Guest Posting: How to Set Up a Virtual Office for Your Home Business

Virtual Office

Perhaps you will agree with me when I say that the internet is an entrepreneur’s best friend.

With internet and the worldwide web, you can have an instant access to information and researches, and help you send communication fast and easy.   But I am pretty sure that you are already aware on the advantages and benefits of the internet and the web including the ease and efficiency of having a virtual office for your home business.

Just a run through, a virtual office will lessen your overhead expenses since not only that you don’t need to pay costly monthly office space rental but you also saved on gasoline expenses.  You will also enjoy lesser water and electricity bills but most importantly, you saved yourself the trouble of rushing to the office early in the morning and enduring the traffic at night.  You also saved the energy of your employees or team members since they are not wasting their time commuting everyday.

In fact, having a virtual office can make your employees become more productive; they can concentrate on their work instead.

Also, since the online world set no boundaries on the reach of your business, your employees can then be located on the other side of the world and have a different timeline than yours.   In a virtual office, physical location is not a cause for concern nor is it a hindrance.  So, if you are decided to set up a virtual office for your home business, consider these three important factors.

Determining and installing the right equipment

  1. A reliable phone system preferably with a facility and capability for an interactive voice response (IVR).  Having this will enable you to efficiently support and link different locations while you can also transfer calls to your employees.
  2. Your own intranet where you and your team members can meet, communicate and facilitate sharing of information easily, or you may also consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN) wherein you can transmit documents and information securely, it will also enable you to maintain full confidentiality.
  3. All possible communication devices and programs that you will need like online forums, instant messaging system, email, VoIP or mobile phones.
  4. All equipment that will be necessary like the number of computers you need to install, modems, DVD writer, printers, scanners, web camera for video conferencing, telephone lines, fax, and large Hi-Fi speakers that can numb your ears instantly (okay, the last one is just for me).
  5. Software needed for your business operation.  If your business is involved in graphics and design, then it follows that you and your employees need to install different designing programs.
  6. A reliable and efficient anti-virus program will protect your computer from viruses and other malicious threats.
  7. A business address wherein you can get a service for mailbox like CMRA (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency) or a box number from the post office.

Finding and hiring the right people for your team

Having a virtual office will enable you to grow your team without the need of expanding your physical office.  It will also be possible for you to hire professionals located anywhere in the world, thus saving yourself from worries on how to run the back office since your online and global staff are taking care of it already. 

Also, I am sure that you will hire a proactive and competent employee that could meet your business needs.  So hire virtual professionals who can take care of your office administration, programmers, designers or assistants.

Heard of Elance? Well, that’s t-h-e place where to look for talents online.

Set up an effective business operation system

Having the right gadgets and competent people for your virtual office will still not make your business run smoothly.  Another equally important factor that you need to look into is your business operation system since this is what you and your employees will follow in your daily business conduct. When your employees know by heart your company’s business operation system, then no need to regularly explain how they should do the task, when they should do it, etc.

Let’s say you are running an online writing and research company. Your employees already know your writing standards on how they should write it and when do you expect it to be done. Unless, you have special instructions about a particular project, otherwise they can write following your writing standards.  Also, you may keep entry and exit logs since this will help you determine who among your employees is entering or using your company’s database and other information.

More so, set up a reliable and clear online payroll system for your employees. If you are paying your employees by the hour, then you can require them to keep a daily online work log.  Or if you are paying them per output, you can easily see the details of their submissions and completed projects within a specific time frame.  So, when payday came, it’ll be easy for you to send online payments or bank transfer depending on what you and your employee agreed upon.

So, handling a virtual office is almost the same as handling a traditional company.  The only big difference is, you or your employees don’t need to be in one physical office setting just to get the job done.   Other than that, running a virtual office entails the same proficiency and professionalism.

Clarissa

About the Author: Clarissa

Clarissa is a work from home mom. She has been working as freelance web developer since year 2005 and she recently built her first hosting review sites at iPage Review (http://www.ipagereview.biz). Just like WHSR, iPageReview.biz is a site that offers free website hosting reviews and web development guides. The website also provides a free-platform that allows users to input their personal review on iPage hosting. She enjoys cooking and hanging out with her kids during free time.