Is your small business ready for virtual workers?

With the super-fast internet speeds that many of us enjoy, and the rise of free collaborative software like Skype and Google Docs, working remotely is easier than ever.

In fact, a new survey by oDesk suggests it might actually be good for business! It surveyed “digital nomads” – people who try “to live life as an adventure and take work with them as they go.” The survey showed that out of these digital nomads, who were less tied to a physical workplace, 79% felt they were more productive.

Digital nomads tend to self-identify as adventure-lovers and travelers, but that doesn’t mean that working virtually isn’t a possibility for everyday people. Not only can setting up a virtual office mean you get employees who are happier and more productive – it can save you money on overhead costs.

Here are some tips for a successful virtual office:

  • Start small. If you run a small office, consider letting employees telecommute one day a week to test the waters.
  • Make a plan for how you will operate the day-to-day business, including overseeing employees’ work.
  • Get familiar with the different rules and regulations you may need to comply with, including zoning by-laws and tax regulations.
  • Look for self-motivated, responsible employees with great communication skills who are good at working independently. Sounds like a lot, but they do exist!
  • Establish regular “touch base” sessions, whether it be a weekly group Skype call or a one-on-one phone chat with each employee.
  • Make sure you, and all your employees, have up-to-date computer operating systems and technology that’ll let you work collaborate and communicate. Some popular choices include Skype, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Evernote.

Check out our handy list of personal productivity tips to help keep yourself and your employees on track – no matter where you are.

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