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Davinci Virtual Blog

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S NEW WITH DAVINCI

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Why Coworking Operators Should Monetize Virtual Office Addresses

Although coworking spaces started off by being open-plan shared workspaces, coworking has grown and evolved since its early days back in 2008. 

In response to market demands and needs, coworking spaces now offer private offices, dedicated desks, hot-desking options, meeting rooms, and specialized services and amenities. Yet, there is one key service that coworking operators have failed to embrace: virtual offices. Offering virtual offices can prove to be a smart and strategic business decision for coworking operators. 

Coworking spaces tend to be located in coveted locations and operators should leverage their address and existing infrastructure to provide virtual office services to workspace members and non members alike in order to increase their revenue and grow their business. 

Most people and companies use virtual offices as a means to establish a presence in a new market or in the hopes of portraying a more professional image. More often than not, these people already have offices or work from home, which means that they won’t be using your physical workspace. That’s where the name “virtual” office comes from; people pay to use an address, not to use a desk or meeting room (although some virtual office “packages” do include a limited amount of time to use a desk or meeting room). 

It’s an easy way coworking operators can increase their revenue, as they won’t need to add any infrastructure or undergo any sort of workplace renovation or design; which means the added service will come at little or no cost at all. An additional benefit, other than revenue generation, is that virtual office users could easily become full time coworking members, especially if the person using the service tends to work from home. In other words, you are generating high-quality traffic for your space, as you can know for sure that these people are interested in the types of solutions you offer. 

So, to answer the question: why should you monetize virtual offices? It’s a great opportunity to increase your revenue, operate at a profit, and find new, qualified potential members of your space. You already have the infrastructure in place: you have a location, you have the people, and you have the necessary technology needed to run this type of operation. All that is left to do is for you to take advantage of it and monetize it successfully. 

Let Davinci assist you with your Virtual Office needs, or your Coworking needs. 

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8 Ways a Live Virtual Receptionist Will Make Your Office More Efficient

Davinci Virtual Live Receptionist services will help your business thrive in today's fast-paced work environement. Give yourself the freedom and time to do the things you need to, and we'll take care of the rest! Click here to learn more! 

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25 Important Tips to Manage a Productive Virtual Team

While some organizations are swimming against the tide driven by today’s digital age and adhere to the belief that employees—and contractors—must be based in the same office, the majority are jettisoning the traditional workplace structure in favor of virtual teams. Not only can organizations recruit and retain top-quality workers quicker and easier, but they also perform better. Additionally, a virtual team is more agile, able to respond to new business opportunities faster than peer teams shackled to a physical office space.

Yet, without the right processes and technologies in place, virtual teams can run up against obstacles that result in failed projects, diminished efficiencies, and even team infighting. Having managed virtual teams stretching across multiple states, continents, and oceans, I compiled a list of tips that can help ensure that your virtual teams collaborate effectively and deliver optimal results:

ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND THE WORKDAY

1) Employee Job Descriptions.

For remote employees, it is important to write job descriptions that clearly delineate roles and responsibilities that includes aspects specific to remote work (e.g., work hours, use of technologies, etc.). Having these in place helps prevent misunderstandings and failures to execute.

2) Tasks and Goals.

Virtual teams accomplish more when they have specific tasks and goals. These should be established for the team in general as well as each individual member. 

3) Diversity of Skills.

Every member of a team has strengths and weaknesses and great—or lesser—levels of experience in certain skill areas. Thus, it is important to build a virtual team with members who possess a diversity of skillsets and experience.

4) RACI/DACI.

Just like their on-site counterparts, virtual teams often struggle to when it comes to roles specific to projects and programs. Here, a RACI (responsible, approver, contributor, informed) model (or DACI—decision-maker, approver, contributor, informed) can help teams to stay focus and avoid situations where individual members assume responsibilities delegated to others (e.g., someone who is a contributor but acts as an approver).

5) Flexibility but Consistency.

Workers today seek out companies that provide them with flexibility and work-life balance. Expecting your workers—whether on site or remote—to abide by the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday is akin to sticking your head in the sand and hoping for a reversal of the digital era (admittedly, there are some organizations who still adhere to the eight-hour workday “caboose”). 

MEETINGS

6) Regular Meetings.

While regular, consistent meetings—whether staff or project teams—are important for any team, they are even more important for virtual teams that don’t have the face-to-face advantages of on-site teams. These facilitate communications and collaboration and serve as checkpoints. 

7) Video Conferencing.

A great video conferencing service is a must for any virtual team. The underlying technology must allow for participants to share their screens, conduct real-time chat, offer dial-in numbers for multiple locations and countries, and provide any number of other capabilities such as recording and integration with calendaring. 

8) Rented Meeting Rooms.

Sometimes a portion or the entire virtual team needs to be onsite, and this is where rented meeting rooms such as Davinci Meeting Rooms play a critical role. In these instances, organizations aren’t bound by a location but rather can pick a location that works best for the larger team and moreover a meeting room that accommodates their business requirements.

9) Leadership Roles.

The most effective teams share leadership responsibilities—whether managing regular meetings or taking the role in presenting status or findings in broader meetings. This empowers team members to assume greater responsibilities while giving the opportunities to develop skills in new areas.

10) Meeting Accoutrements.

When your team or a portion of your virtual team attends an on-site meeting, it is important to have the accoutrements needed to ensure a productive meeting. These include everything from web conferencing services, online booking, flexibility in booking (by the hour or day), lobby greeter, wireless Internet, and projectors and LCD monitors, and more. 

COMMUNICATIONS

11) Chat.

While too many chat messages can become overwhelming to team members, it’s important to ensure you have in place chat platform that makes it easy for team members to collaborate in virtual real time. There are any number of great chat platforms such as Slack, Skype, and HipChat, among others.

12) Manage Communications.

Team members can become overburdened with too many email and chat messages. To help avoid these situations from happening, have your desktop/helpdesk team work train team members on ways to configure their email folders and chat platforms that enable them to flag high priority messages and to catalog them in different folders. 

13) Video Chat.

Depending on the project or issue at hand and moreover the culture of the virtual team, sometimes video chat is needed. Not every issue or project task can be resolved via text only, which lacks the visual cues of video chat. The upside is that most of the most prevalent chat programs also have video options.

14) Calendar Sharing.

Having a calendaring solution that enables virtual teams to see each other’s calendars and to schedule meetings accordingly can be a huge time saver. No one has time to schedule meetings by manually confirming availability between each of your team members.

15) Time-Zone Differences.

Develop an overlapping schedule for team members in different time zones that enables all team members to be online at the same time during a portion of the workday.

ADMINISTRATIVE, CUSTOMER SERVICE, AND SALES SUPPORT

16) Virtual Assistants.

Much has been written about virtual assistants—or chatbots—in recent years. Inbound phone calls can be a huge distraction and productivity drain. With virtual assistants such as Davinci Auto Receptionist services, virtual teams can remain focused on executing tasks and projects while allowing the virtual assistant to intelligently route incoming calls to the right team member and moreover identifying those that need human interaction versus automatic routing. 

17) Live Receptionists.

When incoming calls cannot be handled by a virtual assistant, live human assistance is needed. The latter is always required in the case of the latter. What some organizations are realizing is that they can tap live receptionists such as Davinci Live Receptionists to answer customer service and sales emails and calls. This enables them to remain focused on initiatives tied to business execution.

18) Live Web Chat.

Many of your incoming customer service and sales calls need to be routed through voice. Not only do your customers prefer digital engagement, but it is cheaper and more efficient for you. Here, you can leverage a third-party live web chat provider such as Davinci Live Web Chat services that can offload upwards of 30% or more of your incoming calls and emails.

19) Integration.

While each of these technologies are critical enablers, they can become huge detractors if they aren’t integrated. Customers expect seamlessly portability between each engagement channel. Thus, it is critical that you seek out digital engagement solutions that are integrated and allow customers to move from live web chat, to voice, to email, to text as if they are using the same engagement tool and talking to the same customer or sales representative. 

MANAGEMENT

20) Project Management System.

Anyone who thinks that a project management is overkill is kidding themselves. Project management technology tools give each virtual team member with insight into each other’s work, request and give approvals on tasks and projects, share ideas and files, and update individual team members or the entire team on status changes.

21) Document Collaboration.

As often is the case, most virtual teams share and edit documents. Whether part of a project management system or a shared document management system such as Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox, virtual teams need a centralized solution that enables them to view and edit documents simultaneously.

22) Measure Outputs.

Measuring the productivity of your virtual team is important. Here, you need to have a solid understanding of what matters to the business and what key performance indicators (KPIs) should be tied to those initiatives. These metrics should be tracked and reported to be meaningful.

23) Hiring.

Not everyone is made to excel as a remote worker. When hiring for positions where workers will work part- to full-time from a remote location, you need to ensure they succeed—from a workspace environment and characteristics (and sometimes experience) to thrive in a virtual team setting.

24) Pay.

If the only reason you’re hiring workers remotely is because you want to pay them less, then you need to take a step back and evaluate your business case. While workers are willing to take less pay in exchange to work from their home offices, they also expect to be compensated fairly and recognized for their efforts.

25) Mixed Teams.

Not everyone on the team may be virtual, and in these instances, it is important to ensure that both those who are on site and those who are remote share common goals, measurements, and opportunities. You can quickly demoralize your virtual team members if they are treated differently than those who are on site.

 

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How Virtual Offices Are Helping Lawyers & Providing Them a Competitive Edge: 20 Use Cases

Solopreneur attorneys and small legal firms face myriad challenges. A recent study by Rocket Matter identifies 10 top challenges:

1. Acquisition of new clients
2. Clients who want more for less and pressure for reduced rates
3. Too much time managing administrative tasks
4. Need to control costs and growth in expenses
5. Difficulty dealing with increased complexity of technology
6. Succession planning (for those firms with numerous attorneys)
7. Information overload from growing document volume 
8. Lack of internal efficiencies
9. Keeping up with the increased pace of legal and regulatory change
10. Staying abreast of changes in the legal market

 

Virtual offices may not solve every one of the above issues, but they can certainly help attorneys to address many of them. So, what are virtual offices? They are professional coworking spaces, day offices, and conference rooms that can be rented on-demand. In the case of solopreneur attorneys and small laws, virtual offices provide them with great alternative to permanent office space; one that is better—from cost, to efficiency, to professionalism. 

For solopreneur attorneys and small legal firms seeking to leverage virtual offices, the following are 20 ways that can help ensure you get full value from them:

1. Dump the permanent physical office space.

The days when professional services firms require a physical permanent storefront from which to run their businesses are in the past. Permanent office space is expensive and often doesn’t exude the professional accoutrements you want to convey. 

2. Get office addresses in sought-after locations.

Virtual office addresses like Davinci Virtual Offices offer attorneys the ability to secure addresses in sought-after locations without the cost of a permanent office. Here, solopreneur attorneys and small legal firms have the ability look and act like much law firms.

3. Seamlessly scale up and down.

Permanent physical offices lock you into long-term contracts and a finite office space. Unused space is wasted money, whereas you cannot scale beyond the walls of the office in the case that your case load skyrockets and you require more staff than your office will accommodate. Neither of these scenarios apply to virtual offices, as you can easily scale up and down as needed. 

4. List in the lobby directory.

Virtual office addresses not only give you a great office address, but they also provide you with a lobby directory listing—further bolstering your credibility and stature as a legal firm.

5. Incorporate and get a registered agent.

A physical mailing address and location, which virtual addresses give you, afford solopreneur attorneys and small legal firms the ability to register as an incorporated business. Hanging out your “attorney shingle” has never been easier with virtual office addresses.

6. Always having a physical office option.

Not every employee is cut out to work outside of a traditional office environment. In addition, sometimes it is simply impossible to work from home—from noisy neighbors, disruptive pets, and visits from friends and family. In these instances, coworking spaces or day offices offer a great alternative. 

7. Facilitate collaboration and trust.

For virtual teams, it is important to foster a level of collaboration and trust between different members. Having the right conferencing and collaborative technologies in place is an important starting point. For team meetings, virtual conference rooms give you a professional location, including administrative and technological services, that make your meetings immensely more productive and successful.

8. Communicate.

Communications for virtual teams are vital. Coworking spaces and day offices provide them with a chance to interact in-person on assigned “office” workdays. And virtual conferences rooms with the right conferencing and collaboration technology tools ensure that attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff who are offsite can communicate and collaborate with other team members as if they were there in person.

9. Leverage a lobby greeter.

Lobby greeters in virtual offices afford solopreneurs and organizations with professionals, helping them to look and act like and compete with much larger organizations. 

10. Achieve worry-free lobby arrivals.

Lobby greeters can answer questions for visiting guests and make sure they are treated professionally in the waiting area (from restrooms to coffee and refreshments) while you or your staff is in other meetings. Thus, rather than worrying about the logistics of greeting incoming partners, customers, and other third parties, you can focus on finishing your preceding meetings.

11. Forward mail.

In case you have multiple virtual office locations, are frequently traveling, or aren’t in one location regularly, you can leverage mail forwarding services attached to your virtual addresses to ensure that your mail reaches you regardless of your location.

12. Recruit and hire hard-to-find (and retain staff).

A permanent physical office location necessitates that some staff spend valuable time commuting to and from work. However, growing numbers of workers seek the flexibility to work from home or work locations closer to their home. Virtual offices enable to offer them this flexibility, making it easier for you to find, hire, and retain highly skilled staff.

13. Meet clients and others.

When meeting with clients, you require a location that conveys professionalism as well as provides a setting that ensure confidentiality and privacy. Hotel conference rooms are expensive, costing an average of more than twice a virtual office, and simply don’t provide your client or the third party you’re interviewing the level of professionalism you want to convey. Further, many clients and third parties are busy and unable to commute long distances—something virtual offices ameliorate. 

14. Take dispositions.

Taking dispositions is a serious legal matter, and this necessitates a setting that is professional and quiet and one that ensure privacy. This eliminates coffee shops and cafes. And as noted, hotel conference rooms are expensive and lack the professionalism you need to convey. For legal activities like dispositions and other interviews, a virtual day office or conference room is the perfect setting.

15. Create policies and procedures.

For virtual teams, it is important to document policies and procedures for your distributed work environment. 

16. Use collaboration tools.

As a virtual team is on the go and not always in the same location, you should employ project management and collaboration technologies such as Slack, Yammer, Skype, etc. that ensure your team can communicate and collaborate in real time.

17. Leverage meeting room technologies.

Whether internal meetings or meetings with third parties, modern technologies are required—from high-speed Internet, to LCD projectors and plasma screens, to video conferencing, to others.

18. Rely on business services.

Not every virtual office comes with business service options. Having these are your disposal—copying, printing, secretarial services, faxing, mailing, and shipping—is often critical, enabling you to focus on your clients.

19. Use catering.

In some cases, working through breakfast, lunch, or dinner is necessitated. Virtual offices that offer catering options enable you to focus on clients and your legal teams.

20. Turn to live receptionists.

For solopreneur attorneys and small legal firms, having your calls go directly to your phone or those of your team distracts from serving clients and drains productivity. Live receptionists such as Davinci Live Receptionists give you the ability to answer and screen incoming calls from clients and other third parties and to source them to the appropriate members of your team.

 

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How A Virtual Office Creates A Professional Corporate Image

Virtual offices have been around for a long time, providing services and products that are valuable for all types of businesses and professionals. Even though the business world has changed over the past three decades, virtual offices remain as relevant today as they were back then, if not more relevant overall. 

In a global economy, companies need to have a presence in each and every market they are present, and they need to present a professional image at all times. Virtual offices are helping companies and professionals around the globe accomplish these two objectives by providing two key components: access to a local, premium address and access to a local phone number. 

Local and Premium Address

The first thing any potential consumer or client does before making a business decision is look up a company online. Having a local address where that person is conducting a search will give you credibility and establish an immediate connection with that person. But more importantly, virtual office addresses are in Type A buildings and locations, which means that individuals are likely to recognize the address and associate it with a sense of professionalism and success. If you combine the local factor with the premium factor, that person is more likely to keep looking into you and consider you for business. 

Local Phone Number

There is nothing worse for a potential client or consumer than finding out that they can’t reach or contact you because you don’t have a local number. Virtual offices are able to provide for local numbers though different products: live answering, receptionist services, or VoIP numbers. Either way, if a person looks you or your company up and wish to contact you, not only will they be provided with a phone number that they are actually able to dial, but they will be greeted by a professional when the line is picked up. Instead of a grumbled “hello” that might sound far away from bad signal or because it’s a long-distance call, therefore discrediting your image, individuals will hear a clear professional greeting or voice mail. 

These are only two of the various elements that virtual offices provide and help create a professional corporate image. Virtual offices also offer mail handling and forwarding services, they offer actual meeting and office space that you can use to meet with clients whenever you need, and they are also equipped with cutting edge technology that can help you power your business. 

So, regardless of whether you are seeking to enter into a new market or whether you are just starting your business, Davinci Virtual Offices can help you not only establish, but also maintain a professional image as you and your business grow.

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