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Creating a Virtual Office Policy for Your Small Business

NEW YORK—The federal government has taken up the cause of telecommuting, and in the process online magazines like FederalDaily are offering some strategic resources for developing policies around telecommuting and virtual offices.

I recently read an article in the FederalDaily called “5 steps to a successful virtual office policy.” You can read the entire article here, but I’ve summarized what I feel are the key points below for corporations moving toward alternative workplace strategies and entrepreneurs building a virtual workforce.

1. Define your policy. You first have to determine what a virtual office is. There are many definitions. So make it clear what that means to you before you write out any formal policy, and even include it in the policy.

2. Define a virtual worker. In the FederalDaily article, the author discusses three times of telework: full-time, part-time and situational. I suppose the same classifications hold true in companies of all sizes that embrace telecommuting. Some virtual office users, for example, may only turn to these technologies while on the road while others may employ flextime.

3. Detail equipment requirements. Technology is part and parcel of virtual offices. The FederalDaily article puts it this way: “A lapse or delay in communication due to a technology breakdown could result in a manger wondering why his or her employee isn’t responding, which could plant doubts about that employee’s ability to telework.” Enough said.

4. Develop security policies and training. Since mobile technologies and virtual offices go hand in hand, you need to address mobile security, virtual office technologies security and perhaps even conduct some training around passwords, how to deal with stolen laptops, etc.

5. Formalize governance. In other words, enforce the policy. And don’t just write the policy once and for all. Be sure to review it because, after all, virtual office technologies are changing.

Virtual Office Holiday Parties En Vogue

NEW YORK-So you work in a virtual office … so how do you attend office parties? That’s what CNBC.com staff writer Cindy Perman wants to know—and she got me a little curious, too.

Perman asks the pointed question, “The Virtual Office Holiday Party—How Does That Work, Exactly?” She looks at the trend toward companies taking their office holiday party online, whether for financial or geographic reasons—or simply out of convenience.

In her article, Perman offers some answers: “First, you have to pick a time and date and invite a list of guests, just as you would for a regular party. And, while parties can and do take on a life of their own, it’s important for the organizers to have some sort of itinerary to keep the festivities moving.”

The article goes on to offer examples of gift exchanges that were planned in advance, a virtual whiteboard where folks share their holiday traditions along with live chat with explanations, cash gifts instead of food and drinks, and so on. Be sure to read Perman’s article for more ideas.

But you may have some ideas of your own. If your company has implemented alternative workplace strategies, if you have a distributed workforce with mobile workers and telecommuters who work from virtual offices, there’s no doubt that you’ve faced this issue of the virtual office party.

Sure, if your employees all live in the same city, you could go to a restaurant or rent a meeting room. But then the virtual office party is no longer virtual, is it. So, tell me … have you organized or attended a virtual office party? How did that work for you?

Alternative Workplace Strategies Gaining Ground

ATLANTA-Commercial real estate strategies are shifting. Alternative workplace strategies are the buzzwords moving forward. Telecommuting, virtual offices, workshifting, the mobile workforce. All of these elements are colliding in a perfect storm—and it’s changing the ways corporations use commercial real estate.

"Companies are focusing on two things: employee satisfaction, and productivity and teaming. They are increasingly looking at their office space to help them attract and retain the best talent," Co-Star reports James B. King, principal of AREA Advisor, as saying.

King also pointed to salesforce.com as a futuristic company, calling it one of the most successful cloud-based computing firms today. He also used Microsoft, one of the largest companies in the world, and Google, one of the most innovative companies in the world, as examples.

“It's all about empowering sales people to connect with customers digitally, but it wants its employees in the office at least two days a week, because it's a new company and it's still building its culture,” King says.

“Microsoft's policy to get the best talent wherever they may be around the world. They have no problem with people working remotely, even teleworking from different countries. Google has a very different philosophy. It believes you never can tell when that next spark of genius will occur, that's why they want you there with your colleagues in the Googleplex, even riding on their buses there and back."

What is your company’s philosophy? Do you believe in flex time? Telecommuting from virtual offices? Working remotely from coworking facilities? Alternative workplace strategies come in all shapes and sizes. Davinci Virtual Office Solutions can help you tailor virtual office solutions for the specific needs of your entrepreneurial organization.


Davinci Virtual, Rockefeller Group Make Exclusive Virtual Office Offer

MANHATTAN—We got the hook up! When you want to associate your business with the Rockefellers in Manhattan, call us and we’ll set you up with our latest exclusive virtual office innovation.

We just announced a new virtual office club in New York City at Rockefeller Group Business Center's 1221 Avenue of the Americas location in Manhattan.

If you are a mobile professional, listen up. Our Virtual Office Club gives you a white hot business address in Midtown Manhattan and a workspace with all the high-tech bells and whistles an entrepreneur like you needs.

"Davinci Virtual Office Solutions is very excited to work with the Rockefeller Group on an exclusive basis,” says Bill Grodnik, CEO of Davinci Virtual. “Combining Davinci's marketing power with Rockefeller Group's high touch business space operations creates a great solution for mobile professionals.”

Davinci Virtual is already the leading provider of turnkey virtual communications and virtual office solutions. We can hook you up with everything from local and toll-free telephone and fax numbers to digital voicemail and electronic fax to email and unified messaging to voice and video conferencing to, well, the list goes on and on.

Our new partner, Rockefeller Business Centers, offers furnished private offices and concierge-quality business support. You can rely on their support staff and the Manhattan location has plenty of amenities.

With all this in mind, Grodnik asks a pointed question: Where else can you lease a prime New York business address including unlimited use of a fully equipped workspace for $95 per month?

“We are in exciting times, offering superior virtual office solutions for a global market place," says Grodnik. Stay tuned for more exciting news from Davinci Virtual in 2012!

Check out this video on Rockefeller Group Business Centers: