When you have a virtual office or a series of virtual offices, one of toughest aspects to managing all of that is the communication. Sure, you have more options for staying in touch and its easier to stay in touch because you can do it from anywhere. However, this doesn’t mean that these communication strategies are more productive or the best way to do things with your company or your employees. Determining the best communication strategies for you will depend on the type of company you have, who you work with, and even where your virtual office is located. Here, we’re going to go over the best communication strategies for the Beverly Hills virtual office:
Understanding the Tools You Have
Yes, most business professionals know about email, text messaging, Skype, social media, online chat etc. They know that they exist and that they work. However, part of understanding what tools you have is knowing what’s out there as well as what’s best for which type of communication. For example, if several people are coordinating on a project, then email might not be the best form of communication. With email, revisions and latest versions can get mixed up, creating unnecessary hassle. For this, it might be better to use a project management tool like Basecamp or Zoho. These handle the messaging of email while having features to make tracking the progress of the project and keeping everyone on the same page much easier.
Another example is with meetings and conference calls. There are a variety of tools there, such as Google+ hangouts, GotoMeeting, and Skype. Google+ might be great if you need a low-cost version, or if your call is going to involve a lot of people, or if it’s vital that everyone sees everyone’s face. GotoMeeting is better suited for smaller parties, and maybe for more formal calls.
Don’t Forget Outgoing Communication
Communication strategies aren’t just about keeping everything together within the company. It’s also about how you communicate with clients and market your company. It’s crucial that in your communication strategies that you are transparent about being a virtual office (which is particularly important for lawyers). Running several virtual offices in several different cities may make it easier to expand and to give remote employees a place to work, but that setup is very different from saying that you are a national company with offices all across the country. This shouldn’t be done especially if you don’t serve a national client base.
Keep Tabs without Overdoing It
When running a virtual company or having a virtual team, it’s crucial that you hire employees that you can trust and that you can manage these people without breathing down their necks all the time. Yet, if you don’t hold them accountable enough, then work isn’t going to get done on time and/or as well as possible. This is where tools like email, social media, and online chatting can come in. There are urgent enough communication methods that you should elicit responses, but it isn’t the same as daily phone calls or text messaging, which can get annoying. Also using project management tools, like the ones previously mentioned, might help in seeing what everyone is doing without having to ask questions directly everyday or every other day.
Communications strategies for virtual offices aren’t too different from the way they need to be now in the current business world, but they aren’t exactly the same. Sure, everyone is on the go and isn’t necessarily working from the office all the time, but with virtual offices there isn’t an office to go to and to hold people accountable through a direct conversation. It’s also about using the right technology in the right way.