Why sweat riding the subway train while wearing layers of corporate wear, when you can accomplish work at the comfort of your own home? With the emergence of the latest technology, most businesses settle with a virtual office to limit office space rentals or daily utility expenses. At the same time, it is equally beneficial for an employee since they get to work on time, without the hassle of daily traffic, and thus incurring minimal expenses. They don’t even have to change from their pajamas.
The concept of setting up a virtual office is a breather for most businesses with limited resources and capital. However, setting up a virtual office involves meticulous selection of software and equipment resources to assure the efficiency of the work done. You will discover all of these and more in this article.
Setting Up Your Virtual Office
Similar to how a regular office operates, devices, software and equipment should be in sync to provide an environment conducive for work. Below is a list of what you will need and some careful considerations in selecting the perfect kind.
- Business Address
Although your virtual office is established online, it is still important to indicate a particular business address for your clients and employees. This manifests the legitimacy of the job and the credibility of the company.
Your workplace, though at home, should still look like a workplace. Purchase ergonomic chairs and desks for your workstation. Use filing cabinets, shelves or boxes to store printed materials away from your work desk.
Bad communication makes a virtual office unsuccessful. A virtual office may sound too accommodating but regulations must be set to avoid miscommunication. Fix a specific timeframe or a deadline that your workers must follow. Provide your employees and yourself constant evaluation to work on improvements and reward accomplishments. Be transparent with business decisions yet make that maintain fair authority.
- Communication Devices
In selecting hardware, you have to choose the ones that will fit your needs but still are cost-efficient.
It is advisable to use a laptop if you need to bring your work on the road. If you choose to work at home, a computer workstation is more advisable for more memory storage.
b. Mobile Phone
Through mobile Internet, you can connect your phone to the Web to accomplish your emails, documents and messages while on-the-go.
c. Fax Machine
Believe it or not, some companies still prefer using fax machines for sending over documents, especially contracts which needs to be sent back and forth for verification and signatures. Get a fax machine so that your clients can send you copies of printed material if their email is not viable for use.
The online market offers competitive software programs to help you in your virtual office needs. Basically, you would need word processors, presentation creators or spreadsheet generators. You can also make calls by means of your computer via Skype or virtual secretary such as Highrise to automatically upload and download files shared on an online drop box. Most importantly, you need reliable virus software to safeguard your files and avoid losing your work.
Without personal contact, the only means of communication is via the Web. Here are a few reminders to ensure you have good connectivity:
a. Cellular Data and Wi-Fi
There are different types of connectivity based on performance. Wi-Fi connectivity is commonly used on hotspots while Cellular Data connectivity is suggested for mobile broadband browsing.
b. Cords and cable placements
Make sure that the cables have good insulation and that they are placed at locations free from water or from any dangers that can destroy the connection.
Best Locations for Your Virtual Office
Allot a space or a room from your home that is free from distractions and with good lighting and ventilation. Imagine an ideal office setup and tweak it based on your personal taste for a comfortable working condition. If you need to work away from home, choose a place with less people, comfortable chairs and quieter scenes.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Virtual Office
Similar to the insights mentioned above, a virtual office basically brings in convenience and comfort at your personal workplace. Furthermore, it encourages good time management as both the employer and the employee can adjust their working schedules as they deem it fit for their lifestyle.
However, some internal conflicts may arise regarding security and productivity. Since file sharing is done virtually, keeping confidential company information is just monitored on an “honesty basis.” Employees are also more prone to distractions such as online games and social networking sites that, most of the time, cause delays in accomplishing the job.
Some external conflicts are also observed which include lack of social interaction and evident isolation. Hopefully, by using technology coupled with a passion for working efficiently, these obstacles can be creatively resolved.