How to run a virtual business?
The coronavirus pandemic has had several impacts on businesses in Queensland and throughout the country.
Companies have had to implement cloud solutions and business continuity plans that allow them to continue operating in the wake of stay-at-home orders. They’ve also had to “tighten their belts” in many cases, to make up for the change in customer buying behavior due to the crisis.
A full 88% of organisations had their employees working from home this year. And while remote working may have gotten off to a bumpy start for many companies, now that we’re several months in, the benefits of remote work have become evident.
Better productivity and lower operational costs are two of the main benefits with having employees stay at home and work remotely. When your office building is standing empty while your business is still operating via cloud technology, it’s natural to wonder, “What if I just close my physical office permanently?”
The move from a physical to a completely virtual office is one that’s been on several business owners’ minds during the pandemic. Not only as a way to drastically reduce overhead, but to prepare for the future and what uncertain events it may hold.
If you’ve made the decision of running a business remotely, you’ll next need to put the pieces in place to ensure you can do it successfully.
Running a business remotely: Prepare to Leave Your Physical Office for Good
It’s estimated that for each full-time remote worker, a business can save approximately AUD$31,223 per year. This is due to savings related to:
- Continuity of operations
- Real estate/office space
- Transit subsidies
If your office can run just as effectively with all your employees working from home, then it makes good business sense to leave the physical office behind to improve your operating costs, sustainability, and lower working costs for your employees as well.
Here is the support structure you need to have in place to permanently running a business remotely.
Virtual Address & Mail Handling
When you decide to run your business from home, it’s not a good idea to change your business address to your home address. This can lead to problems if someone wants to meet or looks up your business on Google maps and finds a residential address.
Virtual address services allow you to have a physical street address and offer mail handling services as well. Most also offer a local phone number and virtual receptionist services if you need them.
Another perk is that they will often also have rentable day office or conference rooms available. So, if you should need to meet with a client, you have a professional office building option to use that matches your business address.
Cloud Productivity & Communication Platform
When you’re working virtually, the need to use cloud applications is a given. But you want to be sure you choose the most productive cloud environment.
For example, you want to avoid just adding cloud applications from different vendors to make up your workflow. Doing so can mean you have data that won’t easily travel from one app to another and will have a bigger learning curve for employees.
It’s better to find a cloud productivity platform that incorporates multiple apps inside that all share data natively. One of the best is Microsoft 365, which offers the core Office programs (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint), along with multiple other collaborative and cloud apps like OneDrive and SharePoint.
Microsoft 365 also gives you vital virtual office features like Teams, which allows you to video conference, make audio calls, share files, and instant message, among other things.
Using one platform makes it easier for you to keep your cloud data backed up, gives you one central area for security and administration, and makes life easier for your employees.
Business VoIP Phone System
You definitely don’t want to be relying on your cell phones or home phones to try to handle business calls when you’re working virtually. This can make it impossible to do things like transfer calls and will give your callers an unprofessional calling experience.
You’ll want to put a business VoIP system in place that will allow you to take a full enterprise-class phone system and use it in the cloud.
A VoIP phone system can sound just like a landline system to a caller and give your team the capability to answer your official business line or extensions from their computer, mobile device, or a VoIP enabled desk phone.
Cybersecurity is still very much a concern when you’re running your business remotely. It can even be a bit more complex because you have assets that are now located in multiple places and connecting through multiple Wi-Fi connections.
Remote IT security that you should have in place for all your employees includes:
- Antivirus/Anti-malware software
- Automated data backup
- Business VPN for encrypted connections
- Remote device monitoring and IT support
- Web protection
- Cloud account protection using multi-factor authentication
Prepare for a Smooth Move to a Completely Virtual Business
Connected Platforms can help you with the process of running a business remotely, allowing you to leave your physical office behind and continue growing your company without skipping a beat.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 1300 866 096 or book a coffee meeting online.