Remote office and regular office are two different stories altogether. With all its benefits, a virtual office has a lot of uncertainty around it. Since everything is handled remotely, many special things are to be considered. Security of data should be your number one concern. The second should be the software you need to use for your virtual office.
You can’t use the tools and software that you use in your physical office. Remote teams need to be handled differently than in regular offices. To face these challenges, you need special software. These tools ensure that your team is working according to the best of their ability producing good results.
A virtual office gives you many benefits including an affordable workspace, a registered business address, call answering, and mail forwarding services to name a few. It gives you many office services without worrying about maintaining them. You don’t have to pay the utility bills or hire maintenance staff. But the most refreshing thing about the virtual office is the vast variety of talent pools you can hire. You are now restricted by location to hire people to work for you. Fixated to one location makes you lose many talented people. But working remotely opens new horizons for you. You can hire people from around the world to be a part of your team.
But like mentioned before, to reap the fruits you need the proper tools. There are hundreds of software available offering traditional office elements. Some are more popular than others because of their functionality and ease of use. The software you use should be compatible with your system as well. The OS you and your employees use should support the software you select. Secondly, the software should ensure the security of data transfer and online collaboration among the employees.
Why your virtual office needs software:
Before jumping the gun, you need to know why you need them in the first place. Only then you will be able to pick a good one that can gel into your system. Following are the reasons why you and your team need this software to work remotely:
- Remote teams don’t get to work alongside each other. There is no face-to-face communication among them but their work requires them to be constantly in touch with each other. Virtual office software lets them do that easily. You can have conferences and seminars using them as well.
- Time management and attendance are very important especially for project managers and team leaders. Management is all the more difficult when done remotely. Virtual office software can make the accountability of employee’s easier and time management less difficult.
- File sharing and collaboration between employees from different time zones are also very important functions that virtual office software can help you with. These programs provide secure ways to share files and schedule meetings.
- Another problem that remote office employees face is the lack of a definitive boundary between work life and personal life. They are either over-working or working lesser than the required hours. Virtual office software can help you with that as well. Reminders and instant messaging software can help your employee’s clock in and clock out at the proper time.
What kinds of different virtual software do you need?
Every virtual office needs a set of different software to manage and run different office activities. Different categories of software that you will need for your virtual office are:
- Project management software helps you track project progress and keeps you on your toes about meeting deadlines.
- Productivity management software will time tracker and reporting to help you manage remote workers.
- Instant messaging is a handy tool for instant feedback between you and your teammates.
- Face-to-face communication is a must for the whole team to work together, video conferencing software can help you with that.
- If your team needs to work on something together in real-time, team collaboration software should be a part of your virtual office.
- Your virtual office will have important data to store and share. Centralized data storage is a better strategy for this and for that you need cloud storage software.
- Online or cyber security should be on the top of the list. The online environment is prone to all types of intruders. Making your work environment safe is of utmost importance to keep your company data and employee personal data safe.
5 top software you need for your virtual office:
The following software should be a part of every virtual office. These are popularly used in many offices and institutions.
Tandem is a virtual desktop app that is used for team collaboration. You can see what other team members are working on. You can share screens and apps to get feedback. Users can make audio and video calls with their teammates. It integrates well with Trello, Asana, and Google Docs. Tandem offers a free 14-day trial and after that, you can use the paid version for 5 people starting at $20.
It is very popular management software. It can easily organize your projects into boards giving it look more like how you work in the office. You can easily share messages and files. Different team members can be assigned to different boards. You can make a project checklist to manage the progress better. Trello has a free and paid version available, starting from $12.50 per month.
Zoom is a very popular software that helps you with video conferences and video calls. It is available as a smartphone app for both Android and iOS. You can use the screen share to see what all the team members are doing. Up to 100 people can be included in one call for the free version. But the downside is that the call can last up to 40 mins. There is a built-in feature for call recording and transcript. Zoom can be used for free or you can get a membership for $14.50.
Thanks to Dropbox’s “Invite your friend” referral program, many use Dropbox for cloud storage for our personal use. Well, they have a “Dropbox Business” plan as well, which is perfect for official use. It is a secured space where you can share and store important data. It is a centralized and personalized space to store your files. You can use an integrated calendar to plan upcoming events. You can even access Slack and Zoom from within Dropbox.
Employee engagement is very important in a virtual office. You should recognize their efforts and reward them. In a virtual environment, this can be difficult but it is not impossible. Using fond you can publicly recognize their work and achievements. You can track their work anniversaries and set rewards for them in form of trophies or plaques. You can give corporate discounts for your whole team for fitness, entertainment, and travel. You can also let your employees choose from many rewards, experiences, or items.