Do you know how I like to spend a day at the office?
Sipping on a cappuccino at a favorite coffee shop. Preferably, one that’s located sea-side with a view. Or cuddling with my cats, wrapped in blankets, being productive and cozy, while drinking ever more coffee.
Sound dreamy? It sure is.
Sometimes I can do this because I want to, other times I do this because I need to.
And the good news is: working remotely doesn’t come with the constraints you might imagine. The vital person-to-person interactions that keep many businesses alive and thriving are still possible from the comfort of…well, wherever.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of going virtual.
What is a virtual office?
Remember the days of being shackled to a desk by landline and typewriter?
But, what I do remember, is the need to report to the same location to be able to successfully collaborate with my team, and accomplish 90% of my work.
Times have changed.
Now, in all of its on-the-go, work-from-wherever glory, the virtual office is the modern-day business solution to traditional bricks and mortar. According to Wikipedia, a virtual office is:
“The operational domain of any business or organization whose workforce includes a significant proportion of workers using technology to perform their work at home.”
In other words, a virtual office primarily exists in cyberspace i.e., without a designated physical location. Employees can work from virtually (heh) anywhere with an internet connection.
What do I stand to gain with a virtual office?
In addition to your freedom, there are financial gains to be made from going virtual.
The overhead of buying, leasing, and maintaining a physical location can be a daunting expense for many businesses. The virtual office frees up more capital to reinvest in your company.
Then, there’s the flexibility factor. You and your team can work where and when you work best, which translates to less stress, better work, and happier employees.
How much happier? 82% of telecommuters have reported lower stress levels than when traveling to an office. This, coupled with reduced turnover and the ability to broaden your talent pool outside of your geographic location (get the cream of the crop!), puts the virtual office in a favorable light.
So what about accountability?
Working remotely requires a particular mindset. You need go-get-’em employees who are motivated and self-directed.
That said, virtual works! In a study by SurePayroll, 86% of respondents say they hit maximum productivity when working alone. Their managers agreed; two-thirds reported workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts.
Not to mention, the promise of working how you want can be a powerful motivator. Equip yourself with the proper tools, and checking in with your team is easy-peasy.
How do I manage a virtual office?
If you’re using productivity or project management apps in your business, you’re already halfway there. These apps will become the lifeblood of your new virtual office.
Video conferencing tools like Zoom make an online meeting super simple. Collaboration tools like Slack offer a space for individuals and whole teams to interact. The faces, voices, and input of your team are always a click away.
Besides the human factor, project management tools like TeamWork, Asana, Trello, or Basecamp keep everyone on the same page, even if they’re on different points of the map.
Look to sites or apps like Harvest or TimeCamp to generate activity reports and invoices from one location.
If there’s a function you aren’t managing online yet, there’s an app for that. Do some online research, ask around, capitalize on free trials, and get yourself equipped with the right technology mix.
Can virtual receptionists help my virtual office?
Just as there are tools that replace inter-work communication and project management, Ruby is there to help replace the loss of an in-office receptionist.
“But what about our customers? Won’t it be weird for them to engage with us? How do they call us without a desk phone?”
So glad you asked. Let’s talk customer contact.
In addition to video conferencing tools like Skype and Zoom, there are offices you can rent by the hour when you need a place outside of your home office that’s not buzzing with espresso machines.
When it comes to appearing less piecemeal and more official, relying on a virtual receptionist and online chat services can be your best business move.
Our virtual receptionist services + live chat service + your virtual office = Virtual Love.
We are in the business of representing over 10,000 companies—virtually. From our offices (yes, we have physical locations for quality assurance), we establish relationships and a professional appearance for over 10,000 companies nationwide.
So, I suppose you could say it takes one to know one.
How Ruby solves the need for a live receptionist:
- Present a professional, seamless front. Your callers will likely assume that Ruby’s receptionists work right in your office. We answer the way you want us to, with our highly customizable service designed to fit the unique needs of your business. From 24/7 live call-answering and transferring, taking messaging, making outbound calls, scheduling and more, you receive all of the skills you’d want from an in-house receptionist, without actually hiring one.
- One number to rule them all. Still, taking business calls on your personal cell phone? We can help with that. Whether you’re a one-human show or a team of ten, having one central number for your customers to call eliminates potential confusion between both you and your customers, as well as between you and your teammates. Port your local number over to Ruby (or we can give you one), and we’ll handle the rest. You’ll be able to make calls (and text!) on your business number from your cell phone. Same convenience, more privacy, better customer experience!
- Live chat for your bottom line. We also have a live chat solution for meeting your customers (and prospects) where they are, 24/7. This means that you don’t have to expend your important labor and time on tasks like constantly monitoring the chatbox on your website; you can rest assured we’re on it. People can interact with your business on their terms, while you continue to work on yours.
- Keep it human. You could opt for phone trees and chat-bots, but there is nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to press “0” until their thumb falls off or meeting a dead-end with a chatbot incapable of answering their nuanced questions. Create a customer service experience that makes you and your business feel accessible to your clients, no matter where you might actually be!
Ruby’s Live Receptionist Services
Whether you’re looking for a better way to run your business or simply needing a little extra wiggle room in how you work, going virtual is probably a lot more viable than you would have expected.
Where would YOU and your business go if there wasn’t an office-located desk holding you back?