A brick-and-mortar office is becoming as ancient as it sounds. Companies across every field are turning to running virtual offices and managing telecommuters. A virtual office saves employers money, and employees generally love the freedom of working from home.
Unless you own a business like a restaurant or a medical office, you probably have no need for an actual physical office.
With a virtual office, you have the flexibility of working from almost anywhere on a shoe-string budget. And if you hire the right team of telecommuters, your office can run as smoothly as if you were all sitting in the same building.
Here are five tips for running a successful virtual office and managing telecommuters, according to CIO:
- Keep all team members in close communication. You should develop an open line of communication with all team members so they can communicate directly with each other. This way some telecommuters won't feel left out and everyone has a forum to bring their ideas.
- Have Defined Goals. There is nothing worse for telecommuters than an unorganized manager. Every telecommuter should have clear, defined goals so they know what they have to accomplish each day. As a manager, it is your job to convey these definite goals to each team member.
- Establish Performance Standards. Along with having defined goals, you should have defined measures for success. If your employee is in sales, then having a dollar amount could be a performance standard. If you are in manufacturing, then having a quota for amount produced.
- Nip Problems in the Bud. It's easy to overlook minor problems when an employee is telecommuting. After all, when managing telecommuters, it may be simpler to fix the mistake yourself. But if you make this a habit, pretty soon your employees will develop a lot of bad habits, and it may be too far along to easily fix the issue.
- Celebrate Milestones. Just as a brick-and-mortar office would celebrate the achievement of certain milestones, a virtual office can do the same as well. For example, you can give out bonuses or simply write a personal message to the employee who did the good job.
Managing telecommuters in a virtual office requires different skills than managing employees in a traditional office. Keep these tips in mind, and you will have a head-start in creating a successful virtual office.
- Does Your Business Need a Telecommuting Policy? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Telecommuting Policies (FindLaw)
- Telecommuting Guidelines for Reasonable Workplace Accommodations (FindLaw)