In the UK and all around the world, working from home is becoming increasingly popular. The advantages are fairly obvious and it all boils down to making better use of your time. Here are some essential practices that virtual workers should always keep in mind in order to ensure success:
Dedication and commitment
It is vital that each and every member of a virtual team or company is fully committed to their work. By pursuing the option of a virtual office, you are not simply ridding yourself of physical work space but a change in the general mind-set, procedures and self-discipline of each individual worker. Each employee needs to understand what is expected of them and be willing to work independently.
Trusting each other
Bosses, managers and team leaders have the responsibility and power of handing out tasks. It is their duty to oversee them but, when it comes to a virtual office, superior staff members will also need to be able to trust those working in their team. Likewise, team members who only communicate remotely, and do not physically work side by side, will also have to work on their relationships in order to build trust.
From the client’s point of view, they also need to be safeguarded. When your company’s workers are based at home and making use of their own devices in order to access your system, you need to ensure that security and privacy is protected. Employers need to provide their employees with the proper anti-virus software, for example, and make sure that it is suitable for the particular device being used by the employee (i.e. smartphone, tablet, Mac, Windows etc).
When everyone works together under the same roof, it’s quite simple to make sure that processes and procedures are set out and followed. With a virtual work environment, every single employee from your virtual secretary to the CEO needs to be aware of all the different steps to be followed in each instance. Consider drafting a manual that includes a step by step guide to each and every process within the company’s daily functioning. This makes it easier for workers to stick to the rules and it’s also handy when training new employees.
Get the tools you need
Being a virtual company, you need to do everything in your power to ensure a constant flow of creativity and energy within the minds of your employees. In many cases, as the employer, you will find it beneficial and essential to provide your employees with the kind of technology that will allow them to perform their jobs on the go. Mobile devices like tablets are a fine example of this and don’t forget to set each member of your team up with online data storage too. That way, no matter where they are, they can always access their work files.
Proper performance assessment
Some managers and business owners feel that hiring staff members who work from home will decrease productivity due to employees wasting time and not working as hard as they would in an actual office. What you need to remember is that anyone you hire will be thoroughly screened before they are actually hired. They should be provided with strict guidelines regarding their work and what is expected of them. At the end of the day, for example, if they are expected to produce a certain amount of work within a day, it’s likely that they will do everything they can to get it done sooner rather than later so that they can enjoy a shorter work day. If, as another example, they need to make a certain number of sales each day, it will encourage them to really push those sales. You need to focus and get your employees to focus on their daily, weekly and monthly targets rather than how many hours they work each day.
Various forms of communications
Working from home or any remote location in a virtual setting means that you don’t have the same face-to-face contact with your fellow employees. Many people underestimate just how important it is for team building to be able to allow you employees to enjoy their coffee or tea together. Discussions can be of a professional or more personal nature depending on what comes to mind. Both are extremely important to create a strong relationship between each team member. Now, just because you aren’t all huddled around the same water cooler, it doesn’t mean that you cannot communicate much in the same way via IM, phone, email and even video conferencing. Make sure that your employees have a few options available to them so that they can always get in touch with each other.
One simple solution when it comes to hosting regular meetings is to do so via telephone or even video conferencing. This is ideal for a meeting once a week or even biweekly. However, that being said, just because you are a proudly virtual company, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice actual face-to-face meetings. Allow everyone to get together on a set day of each month or as often as you feel is necessary. Serviced offices often have meeting rooms that you can use. Choose one in a location that suits everyone and a time that works for everyone too. By meeting up on a regular basis, you will help cement all the relationships and it will give everyone the opportunity to express any issues, causes of concern, suggestions or anything else that they feel should be discussed.
At Vizz Business Centre, for our Virtual Office Clients we offer a hot desk facility, a fully equipped meeting room, storage space, mail sorting, parking, and a range of technical support. For more information call us on 0843 289 7342.