Are you thinking about reducing your costs and increasing your pool of potential employees by going virtual?
As we’ve discussed before, employees working remotely can be happier and more productive.
But what about you? How can you keep your virtual office running smoothly and efficiently?
How to manage a virtual office
- Test the waters. If you’re transitioning from employees working in the office to employees working remotely, try it out first. Perhaps you can have everyone on a trial period, or rotate your employees’ remote schedules. You might find out there are kinks to work out, or maybe even that your office needs to put remote working on the back burner for now.
- Set your expectations. Working remotely involves a lot of trust. Make sure your employees know what’s expected of them as far as scheduling, meetings, reporting back to you, deadlines, and outcomes. And let them know what they can expect from you, too. Will you always be available if they need help? How will they get in touch with you? How can they communicate with each other?
- Trust in your team. A huge part of running a virtual office is trusting that your team is working, and delivering on time. You can’t stroll by and chat with them like in a traditional office. Of course, you should be monitoring their overall progress and how they get there, but don’t make checking their social media and constantly asking for updates a regular part of your day.
- Hold regular meetings. With a virtual team, communication is more important than ever. For both your sake and the sake of your employees, hold meetings as often as makes sense. You can either have a big weekly check-in via Skype, one-on-one meetings as needed, or some combination of the two. Go over milestones, goals, deadlines, and any issues anyone’s been experiencing.
- Be flexible and understanding. Employees working remotely are like home-based entrepreneurs in some ways. While they may not be able to organize their schedules as freely as a home-based entrepreneur, they do have some of the same benefits of working from home. You may need to be a little flexible if an employee wants to schedule a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, or understanding if you call and your employee’s out walking the dog. Of course, your employee should be taking the same considerations of his and her deadlines and schedule as in a traditional office.
Check out our blog post for more tips on managing a virtual workforce.
Do you have a virtual office? What tips and words of wisdom would you share?