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
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
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.
1st and featured image from https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/711×473/https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/5e6a7edf12322f00078bce9f/960×0.jpg?fit=scale
2nd image from https://www.smartcompany.com.au/people-human-resources/remote-work/tips-run-successful-virtual-office/