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4 Ways CEOs Can Improve Efficiency in Their Jacksonville Virtual Office

Jacksonville virtual officeEfficiency is defined as, “accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort.” Part of running a company well is thinking about what could be done better, and where you can improve. So, efficiency is very much a part of that, and an efficient company is one that is most capable of profit and success. Therefore, CEOs regularly ought to take the time to assess the efficiency of their organization. Of course, if you don’t want to do this yourself, you can always hire an efficiency consultant. But, if you want to take on the task yourself, here are four ways you can improve the efficiency of your company in your Jacksonville virtual office.

Ask Your Employees What Would Improve Their Efficiency

Sure, you can think about things like ensuring compliance, eliminating barriers, improving access to information etc. Not that you shouldn’t think about those things and consider them as possible solutions, but that you should put a priority on what your employees need to be efficient if you are really committed to improving the efficiency of your company. Ensuring compliance may be great, but if your employees want faster Internet speeds and a software upgrade, then do the latter. If a few employees need extra help, get them the help they need or look at individual job responsibilities to see if you could move a few people around. If you’re making changes without the input of your employees, then you could risk making changes that don’t actually improve your efficiency.

Emphasize Efficiency over Billable Hours

If your company currently earns its revenue from billable hours, then you might be emphasizing inefficiency without intending to do so. With billable hours, efficiency can work against you and employees, and even encourage employees to take more time than necessary to finish projects just so they can earn more money. Making the switch from billable hours to retainer fees or one-time prices is a big overhaul, and would take time to implement, but the move would reward efficiency and would make it clearer to clients what they are paying for. This is perhaps the toughest way a CEO could improve efficiency, but it could be one that sets your company apart from the competition.

Take an Honest Look at Operations

There could be things that you’ve been doing for years that have worked, and that have helped to take your company to the next level, but really aren’t that efficient. For example, in the early stages of your business, it might not have been a problem to work with a new client in a way that the client sees fit, or to figure out how to move along as you move along. But, as a more successful company that’s bringing on many more new clients at a much faster rate, the “figure it out as you go approach” might not be as efficient as a standard onboarding process. Especially if you’ve grown substantially over recent months, an honest look at operations could improve your efficiency and better position you company to sustain that growth or to grow.

Another honest approach to operations is to outsource the tasks your company is weakest as completing, or to outsource tasks that your employees don’t necessarily need to do. If you’re one marketing person can’t do everything that needs to be done, or is maybe really good at certain types of marketing, consider outsourcing what that person can’t do. If your employees need help with data entry, filing, or doing research, then outsource those tasks so your employees can focus on more important duties and deadlines.

Look at the Results, Not the Hours

Working long hours and coming in on the weekends has become a badge of honor, productivity and commitment, but is it really efficient? This is a crucial question since many more positions in the workplace are skills-based, instead of based on meeting a certain quota or making a certain number or products. In this type of workplace, you need people who can do job well and quickly, judging job performance on progress and results.

So, how do increase efficiency without wasting time and ensuring your employees get everything done between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.? An excellent way to start is to limit meetings. Stop having them, especially if matters can be settled over email or over the phone. Avoid attending them, and if you absolutely must be there, make it a point to stay for a certain amount of time and then attend to other things. If you do need to have a meeting, keep it to 60 minutes at the most, and make an effort to plan for it in advanced, such as creating an agenda and passing it out at least one day before the meeting. Usually meetings beyond 60 minutes in length are unproductive and decrease efficiency.

Allow Employees to Telecommute with Virtual Offices!

virtual officesTwo-thirds of Americans want to telecommute, according to a survey taken earlier this year by remote support and online meeting software provider TeamViewer. With so many working Americans wanting the option of working from home, or at least working from somewhere other than the cubicle, you’d think that more companies would be offering the option. After all, technology is making it easier to do so, and there are more options for telecommuters than just the home office (virtual offices, coffee shops, coworking spaces etc.) So, why isn’t your company doing this? Why are you making them waste time and energy and resources going to and from the office, stressing them about arriving on time and getting everything done before the kids go to bed?

Why Allow Employees to Telecommute with Virtual Offices?

Because it actually works! According to a different TeamViewer survey on telecommuting (this one from earlier this month), those who telecommute experience a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • Improved work/life balance – 53%
  • Lower stress and better health – 51%
  • Ability to complete household chores (e.g., laundry) while working – 50%
  • No involvement in office gossip – 37%
  • Ability to be near children during the daytime – 25%

Interestingly, the biggest benefit of all was saving money on gas and having no daily commute, which said by a whopping 80% of those surveyed. Those sound like great things to have in your workers, especially since many companies don’t offer daycare services and are asking their employees to work longer hours or to do more because of reduced staffing. Does it really matter where they do it, or even when they do it, as long as it gets done well and on time?

What People are Willing to Sacrifice

Of course, something as great as telecommuting shouldn’t come without a compromise or a sacrifice, and that’s exactly what Americans are willing to do. According to the survey, here’s what folks said would be willing to give up in order to telecommute:

  • Social media – 34%
  • Texting – 30%
  • Chocolate – 29%
  • Smartphone – 25%
  • Shopping – 20%
  • A salary increase – 17% – Not bad when considering that those who telecommute are less likely to get promoted
  • Half of their vacation days – 15%

Therefore, companies can rattle off all the reasons they want to keep people working in the office (meetings need to be in person, we want to keep an eye on people, we don’t want people to start slacking off, we can’t afford it etc.). However, this is something that workers, probably your workers want, and it’s also something that could make them better and more loyal worker as well. Headhunters and recruiters are always on the prowl for great talent, and if that great talent has a choice between a company that has telecommuting and one that, it’s an obvious choice. There’s also no need to fret about losing productivity as according to the most recent TeamViewer survey, 73% of telecommuters are more productive or much more productive.

Setting Them Up with the Virtual Office

Granted, not everyone has a spare room to use a home office, and not everyone wants to work at the coffee shop. Even if they did have a spare room, it does cost some money to set them up with the right tools. Make all that easier on your employees and your bottom line by using virtual offices. Virtual offices come with everything necessary to do work outside of the office, without having to risk company reputation to clients or complaints from employees who don’t have the necessary tools. Virtual offices could save you more money than you realize, as if you have employees telecommuting and using virtual offices, then you don’t have to spend so much on the headquarters and on the office tools and supplies needed to keep everything going. So, why not allow employees to telecommute? It sounds like a win-win for everyone.

5 Questions You Should Ask a Virtual Office Company

woman in virtual meeting sitting in her kitchenGreat! You’ve decided that a virtual office is the thing for you! Now that you’ve made this decision, the next one to make is choosing the virtual office company. In major cities, there could be several companies to choose from. To help narrow your options and, ultimately, make a decision, here are five questions you should ask a virtual office company:

  1. Do you have other locations? – This is a critical question to ask if you are a travelling professional and would like somewhere to work at in the cities to which you travel to most often. By figuring out if your virtual office company has locations in those places, you may be able to use their services in those with little or no additional cost. This would save you the trouble of having to pay for additional offices, or finding somewhere to work at a coffee shop or a hotel business center.
  2. What’s your conference room policy? – Some virtual office companies may include use of the conference room in their virtual office services, while others may still charge extra by the hour. If you’re planning on using the conference room often, you may want to opt for a firm that offers the conference room as part of their services instead of as an hourly fee. Most companies, however, require that you book conference rooms ahead to time, whether or not you have to pay extra for that time.
  3. Do you offer a virtual assistant? – Virtual office companies also differ in how they provide a live receptionist. Some may only provide one upon request, while others come with the receptionist. In most instances, you would have to train the live receptionist in how you want your calls to be handled. However, that may not be necessary if just want someone to forward calls to you directly or to take messages when you are away.
  4. Would I be able to get a day office? – Typically, a virtual office only gives you mail forwarding and the professional business address. It’s a great option if you work from home. But, if you also want the option of another productive place to work, then it would be important to ask the virtual office company if you could drop in to the building for a day or for a few days a week/month. Some may have the space for it and be completely okay with you doing that. Others may ask you to book your time in advanced. Some may not allow that option for their virtual office services.
  5. How does your mail forwarding work? – Just about every virtual office company will have mail management services in some shape or form. With most virtual offices, mail forwarding is included. But, what if there’s a time you don’t want the mail forwarded? Who signs for the package when it comes in? Will you have to come in and pick up your mail from time to time? Those are things that need to be thought about when choosing a virtual office company. You’d hate to lose a check or an important bill because someone was careless.

There are probably many more questions that someone considering a virtual office ought to ask a virtual office company. What do you think? Did we cover all the important stuff, or did we miss something? Tell us in the comment section below!