It used to be that virtual working was an unusual perk offered by hipster startups or a sheer necessity for global teams. But today? The pandemic has pushed a large portion of employees to remote working.
I have always loved the scalability gained from a virtual workforce, and I always intended to move the Officeheads team to remote status once we outgrew our physical office footprint. The pandemic just brought the decision into reality much sooner than I had expected!
Small business owners are finding decentralized teams to have their own pros and cons. Employees may love the flexibility of working from home, but teams may find communication to be less effective on shared projects. Finding ways for employees to deliver the same level of productivity in a new environment isn’t impossible, as long as leadership guides the way into a new normal.
As I’ve considered this shift to virtual working—and experienced it as a business owner myself—a few key factors make this a positive transition for small businesses across the board.
#1 THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Key to continued productivity is making sure your team has the right equipment. Each employee needs the same equipment at home that they used in-house. We’re talking about the computer equipment to perform work (such as software and security programs) as well as virtual meeting equipment to stay connected to the team (such as headsets, cameras, and lights).
For many small businesses, equipping your employees to work remotely will be an investment. But these expenses will directly contribute to the team’s productivity and ability to work together as closely as possible even though no one is in the same physical location. When the Officeheads team moved to a virtual workplace, I immediately shifted budget dollars to invest in quality cameras and headsets so that my team would have the best virtual meetings possible in this time of great flux. The decision affirmed to my employees the investment I was making in their work and what they contributed to the work as a whole. Even though we miss our in-office interactions, we are finding new ways to build our team connectedness, and much of that is dependent upon the equipment.
#2 A STRONG NETWORK
In addition to needing the right equipment, a strong network is essential. The last thing you want is for your network to crash when all your employees are depending on it to keep their work on track!
I decided to boost the Officeheads network security and to upgrade to the highest Windows Virtual Desktop available. Although the previous network was suitable, I wanted the peace of mind that such an upgrade gave me, especially during an upheaval like this one.
#3 A NEW FINANCIAL FILTER
A final factor that has helped our team find virtual workplace success relates to adjusting some financial goals and values to fit our new normal. Although productivity and connectedness can be enhanced and maintained with the right equipment and a strong network, a virtual workforce still introduces new financial considerations.
For example, you may need to adjust your expectations for billable hours as your team learns new work rhythms. Whereas in-house it was clear which tasks were not billable, that may not be the case now that everyone is remote. For our team, I reduced our goal for billable hours from 85% to 80%. The social distancing requirements have severely reduced our personal interactions. For the sake of morale and mental health, I wanted my team to know that a percentage of their day would be well spent building relationships with each other. An added perk? As my team grows stronger relationally, they work better together, which means our client relationships are growing stronger too.
Switching to a virtual workplace isn’t easy because it requires change. Leaders like you can make the transition easier by listening well, investing in a setup that enables each team member to thrive, and keeping everyone connected—both literally and figuratively! As you lead your team in this new normal, Officeheads is here to help. Officeheads provides fearless financial management to ensure your company is financially healthy—even in times of unexpected transition and change. Contact us today to see how we can make your financial engine roar!