Some businesses have always been run through a virtual organization system, but we’ve certainly seen a dramatic increase this year due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Business owners and employees are working from home, and they may be spread across the same city or even across different continents.
It goes without saying that while there’s plenty of overlap in how you set up your business. Whether it’s in-office or virtual, there are some key organizational differences to keep in mind when you’re working on an exclusively virtual and remote basis.
In this post, we’re going to look at how you can organize your virtual business to be primed for success with remote work, allowing you long-term flexibility even after the pandemic has ended.
Why It’s Essential to Keep Your Virtual Business Organized
Setting up your business so that it can truly be a virtual business (even if you plan to have everyone in-office at some point) is only an advantage. It gives you flexibility so that people can work from home if needed– even if only on occasion– and you can even move offices or expand quickly as needed.
Virtual businesses can scale quickly when you have the right organization structures in place that allow your team to access the tools, resources, and information they need regardless of location. Without that, your team will become frazzled and may even be unable to complete essential tasks.
If your entire phone system is hardwired into your office and you’re relying on complicated call-forwarding technology that lacks the proper features needed for a virtual business, for example, your team will likely be unable to handle the incoming call volume. Calls will be missed, and clients could be lost.
5 Tips to Keep Your Virtual Business Organized
Whether you’re looking to start a new virtual business from scratch or reoptimize the business you have now to allow for remote work, these 5 tips will help you set up your business for success.
1. Switch to Cloud-Based Software & Storage Solutions
Cloud-based systems are going to be your virtual business’s best friend. They store data on remote servers that you can access with a simple internet connection. They’re also highly secure, so as long as your team is using strong passwords, you can feel confident that your business’s and customer’s data will be safe.
Cloud-based software solutions are available for almost every business need you could have, including the following:
- Employee scheduling and payroll software
- Invoicing software
- Financial tracking software
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Communications tools, including online help desks for your customers
- Inventory management software
- Contract signing and storing software
These tools scale well long-term, and they’re essential to virtual organization. They allow your staff to do whatever they need to no matter where they are.
2. Use Digital Project Management Tools
If even part of your team is working remotely, digital project management tools are practically mandatory. Even if your entire team was in the office, frankly, digital management tools are still exceptionally useful.
Project management tools like Trello, Asana, and some parts of Microsoft Teams can help you lay out all of the detailed aspects of each project that you’re working on. You can create checklists to track it’s progress, assigning specific team members to each task as necessary.
A content marketing team, for example, might have individual “cards” with each blog post topic, which then have information about the assigned writer, target keywords, and other essential strategy information. There’s a checklist for tasks like outline approval, draft submission, editing, and publishing.
With these tools, all the information for a project can be found in one place, and everyone is on the exact same page of what’s expected of them and when.
3. Set Up Virtual Business Phone Systems
Phone systems are something that plenty of businesses forget about when making the transition to virtual or remote work until it presents itself as a massive headache.
Virtual businesses don’t work well with conventional landline systems that require in-office hardware. These aren’t remote friendly, and the call-forwarding can be complicated.
Virtual phone lines like Tresta, however, are remote-friendly at their core. You can create as many lines as you need to without purchasing additional hardware, because these phone lines work through an app on an existing mobile device. Your team can set up call routing and navigation menus with just a few clicks, and everything can be accessed through your mobile app and web dashboard– no trips to the office needed.
4. Choose Virtual-Friendly Internal Communication Software
Internal communication software that’s remote-friendly and entirely virtual is a good way to go. You can’t exactly stop by someone’s desk if they’re not in the same building, after all, social distancing or not.
Internal communication software that’s instantaneous, reliable, and easy to follow will be a game-changer here. Look for tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack that allow you to set up conversation threads, tag relevant team members, share files, and more.
Tresta’s virtual business phone system offers texting for when you need to grab a coworker’s attention quickly or respond to a fast question.
5. Publish Clear Policies About Work Hours & Procedures
Organizing a virtual business isn’t just about physical organization; it also includes setting up your team for success with not only software, but clear policies and procedures so that they can work remotely effectively and confidently.
If you expect your team to all be online by 10AM for department calls, let them know. Have procedures in place for when an email will suffice or when you should skip right to a phone call.
Remote work (even if that just means having some employees working remotely part-time, or workers in different offices working in separate locations from each other) isn’t going anywhere. Approximately 30% of workers were remote at least part-time before COVID, and it’s estimated as many as 48% may stay that way following COVID.
Optimizing your team and organization for virtual business practices can only offer more flexibility, security, and scalability long-term. That alone makes it worth investing in.