Tips for Managing Your Virtual Office
You’ve got employees working from home offices in three cities and it’s a seamless experience for your clients and prospects. You've got a single 800 number answered by a virtual receptionist and routed to each employee’s extension. You've got a single, prominent business address in your “headquarters” city.
That takes care of the externals. But what about the internal organization? Running a virtual office means more than having the right technology. You also need the right systems in place to manage your virtual employees. Here are some time-tested tactics for virtual office management:
1. Build – and Maintain – Camaraderie
How in the virtual world do you build, much less maintain, camaraderie with your virtual team? Social media networks have come to the rescue in that regard in many ways. Of course, we also live in a world of Instant Messaging, video chat, e-mail and, of course, the good old fashioned telephone. Use these communications tools to brainstorm with your virtual team, share successes, offer feedback and just say “hello.”
2. Trust Goes Both Ways
Out of sight doesn’t have to mean out of mind. You can put tools in place to measure the productivity of your virtual employees. But trust goes both ways. In a virtual office setup, your employees also want to know they can trust you. Be sure to pay your virtual employees on time, and consider a bonus when they achieve a significant milestone.
3. Open Door Policy
Just because you are working on a virtual office model doesn’t mean you can’t still have an open door policy. Managing virtual teams successfully means being available for your employees when they need to discuss a challenge at hand. Keeping an open door policy, albeit via video conferencing or the telephone, is vital.
Finally, a little public recognition goes a long way. If someone on your virtual team does a great job, send an e-mail to the whole team congratulating that team member. Your virtual office employees will appreciate the fact that they have an appreciative boss.