Prep Your El Paso Virtual Office for the Holidays

El Paso virtual officeIf the winter storm doesn’t ruin things, then you might be one of the 43 million Americans traveling this Thanksgiving holiday to spend it with family and friends. Even if you aren’t traveling, you probably don’t intend to work or to spend time in your virtual office and you need to prepare it so that there aren’t any work emergencies or disasters over the weekend. Here’s how to prep your El Paso virtual office for the holidays so that you can enjoy them without worry or interruption.

Get Caught Up with Email

We’re not asking you to reach Inbox Zero, as that’s nearly impossible. We’re also not asking you to unplug for the entire weekend, as that’s a tall order as well. However, you can spend time today, or the time waiting to board the plane, to catch up with email. Not only does this mean that you don’t have to worry about tending to it over the weekend, but since most people are going to be away for the next few days also, you don’t need to worry about responses and getting back to people immediately.

If you’re preparing your email marketing, then it’s best to save the newsletters, the in-depth offers, and the critical thinking content for next week. If you absolutely have to send a marketing email this week, then have it be something shareable and easy to read. Most won’t be checking their email, and those that do are likely to be on the smartphones, so you want to send an email that can easily be read when people are distracted or when they may need a distraction amongst all the other emails in their inbox.

Don’t Forget the Auto Responder!

I actually forgot to do this the last time I was out of town, but make sure you set your auto responder in your email. It helps when clients and/or customers don’t read your previous email about being out-of-town and unable to access email between this date and that date. It also helps if you have any international clients who won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving because it’s not their holiday.

Have a Virtual Receptionist in Place

Even if you don’t have a virtual receptionist for the rest of the year, if you want to devote 100% of your time this weekend to the holiday and to your family, then hiring a virtual receptionist to take any and all calls to your El Paso virtual office is a must-have. A virtual receptionist will ensure that you don’t receive any calls over the weekend (unless it’s an emergency), and this person can take messages for your and have them ready on Monday (or Tuesday). It’s much better than spending 20 minutes listening to voice mails, and you won’t take an phone calls or return any calls over the holiday. It’s also much better than having the phone ring and ring on Friday or on Monday, only to miss out on a sale or another important call.

Schedule Your Social Media Posts

At the very least, schedule a “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Happy Thanksgiv-ukkah” post on Thursday. It’s okay to be festive once in a while, no one is going to hold it against you for talking about something other than company stuff this one time. If you want to be a little more creative or be more engaging, then you can schedule a post or two around pie, turkey, football, or anything else relating to the holiday that also matches your brand.

What else are you doing/have done to prep your virtual office for the weekend? Let us know in the comments! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Related Links:

How to Stay Productive in an Albuquerque Virtual Office

Why Stamford Virtual Offices and Virtual Receptionists Go Together

Getting the Virtual Office Ready for Vacation

How Sioux Falls Virtual Offices Help You to Find Better Candidates

Sioux Falls virtual officesYour company is only as good as the people you hire. What’s hiring got to do with virtual offices? Well, 60% of job candidates rank flexible work arrangements (which can be facilitated by virtual offices) as the top way to impact workplace engagement in a positive manner. In other words, job candidates, and probably your employees, like virtual office options and offering a flexible work option could be enough to get a job candidate to choose your open position over your competitor’s. Here’s how a Sioux Falls virtual office, or any virtual office, can help your company find better candidates for its open positions.

Virtual Offices are Great for Specialized Skillsets

Although many jobs can function with telecommuting, certain types of jobs and skillsets are better suited than others, and are the fastest growing when it comes to virtual office options. A 2011 survey from FlexJobs founds that the following three positions were the fastest-growing telecommuting positions:

  1. Graphic Design
  2. Engineering
  3. Research

Not everyone can work in graphic design or engineering as those fields take a lot of specialized education and training. Because of this, they can be very difficult positions to fill and it may take your company a while to find the right the right graphic designer or engineer. However, if you consider virtual offices and a telecommuting option, then you can not only find better candidates by offering the option but increase your chances of having a great candidate take your job offer. With specialized positions like these, great candidates are likely to receive multiple offers, and your offer gives this person the chance to work from home that might be enough incentive for them to take your offer.

Virtual Offices also Work in Traditional Industries and Categories

It’s a misconception that telecommuting and Sioux Falls virtual offices only work in the technology, social media, and ecommerce industries. According to that same 2011 survey from Flexjobs, the top with the most flexible jobs were:

  1. Medical & Health
  2. Education
  3. Sales
  4. Computer & IT
  5. Administrative

Even though computer & IT is a very tech-savvy industry, almost any company has sales and administrative positions while the medical and education industries are well-established and not going away anytime soon. The point is that virtual offices aren’t reserved for certain industries and they don’t only work for certain types of positions. If you or your organization has been avoiding virtual offices because you believed that they wouldn’t work for your industry, then you may have been losing candidates because they’ve been opting to apply and to work for those in your industry that do offer flexible work options.

Understand How a Virtual Employee is Different from One in the Office

Flexible work options are a great benefit to offer, but if you fail to find the right people to work in this environment, or if you don’t manage the work and the employee in the right way, then simply offering the benefit isn’t going to solve your problem of finding and keeping great candidates. They’ll leave within months of being hired, and you’ll be stuck with the same problems you might have had before offering telecommuting. With virtual offices, one thing that you need to evaluate in candidates (so that you hire the best one) is the ability to handle remote work. This means you need someone who is independent, self-motivated, conscientious, and comfortable working in social isolation; not just someone who has the right work experience or the appropriate degree. Successful hiring and recruiting takes time, and part of that times needs to be spent figuring out what it takes to last in a virtual position.

Overall, virtual offices aren’t a silver bullet to hiring and recruiting problems. But, if they fit with your company culture, with the positions you need to fill, and with the direction you want to take your organization, then considering virtual offices as part of your company and what you offer your employees may not be a bad idea.

Related Links:

How to Find the Best Employees for Your Danbury Virtual Office

5 Quick Tips in Virtual Office Management

Build a Virtual Company with Several Virtual Offices

How to Stay Productive in an Albuquerque Virtual Office

Albuquerque virtual officeGreat! You’re working in a virtual office, or have decided to work in a virtual office. One of the biggest barriers to making this office space solution work is to stay productive as if you were in a regular office or workplace. Fortunately, it’s not all that hard if you know yourself and you know what to do. Here’s how to stay productive in an Albuquerque virtual office, or any virtual office for that matter:

Delegate What You Can

The definition of productivity is the “state or quality of producing something.” Therefore, maximum productivity is always being in the state of producing something, and anything that takes away from production and progress isn’t a good use of time. To ensure that you’re using your time wisely, it’s best to delegate or to outsource what you can. No one can be good at everything, so figure out what you are best at doing (hopefully this includes whatever it is you need to produce), and delegate what doesn’t fall into that category. This is why many virtual offices come with a virtual receptionist solution, so that you have to option to delegate tasks such as scheduling appointments, phone answering, entering data, and processing orders.

Plan the Rest of the Day, or the Next Day

You can decide to do this at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day, but one thing you need to do is plan your day. When you’re in a virtual office, you don’t have anyone else there to remind you to do things, and it’s a lot easier to forget the email reminder or to miss the reminder phone call. You don’t have anyone watching or anyone making sure you do this or that by the end of the day, so it’s on you to make sure that you get things done. Planning your day, or the next day, and prioritizing what needs to be completed can help keep you on track. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

Eliminate Distractions

Although the traditional workplace has distractions of its own, the virtual office is going to present a whole new set of distractions. Perhaps you can now surf social media sites because the Internet at work always blocked them. Maybe email is going to be more important than ever as a way to stay in touch with the office, so it will be more tempting to check it constantly. If you need to block the Internet to get things done, then consider paying for an app called Freedom. For just $10, you can block the Internet whenever you need to. No more trying to be productive while exercising restraint at the same time. With Freedom, you leave yourself “the freedom” to do your work because you have no other choice.

Of course, if turning these things off isn’t s a problem for you, then a good thing to do is to reward yourself once you finish the task. Spend 20 minutes after completing the work to be unproductive, updating your Facebook status and watching a YouTube video or two. Breaks, after all, are also really good for productivity.

Overall, productivity doesn’t have a silver bullet. It’s about knowing yourself and doing what you need to do so that you can do your best work. For some, that means working in the afternoon or in the evening, as everyone isn’t a morning person. For others, that means taking the time to get exercise, as getting the blood pumping and a breathe of fresh air is good for productivity as well as your health. Hopefully, you’ve found something here that can help you to be more productive, or something that you can tailor to fit your work situation.

Related Articles:

How to Run a Meeting

4 Ways CEOs Can Improve Efficiency with a Jacksonville Virtual Office

Time Management Tips for Virtual Office Workers

Why You Need a Top CEO Coach or Peer Group

CEO coachAs Chief Executive Officer, you are expected to know everything, to handle all situations with aplomb and assurance, to lead your company with the confidence that you can do it all, and probably run someone else’s company with the same success. This would include virtual offices, as Marissa Mayer had to handle in the early days of her leadership of Yahoo. To others, it seems like you have the superhuman power to do it all on your own, and you might think that you have to somehow do it all by yourself. However, even CEOs can use a little support and guidance, and that’s where a top CEO coach or a peer group can come in.

You don’t have to do it all on your own, and as a CEO you shouldn’t. If you did, then you’re running something more similar to a regime than a company. A CEO coach or peer group helps you to become your best self, and when you’re the best possible self, you can have the best possible company. Here are four reasons why you need a Top CEO coach and peer group to provide the support and guidance necessary to take you and your business to the next level.

A Good Coach/Peer Group Emphasizes You

As a CEO, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running the business, of making the important decisions and working to solve every crisis that comes up. This makes it difficult to worry about other aspects that affect your job performance, such as your health, your relationships, and your mentality. Sure, you can be professional at work and not let that fight with your spouse get to you, or excuse your poor diet and sleep schedule on the fact that you need to get work done and that you employees need you. That doesn’t mean a sour marriage won’t leak into the business, or that all that fast food won’t affect how your endurance and how your mind works. A good coach or a caring peer group can emphasize those aspects and their importance in running a company well.

Your Coach/Peer Group Doesn’t Work For You

Great! One less person you have to manage and to boss around, but that’s not the best thing about enlisting the help of someone outside your company. The best part about having the outside help of a CEO coach or peer group is that they can offer a fresh perspective on business decisions. Need advice on handling a troublesome employee? You can trust what your coach or peer group has to say, since they don’t know the person and don’t have a conflict of interest. Unsure about a current marketing campaign or on your overall business strategy? Your coach or peer group would not only have the expertise to answer your questions, but they also don’t have to worry about how the decision would impact them. For example,  a marketing manager may want more time on an unsuccessful campaign to prove that it worked because it was his/her idea, when your coach or peer group would not have such a vested interest in the campaign or the decision.

Your Coach/Peer Group Could Help Tackle New Challenges

The point of having a coach or a peer group is because you don’t know all the answers, so it’s helpful to have someone, or a group of people, to help you find those answers. Virtual offices and workers can fall into this category, as it is a phenomenon that’s only become popular in recent years. It’s not a problem that all 20-year veterans in leading companies can answer and handle correctly. However, any other CEO or executive can bring to the table that fresh perspective, knowledge and experiences that you don’t have. That knowledge, expertise, and confidence is vital when you need help taking on new challenges, in finding new solutions to old problems, or even in getting feedback in what you’re doing right and wrong. This feedback can not only help you and your company reach its goals, but can also make clear what you are/aren’t doing, or what you need/don’t need to be doing in order to run your company well and to be the best CEO possible.

Networking Opportunities

This applies more to the peer group than the coach, but both can offer additional networking opportunities. Peer groups often host events of their own, swap events that they’ve heard of, and share events that individual members are hosting themselves. Don’t forget that networking is much more than amassing contacts and hopefully getting a lead or two. It’s also about facilitating relationships that could even up vouching for you and your service down the road.

Overall, CEOs aren’t infallible. They are still regular human beings like their customer and employees, good people who from time to time need a little extra support and guidance. A CEO coach or peer group can do just that, and can probably provide much more than a friend or family member who doesn’t know what it’s like to run a company, or to work in your industry.

5 Public Speaking & Presentation Skills for Chief Executive Officers

presentations virtual officeAs Chief Executive Officer, you are expected to be able to deliver a good speech and to present well in a public setting. This is also true with virtual offices, where meetings and presentations will have to be delivered over the Internet. Fortunately, public speaking is something that can be practiced and improved upon, so you can be confident that you won’t mess things up for the whole organization. Even though a presentation or webinar via teleconference isn’t quite the same as doing one in person, many of the same skills and techniques apply. Here are five public speaking and presentation skills that CEOs should have:

Keeping Gestures Practical (and to a Minimum)

When giving a speech or presentation, it is natural to gesticulate or to use our hands to illustrate our concepts. That’s not a bad thing, but gestures need to be controlled and need to emphasize the point you are making. To do this, it’s best to practice the gestures as you practice your speech. Practicing your gestures means that you know when to gesture, and what gesture to make to emphasize your point, but also means that you know what to do with your hands when you aren’t gesturing. This also ensures the middle ground of gesturing at the right moments without them detracting from what you are saying. It should also be noted that the opposite shouldn’t be done either. Keeping your hands to your side the whole time, or putting them into your pockets (which is worse), only makes you look stiff and unprofessional as a speaker.

No Nervous Ticks!

Everyone gets nervous when they are speaking in public or giving a presentation, but it’s a skill to eliminate those ticks and to not let them get in the way of what you are presenting. Nervous ticks can mean a variety of things, from vocal pauses to tapping the podium, from clicking a pen to shuffling your body or touching your face/hair. It’s okay to be nervous, but you don’t want to be obvious about your nervousness with the audience. When practicing your speech, be mindful of these ticks and make an effort to stop doing them.

Thinking on Your Feet

As a CEO and a respected person in your field or industry, you’ll probably have to answer questions throughout or after your presentation. Although you can take some time to prepare for obvious questions, you do need to be able to think on your feet to answer the unusual or the tough questions. You don’t want to look unintelligent or unprepared when answering a question. Being able to think on your feet will also help you in the rare case that you forget a line or a point in your presentation. Instead of wasting time looking foolish and fishing for words, you can keep right on going without anyone in the audience noticing you made a mistake.

Own the Material

If you’re giving a long speech or presentation, then asking yourself to memorize the entire thing word-for-word is a lot to ask. However, you don’t want to spend the entire time reading off slides, note cards, or pieces of paper. Find the middle ground by owning the material. Know what you are doing to talk about during the speech i.e. the arguments you’re making, the examples, relevant statistics, points of emphasis etc. By owning the material, you’ll appear prepared and polished without losing the audience. By owning the material, you’ll also be able to look extemporaneous and be in the moment to deliver a great speech or presentation.

If you’re going to memorize anything word-for-word, it should be the introduction and the conclusion. Those two parts of the speech are crucial in building audience connection, so it’s the two times during the speech that you want to look audience members in the eye and deliver the message to them personally.

Be Yourself

You want to connect with your audience, and the best way to do that is to be yourself. This is even more critical in a virtual setting, where the audience may only be able to hear you and not see you. There’s no one way you have to appear or to communicate when you give a speech or presentation as a CEO. If you like to entertain people, then include a joke or two. If you’re not a showy person, then you don’t have crack jokes and be over-the-top during your speech. The point of the speech or a presentation is to communicate the ideas that need to be communicated in that event, whether it’s a toast or a sales pitch or a thank you speech. Think about that idea and think about communicating the idea the best you can, rather than who you think you need to be on stage or who you think your audience expects you to be.

Why CEOs Need to Be on Social Media, and 3 Ways to Do It

CEOs social mediaLess than 50 percent of CEOs participate on social media sites.

Ouch.

That one hurts, especially since 81% of employees believe that CEOs who engage in social media are better equipped to lead their companies in the digital world. This is critical since virtual offices are a big part of the digital world, and if you’re utilizing virtual offices in any way, then social media is a must have in staying connected as a CEO. It would seem like an obvious move to use social media as a business tool, but many are missing out on an opportunity to lead in the digital world and to interact with others in a very personal way. Need a little help participating, and participating in a way that markets your company and markets you as the awesome, social-savvy CEO of your company? Then try one of these three ways to engage in social media:

Blog

If you’re company already has a blog (or two, or three), then make it a point to contribute a post every week or two. It shouldn’t be about anything that you or the company is doing, but a post that offers your potential customers the information they are looking for. How great would it be for them if that information came straight from the CEO? You could also write follow ups that covers a topic from the CEO perspective, or maybe discusses what you look for in hiring people, choosing great client, or what you think about your industry as a whole. If you’re feeling really bold, you can start your own CEO blog.

If writing regular blog posts is too much for you, then offer yourself up by allowing one of your marketing people to interview you and then write a post about that interview. Or, you could allow someone from marketing to follow you around for a day and write about that. Being more transparent about who you are as a CEO can also be beneficial to you and the company blog.

Twitter

Okay, of those CEOs who are on social media, half of them are on Twitter. Great! But, if you’re not on Twitter, consider this an easy and spectacular way to participate in social media. You don’t have to come up with a new 140-character saying every few hours, but use Twitter to connect with others, retweet what they are tweeting, or to share what others in your company are tweeting and retweeting. The point of getting on Twitter is to learn what others are talking about, what they are saying about certain topics, and the joining the conversation. With Twitter, you might even connect with customers and clients directly, and be able to answer their questions and learn what they think about your company first hand and in real time.

Hey, if Rupert Murdoch can do it, any CEO can.

Yammer

Yammer, if you don’t know, is essentially the social network you can create for your company. So, instead of your employees using Facebook or Gmail chat to ask each other quick questions (and risk getting distracted by their personal business), they can use Yammer. As CEO, you can use Yammer to connect with your employees, build and maintain an awesome company culture (and one that you’re a part of, and learn how different projects are progressing. It’s a much easier way to keep up with what’s happening in the company, and everyone would agree that a Yammer meeting would beat a normal meeting any day of the week.

Respond to Crises

You know what else hurts? A damaging article or social media post. However, more than 10 percent of organizations will not take any action when a damaging article or social media post is released about them. On top of that, 1/3 of CEOs don’t take social media reputation into account when making business decisions. As a CEO, it isn’t necessarily your responsibility or biggest need to generate leads or to network or to answer customer questions. But, it is your responsibility to be transparent in where reputation control is badly needed, and that’s where these previously mentioned social media tools and presences can help. You and your company can really take control of an online crisis if a blog post can be written in response to the crisis, and that blog post can be shared across Facebook, Twitter etc.

Overall, social media is just another tool in the CEO arsenal, something instrumental in leading a company as well as building the company’s brand and reputation, and building your own brand and reputation as a CEO.

How to Build an Awesome Company Culture as CEO

virtual offices
Fill the rooms with an amazing company culture and work environment!

Whether your company has one virtual office, or is comprised of many virtual offices, When you’re the CEO, you are also a role model as well as a boss. How you spend your time at work, how you make decisions, how you treat your employees, and how you think about your business and business in general, affects company culture because your employees will notice and will emulate or react to your behavior.  If you’re known to be set in your ways and resistant to change, then your company culture could be one of doing things the way they have always been done. If you’re known to take your time with decisions and to consider all possibilities, then employees might take the time to present their perspective well and to consider all the possibilities too. You, as the CEO, means a lot, so here’s how you can build an awesome company culture at your firm:

Set Goals, Priorities, and Values

Without these three things, it’s hard to instill a vision with everyone in the company, to ensure that everyone there is working toward something and adds value by being there. Employees actually care about more than a paycheck and benefits. They want to know what their employer stands for, what their employer is trying to accomplish and they want to know that they are spending their time on something that is worthwhile. Imagine the kind of company culture you would have if everyone shared your vision for the company, and believed in not only what the company was trying to accomplish, but that the company could actually accomplish it and do something great.

Have Rituals to Support Those Goals, Priorities, and Values

When you ask someone from another country about their culture, you’ll hear about that person’s and country’s rituals i.e. how to behave in social situations, how to celebrate holidays, cuisine, language, beliefs etc. Your company culture should be the same way in that it should have rituals that reinforce the goals, priorities and values of the organization. If it’s a company value to be learning and improving all the time, then it should be a ritual to train employees regularly or trade shows and conferences should be evaluated for learning opportunities etc. It’s great to have those three things and to believe in them, but it’s also important to practice what you preach.

Work Environment Makes a Difference

Work environment can mean a lot of things, from the décor to the office space arrangement, from lunch hour to employee relationships. You want your employees to like who they work for, but you also want them to like where they work and who they work with. Anything and everything that can strengthen the latter two will positively enhance company culture.

The point is, make it possible for people to have fun at work, however that needs to be done. No, your employees don’t need to ride around on Razor scooters or need a tree house in the office. But, a fun non-work related event each week or a monthly activity where everyone has to participate can go a long way in building awesome and cohesive company culture.

Think about Who You Hire

People leave a position, or decline a job offer, for a variety of reasons. But, you don’t want to lose a perfectly good hire two weeks in because they simply don’t fit in with the rest of the company. Yet, many organizations fail to consider company culture when hiring and recruiting. For example, if its part of company culture to hang out after work regularly, will someone who can’t do that or doesn’t want to do that feel left out? When hiring, think about how they’ll fit in and what the person could bring to company culture. This is not only good for the company by reducing turnover and keeping talented people on staff, but it’s also good for the employee as he or she feels part of the team and willing to come to work. Also, bad hires hurt company culture by having a more difficult time getting along with everyone else.

Remember that Culture is Created by Default

Whether or not you made a specific effort to build an awesome company culture, remember that there is already company culture there to begin with. You won’t be starting with a blank slate. Therefore, when building an awesome company culture, it’s not necessarily about starting from scratch, but about setting a tone, being dedicated to living out a great company culture, and relaying that message. If you, as CEO, aren’t aware of what kind of culture your company has or aren’t aware on how you affect company culture, then it’s likely you’re just not part of it.

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.

Running a Denver Virtual Office from Anywhere

Denver virtual officeOne of the great things about virtual offices is not only are they located anywhere and everywhere in the world, but that they can be run from anywhere and everywhere in the world too. For example, if you have a Denver virtual office, then you don’t actually have to be in Denver to run it or to conduct business. This makes things a little bit trickier, but it’s possible. Here’s how to run your Denver virtual office, or any virtual office, from anywhere in the world:

Call Forwarding is Essential

This is an obvious one, but it’s not possible to run your virtual office from anywhere without it. First of all, it’s best to have a local number with the same area code as your virtual office. It’s easier to conduct business in the area. Then, through the virtual office provider itself, you can have calls set up to redirect to a cell phone or to a program like Skype. Second of all, part of the benefit of working anywhere and everywhere is that no one has to know. It only needs to seem like your in the office at your desk. As long as you’re able to be productive, to provide quality work, and to handle these calls in a timely manner, it shouldn’t make a difference where you’re working.

Online Presence Management is Huge

What makes running your virtual office from anywhere particularly tricky is that you still need to be generating new business, marketing the company, and making sales. This is tough to do if you’re trying to work from all sorts of places, by rely on traditional marketing techniques such as cold calling, print advertising, and direct mail. Instead, you need to use online marketing techniques and have a killer online presence. This means a user-friendly website with resources and blog posts to keep people engaged and coming back. You need to generate leads from your website through long form content like white papers, tip sheets, eBooks, and phone consultations. If you want to run your virtual office from anywhere, then you need a sales and marketing funnel that can be operated from anywhere as well. Online presence management is what it takes to make that happen.

You Need Virtual Workers You Can Trust

Denver virtual officesUnless you have sole proprietorship and you have a business that you can run on your own, then you will probably need some virtual help in some shape or form. Part of running a virtual office from anywhere is the ability to manage and trust your employees and your help. Everyone isn’t going to be in one place where you can keep an eye on everyone or meet in person to get things done. You have to trust that they will be able to meet deadlines and do their work well. You have to be able to communicate your needs effectively and to use tools to keep track of projects and to keep everyone on the same page. This is getting easier as more and more people work this way, but it won’t be possible to run a virtual office remotely if you can’t manage your team remotely.

Overall, having a virtual office doesn’t just mean that your business can expand easily, or be headquartered from anywhere, or that you are given the option to work from home or work when you want. You don’t even have to be in the same city, state, or country as your virtual office. Running it is just a matter of knowing what you need and how everything works.

Related Links:

How to Choose a Virtual Office Location

Everything You Need to Know about Virtual Offices

How Virtual Offices Impact the Business World

Communication Strategies for the Beverly Hills Virtual Office

Beverly Hills virtual officeWhen 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

Beverly Hills virtual officesCommunication 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.

Related Links:

Build a Virtual Company with Several Virtual Offices

How Virtual Offices Impact the Business World

Time Management Tips for Virtual Office Workers

5 Quick Tips in Virtual Office Management

virtual office managementGetting a virtual office is the easy part. The hard part is virtual office management, keeping tabs on your virtual office company or on your team members that are also working from virtual offices. It’s not the same as managing people in the traditional office, and managing them the wrong way can lead to bigger problems down the road. To help, here are five quick tips to virtual office management to help you get the year started the right way with your team:

  1. Build and Maintain Camaraderie – Just because everyone on your team is working by themselves in different parts of the country doesn’t mean that they have to operate in silos. Take the time to share successes, catch up about the holidays, offer feedback, or just to say, “Hello.” Don’t forget to introduce everyone to everyone else. Not only does it make the team more cohesive, but it also means your team doesn’t have to go through you to get a question answered by someone else or to get their contact info.
  2. Be as Clear and Specific as Possible – Since you and the team can’t see each other, it means that everyone loses out on the facial cues and voice tone that are helpful in communication. Because of this, a joke can be taken out of context or a team member might not know if you’re angry about the project results. Therefore, be specific by explaining that you were disappointed, and would like X, Y, and Z to be improved. Clarity and specificity are especially crucial when it comes to date and time. If team members are in different time zones, then saying that you want something in by 4 p.m. is vague. It’s better to say 4 p.m. EST.
  3. Set Boundaries – With a virtual office, it’s easier to get caught up in the work and end up putting in extra hours, or to be available 24/7. Although that might not be a problem for some, if you still want time to spend with family or to pursue a hobby, or to just not be bothered with work-related stuff, then set a few boundaries. Have an automated email go out at a certain time, explaining that you’ll get to the message in the morning. Or, turn off your Skype, cell phone, and other communication devices and step away from them. Or, simply let you your time know that you aren’t available at certain times, and should avoid bothering you unless it’s an emergency.
  4. Establish Trust – It goes both ways. Obviously, you need to trust your virtual workers to get the job done right and to do it on time, and there are many tools in place to help you do that. However, you need to do what it takes so that your workers trust you as well. Pay them on time. Answer their questions in a timely manner (and actually answer the question and answer accurately) so that they can get the job done. Acknowledge when you’ve made the error instead of blaming someone or something else.
  5. Don’t be Afraid to Hold Your Team Accountable – Virtual office management isn’t always about being the nicest boss or having an easier time at things since you don’t have to talk to people face-to-face. Sometimes, you have to do the tough stuff, like letting someone go, being critical about someone’s work, or making extra sure someone keeps this deadline. Hold your team accountable through progress reports, keeping tabs, or issuing warnings when they start to give too many excuses. If you don’t enforce protocol, then your virtual worker won’t follow them because they’ll think it’s okay to miss deadline or to do something incorrectly. Enforcing protocol and following the rules doesn’t make you a mean manager or a stiff person. It holds you and your team accountable.

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.