Office organization is an incredibly important skill in the business world but what if there’s no actual office (at least not in the physical sense)? By the year 2020, it’s expected that about 50 percent of people in the U.S. will be working from home (at least part-time), which means that this question becomes more and more important every day. Instead of looking towards ergonomics (in a way), you need to rely on trends, tools and organizational tricks. Nonetheless, with enough effort, research and careful planning, it’s definitely possible to make your virtual workplace more efficient.
1. Regularly engage with your employees and co-workers
First of all, the physical distance between you and the people you work with/people who work for you might make it harder for a personal relationship to develop between parties. The problem lies in the fact that these relationships play a key role in motivation and even loyalty. In order to overcome this problem, you need to regularly engage with these people in a virtual environment.
Don’t wait to address them only when you need something from them. Ask them how their day has been, share a joke or a funny video with them. This will not only help bring you closer but also keep your morale high. Still, take this slow and make sure that you know what you’re doing at all times. Fraternizing in the workplace has a negative side as well, and just because you aren’t in an actual office, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be accused of playing favorites.
2. Using specialized software
The biggest advantage of working in the digital workplace is the fact that there are so many specialized tools that can make your life so much easier. For instance, you can handle your storage room more efficiently with an inventory software. You can download a scheduling software in order to set all the deadlines and update your corporate calendars. Even with tasks as specialized as social media crisis management, you can find a suitable software for the job. This kind of tool specialization saves time, increases efficiency and gives optimal end results.
3. Cloud computing drastically boosts efficiency
One thing that you need to understand is the fact that working in the cloud seems to be an ever-growing trend in the present-day business world. This is especially the case when it comes to working in a virtual workplace. In fact, there are so many advantages of going for enterprise cloud computing, that every entrepreneur needs to take this into consideration. The costs are lower, 24/7 availability is easier to achieve and automated updates on software are a huge plus. Not to mention the hidden perk of reducing your carbon footprint, which makes your business a somewhat eco-friendlier enterprise.
4. Collaboration tool is your office
The next thing you need to understand is the fact that the collaboration tool that you use, in a way, plays as much of a role as a choice of an office. Think about it, this will be a place (albeit a virtual one), where you and your team spend hours and hours. The commenting system, to-do lists, file-sharing and similar other processes differ from one tool to another. Keep in mind that each of these tasks represents something that every person using this platform will repeat countless times. In other words, when making a choice of which collaboration to use, you’re facing a much bigger issue than you may now realize.
5. The best of both worlds
Sometimes, just because you can work without an office, it doesn’t mean that you should do it. After all, there are various ways in which having an actual office benefits your business. With the idea of shared office space, you can have the best of both worlds. Moreover, this can save you a small fortune, provided that only a small fraction of your team, or you alone, show interest in working from home. Having more options is always a positive thing. Sure, there are some downsides, as well, like distractions (caused by other people), lack of customization options and the potential proximity to competitors.
6. Monitor your employees
Trust is an important issue in the business world but it’s also something that needs to be earned. As an employer, it will be much easier for you to recognize who the hard-working members of your team are in person. That is unless you install an employee monitoring software to help you figure this out. This would be efficient in an actual office as well, seeing as how it’s naïve to assume that an employee is working just because they’re looking at the screen. On the other hand, in the virtual environment, it’s your only choice. The problem is, however, the fact that some fields of work don’t require continuous labor, especially if it’s creative work that’s in question.
The efficiency of your virtual workplace needs to become a top priority for both entrepreneurs and telecommuters. You see, just because you finally have a chance to work/run a business without leaving your home doesn’t mean that you can actually pull it off. In order to prove that you can do it, you need to make your own system, most commonly, with the help of the above listed six trends.