Ready: Know the Challenges

Staff Management - Managers may fear that their staff

may not get as much work done as when they are working in one office. But higher executives can easily reiterate this: if the managers are worrying about their staff’s productivity, they might be under-performing already. Fortunately though, working remotely may even spark the staff’s performance and commitment as they appreciate the opportunity of having more time freedom. True enough; managers need to be firm in holding their staff accountable to results and deliverables. In a virtual setup, the number of hours worked is not tantamount to getting things done. Managers need to: ◙ Know their staff well enough -- understand how they operate individually as well as the challenges and distractions they might face working remotely, and think of ways how to better provide assistance and support ◙ Learn to spot signs of stress, distress, and tension to be able to help solve and stop issues ◙ Train and encourage staff to always communicate and relate both successes and challenges ◙ Focus on giving feedback and spare time for coaching ◙ Understand that it is the manager’s responsibility to reach out to their staff, raise issues proactively, and help solve issues and figure out complex tasks


PART II - Get Ready: Know the Challenges

Social isolation - This can be a disturbing issue especially for natural extroverts as they put huge importance on being able to interact with others regularly. The thought of not traveling or commuting every weekday or going to an office filled with their co-workers and friends can make some employees anxious and skeptic about working remotely. While it is not an employer’s responsibility to offer social life, this anxiety and skepticism can affect productivity. To combat this, executives and managers can: ◙ Suggest working at different places

every once in a while such as coffee shops and shared office space

◙ Initiate (and participate in) friendly

chats among team members

◙ Invite team members to go out for coffee, lunch, or dinner when the workload is not as heavy or when everyone is free


PART THREE

Issues That You Need to Address Initially After you have successfully conditioned everyone in your organization to prepare for the transition, it’s now time to make it happen. Here are the primary issues and aspects that you should consider, focus on, and address.

How to Achieve a Smooth Virtual Office Transition


PART III - Issues That You Need to Address Initially

Technology

Depending on the current state of your IT systems and department, you may be ready for the transition or you may need to still work on some things. Here’s a list of the most important things you must prioritize: ◙ Computer or laptop, webcam, and printer with scanner functionality ◙ Smartphones or tablets for staff who travel often ◙ Telephone & internet service at each employee’s home, plus a backup Internet connectivity device or service ◙ An email program for the entire staff’s use ◙ Shared calendars and trackers ◙ Online and teleconferencing software ◙ Call forwarding service or system that will redirect calls from clients and business partners to a particular employee ◙ Secure online accounting software


PART III - Issues That You Need to Address Initially

Distractions The home can be a great source of different distractions -- from the children that seek their working parent’s attention to your favorite TV show. To address this, everyone needs to understand that professional and family life must be separated, despite working at home. This can be done by setting up a home office where children and pets are not allowed in, especially during times when an important and urgent task must be finished.

Maintaining work-life balance While professional and personal must be clearly distinguished from one another, everyone should also find balance between the two. Mostly, the personal gets in the way of professional, but sometimes, it’s the latter that disturbs the balance. Some tend to work more hours than they are supposed to. For instance, an employee may need to stay online during wee hours to be able to talk to a teammate or manager based in a different location, in a different time zone. Managers and executives must be proactive in reminding staff -- and themselves -- that they should not waste the opportunities that telecommuting offers by forgetting to balance their time. They must remind staff to take a break and relax from time to time as much as they would remind them to finish tasks on time.


PART III - Issues That You Need to Address Initially

Network privacy and security As the staff works using different Internet service providers as well as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, executives might need to ensure that all confidential data and files are transmitted and transferred securely. This can be done by hiring IT professionals who can suggest and recommend solutions or subscribe to a service that provides secure network programs and systems.


PART III - Issues That You Need to Address Initially

METRO OFFICES 11710 Plaza America Drive, Suite 2000 Reston, VA 20190

(877) 697-7005 www. Metroffice.com

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How To Achieve a Smooth Virtual Office Transition  

As the virtual office trend continues to grow, learn how you can smoothly transition from having a physical to a virtual office.

How To Achieve a Smooth Virtual Office Transition  

As the virtual office trend continues to grow, learn how you can smoothly transition from having a physical to a virtual office.

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