A virtual office is an online office that lets you work remotely. Many online businesses use virtual offices as the front end of their operations. A virtual office has all the features of a regular office but it is not physically present. Your employees don’t have to commute to the office daily and you don’t have to pay a lease for rent for a physical office space.
Before we get more confused about what a virtual office is, let’s discuss in detail what a virtual office offers for your business. A virtual office has all the facilities of a regular office minus the liabilities that come with it. You don’t have to handle any legal procedures to rent a commercial office space. You don’t have to pay any overheads for the maintenance of the premises. The facilities that you get are:
- A legally registered business address that can be used on your business cards and stationery.
- A call handling and forwarding service.
- Front desk and receptionist services.
- Fax and printing services.
- Physical office space when needed.
- Teleconferencing and video conferencing services.
- Virtual phone number.
- Virtual assistant.
A virtual office is a shared office space that you can use when needed. If you want to arrange a meeting or conference or seminar, you can easily do so, through your virtual office. You need to schedule your meetings beforehand to book the conference room in advance.
The virtual office has a very flexible payment plan as well. You only have to pay for the facilities you use. Their packages are not fixed and you don’t have to pay for features that are of no use to you. You can also get your package tailor-made to suit your business model.
Another great feature of a virtual office is that there is no lease or rent deed. It is a subscription-based service that can be terminated without any prior notice. You can unsubscribe anytime you want without any penalties or cancelation fees.
A virtual office is perfect for online businesses and startups. Home-run businesses and startups have a lot on their plate. Using a virtual office liberates them from a lot of hassle of renting and maintaining an office. It also removes a lot of overhead costs of hiring administrative staff and utility bills. A virtual office is also a very feasible and affordable option for the scalability of your business. You can expand your business very easily, to other areas without having to rent an office. Just subscribe to a virtual office in the area you are targeting and start working. It is as easy as it sounds!
A virtual office gives you a legitimate business address of a posh area. This builds trust in your target audience because they feel you are a legitimate business that is here to stay. A virtual office can also handle your shipping and logistics needs.
5 ways to increase productivity in a virtual office:
Using a virtual office also comes with its share of challenges and problems. One of the biggest issues that you will face in remote working is the assurance of productivity. The result of any business process is productivity. If you are not producing the desired result then it is a total loss.
In conventional offices, managing employees and assuring productivity is pretty easy. You have to make a strategy and ensure its compliance. Since the employees are coming physically to the office, the collaboration between them is easier and team management is not a huge issue.
However, in remote working where employees are not physically present, team collaboration becomes a challenge. All your team members are working in different time frames, making them work together as one team can be difficult. A good team management strategy and the following tips can help you pull through this challenge successfully.
Use cloud-based collaboration tools:
Using a cloud-based collaboration tool is very important as it is a centralized method for file sharing, conference calling, and team communication. Such apps can let you share project progress with the whole team as well as keep an eye on how the work is going. This helps in streamlining workflow despite different time zones and locations.
Set clear objectives and milestones:
While working with an international team, keeping track of messages can be an issue. You will need to translate your messages and important messages can get lost in the process. You must objectify each part of your project. Set a clear agenda about what needs to be done as a priority. Set milestones for each step of the project to get a better grasp of the workflow. Assigning tasks will become easier as well.
Use the right tools to digitize your workflow:
Productivity apps, collaboration apps, translation apps, cloud apps for file sharing, and video calling, are a few of the generic apps you need to manage your project. These can change according to the nature of the project. Another important thing to do as a project manager is digitizing complete information about the project. There is no arguing that keeping everything online on a cloud network can save you loads of time and tons of effort while finding relevant information.
Use video calling for communication and training regularly:
Conference calling or video calling is an amazing medium to connect to more than one person in your team. You can use it for team meet-ups and regular project reporting. Video calling can also be used for training and regular coaching of your employees. Schedule your calls and meet-ups to improve face-to-face communication between the team members. A small coaching session of 10-15 minutes can make all the difference in increasing productivity.
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Take regular feedback to improve performance:
Feedback is very important, especially in a remote environment. You should address any issues or shortcomings that other members are facing, to improve the system. The efficiency of the whole system depends on how smoothly it goes. To make that happen, take feedback positively and improve any glitches. This is also helpful in building trust between the management and team members.