Tips for Companies Preparing for a Permanent Virtual Office

Permanent Virtual Office

When this pandemic started, the only way for people to stay safe is by social distancing. Offices are closed spaces with poor ventilation. Staying in the same area along with dozens of other employees is a recipe for a disaster. Therefore, companies had no choice but to cease operations. Virtual offices immediately became the norm. 

At first, everyone had a difficult time adjusting. Working away from other people wasn’t easy. Conducting meetings online was also not the best option. Eventually, though, more people became used to the process. As such, more companies decided that a permanent virtual office could be the way to go.

There are also benefits from not having everyone in the same place. There’s no need to rent an office space, and it saves tons of money. Setting up a virtual office might still be pricey, but it’s way lower than renting an office space. Companies also have an option to cut the wages of employees decided to move out of the expensive city to live elsewhere. Since online offices won’t require employees to stay within the same location, they can find a city where the cost of living is a lot cheaper. If you’re thinking about moving in this direction, these are some useful tips to consider. 

Inform the employees about the plan 

Inform the employees about the plan

You can’t unilaterally decide to move to a virtual office for good. You also have to consider what your employees think. Not everyone will feel comfortable with this setup. There are also some benefits in being in the same place for work. They might also suggest alternatives such as a blended office setup. Regardless, it helps to inform your employees first and give them a seat on the table.

Streamline communication channels

The biggest challenge when setting up an online office is communication. Sure, it’s possible to use Zoom and other modern platforms to have a meeting. The problem is that not everyone is responsive. It also takes time to teach everyone how to use these tools, especially the older employees. It helps to streamline the communication channels first and allow everyone to practice using them. If there are updates along the way, employees should have the chance to learn. Emphasize the need to remain professional when communicating online and stay responsive during office hours. 

Clarify job descriptions and schedules

Some job descriptions might change because of the new set up. Some employees will have more responsibilities, while others won’t. Everyone should be aware about these changes. It should be clear to every employee what the responsibilities would be once the virtual office becomes permanent. Another problem with working online is that there’s no clear schedule. Some people even worry about spending more time working, or being asked to work beyond their regular schedule. If you want to employees to stay responsible and avoid complaining about the changes, you have to be clear about them.

Create a new employee handbook

Some of the previous guidelines might no longer apply due to the different setup. For instance, you need to be more flexible about when employees begin and stop working. You also have to be more lenient with absences. Even the previous dress code no longer applies since everyone works remotely. Think about all the applicable changes and inform everyone about them. Again, the key is to be clear about what the employees need to do.

Hopefully, your plans will be successful and operations will proceed as usual.

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