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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Maximising productivity in a virtual office: Business owners’ tip sheet

Advantages of telecommuting and virtual offices
Effective communication is essential for virtual offices
By Sarah Miller

In the past, when you wanted to start your own business venture, you had to invest a massive amount of time and money toward an office space and recruitment. Today, more and more companies are proving, with their success, that there are other viable routes that prospective business owners can take — from outsourcing to a virtual office. Business owners located in Northhampton and other areas should know that the key here is knowing what tools are readily available to them and how to effectively use them to maximise efficiency and productivity.

Here are some productivity hacks that consultants, online retailers and other business owners who work from a virtual office (with staff members spread out to different corners of the globe) can try.

Conduct meetings regularly

Just because you're on one side of the globe and your employees are on the other side, does not mean that you can forgo meetings. There are various online tools that you can use to hold meetings. Brief them on changes in your policies. Check on the progress of a project. Or simply ask them about their well-being, especially in the aftermath of a natural calamity in their location. The bottom line is that even if you and your workers are operating in a virtual realm, communication is still important. However, do be mindful of the fact that meetings can distract your employees and, as such, it is advisable to conduct meetings at the start of the workday.

Use chat with individual members, and email for the whole team

If you need to relay something important to one team member, use an instant messenger rather than an email. This way, you and your employee can talk in real time and eliminate communication problems. On the other hand, emails are best suited for communicating with the whole team. Again, do be mindful that constant chatting can be quite distracting, so use it judiciously.

Foster collaboration with document-sharing tools

When you and your team members need to work on documents or projects concurrently, ditch the email. Emails can dampen productivity as team members may need more time to browse through past messages. Instead, use document-sharing tools which are available for free or for a low price. This allows team members to access the documents they need. Do make sure that important members are given access and that the folders are structured in a logical and convenient manner.

Establish legitimacy

Nobody wants to deal with a shady organisation. If you want to establish legitimacy for your organisation, invest in an office number where potential customers can reach you. In lieu of a conventional landline, you can use a VoIP or online number. Should you need to meet up with clients, you can book a virtual office or meeting room.

About the author: Sarah Miller is a business consultant and a content creator. She has been exposed to the different aspects and faces of businesses. She frequently does research on useful information regarding the different methods and techniques to further improve business sales. She visits sites like http://www.theoffice-uk.co.uk/ to boost her know-how about the industry. 

Image: Author owned and licensed