Give Them Roots and Wings
In a virtual office, your employees will be completely responsible for their own motivation and productivity. Of course you will still be able to monitor them by communicating through Skype, instant messaging and good old-fashioned phone conversations, but before you plunge them into this situation you need to prepare them with gradual entry. Consider allowing your employees one or two days a week to work from home. These practice runs enable them to adapt to working without constant supervision, not to mention it help you identify which of your employees will be able to adjust, and who will need a little more help.
Get It Down to a Science
Running a virtual office means utilizing technologies that both you and your company may be unfamiliar with. Before abandoning your security net and closing your home office for good, be sure that everyone knows how to operate the new systems that will be in place. Be sure to hold a series of seminars on topics such as webinars, video conferencing or file sharing applications, and ensure that every last one of you knows exactly how to operate the new technology. Setting your employees loose without a deep understanding of such essential technologies will only result in frustration and a drop in productivity. The last thing you want to face is a string of frantic emails from confused employees.
No Clock Watchers, Please!
Major corporations worldwide have already adopted the “Results Only Work Environment” (ROWE) recently pioneered by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler. Operating on the premise that employees will be happier and more productive if they are trusted to work at their own pace with a minimum of supervision, a ROWE company rewards project completion and not the number of hours worked. Many who implement this philosophy find productivity increases and also benefits the general morale in the workplace. By adopting this method when you switch to a virtual office, your employees will enjoy flexibility in terms of hours and reduced stress, which in the end can make the transition smoother for everyone involved.
Many people dream of Working from home, but the reality is it can be more difficult than office labor, causing many people to admit defeat and willingly take up their desk chains once again. However, the benefits of running a virtual office make it worthwhile. You may find it difficult to keep yourself and your employees motivated initially, but when you take into account the money and time everyone will save, it is certainly worth a few weeks of struggle.