Virtual teams present special challenges, primarily because they are so geographically dispersed. Because you never meet face to face, out must rely on technology to get your workers trained. Remote workers in the form of IT specialists or personal assistants are great ways to save money or assemble teams with unique skills, but they require some special handling to keep them focused on their assigned tasks. Here you will find 8 ways to boost virtual office productivity so you get your money’s worth.
- Set your expectations early: You need to make sure you discuss your communication methods and how often you must get updates. Be specific concerning the outputs you want to see and when you must see them. By setting the standard early you can develop a better relationship and also have a framework by which you can provide evaluations and take corrective action if necessary.
- Route tasks effectively: A thorough knowledge of your virtual workers’ skill will help you route work properly. Virtual workers all have different specialties, so make sure that you delegate appropriate work to each person. This will help your virtual workers be more productive and you will get the results you need.
- Get an address: Your virtual office can include physical space services that have a real address with a real receptionist to sign for packages and provide notary and other services. Space services give you the ability to maintain a prestigious address without the overhead associated with the high rent district. With a virtual address you don’t have to worry that anyone will find out that you do most of your work in your pyjamas.
- Use software tools: Training and planning can be done with online project management tools such as the online BaseCamp subscription service. With online tools you can stipulate that all work be documented and you and your team can pick up and move on should one of your virtual workers quit unexpectedly.
- Trust, not fear should characterize your relations with virtual workers: As with any employee or contractor you take a risk, although you never get to see most of your virtual team. You also should recognize that your virtual team may have never seen you either, so they have a lot at stake too. Rather than trying to keep your team members on a short leash, let them go about their work and while you go about yours. Most of the time your worries will prove to be unfounded.
- Start smart: With a lot of deadlines looming you may feel pressured to assign a lot of work to new virtual workers. Realize that they have to get used to you and the way your organization works just as much as a physical employee would have to do. Start small with simple tasks while your team learns the ropes and gradually allow them to develop into the productivity engine you need them to be for your business to succeed.
- Get some legal advice: If you are new to virtual work environments, take some time and money to get competent legal advice. You want to form relationships that don’t leave you vulnerable to legal action should one of your virtual workers become unhappy.
- Be culturally savvy: If you have foreign workers on your virtual team, take some time to learn about their cultural nuances and practices. Be aware of their holidays and work routines and be careful not to unintentionally insult or offend them. Everyone must have respect for each other in order for the global workforce to succeed.
- Provide support: Virtual workers will have concerns from time to time that you need to address promptly to keep them productive. Pay issues are probably near the top of the list with workflow issues being close by. If your workers need online or other tools to get their work done, go ahead and support them by getting them what they need. If you’re willing to work to accommodate them, they will be more likely to accommodate you.
- Respect: To have a productive virtual office, you must show your workers respect. Take the lead in this area and be patient while your workers adjust to you and their virtual surroundings. After you’ve been fair and respectful with them for a few weeks, demand respect in return (if you haven’t received it yet). The virtual office is just like a physical office: everyone must get along in order to accomplish the mission.
Chart your course to success with these 10 ways to boost virtual office productivity. You will you’re your experience with this modern workforce to be fun, exciting, and profitable.
John Brook is a regular contributor to other blogs where he posts about improving productivity. He works at OfficeKitten.co.uk where he writes about presentation supplies and office supplies.