After you have successfully prepared yourself and selected staff for a virtual office work environment, it’s now time to implement it. Here are the primary issues and aspects that you should consider, focus on, and address.
Depending on the current state of your IT staff, systems and infrastructure, you may be ready for the transition or you may need to upgrade. Here’s a list of the most important areas you must prioritize:
- Computer or laptop, webcam, and printer with scanner functionality
- Smartphones or tablets for staff who travel often
- Telephone and internet service at each employee’s home, plus a backup Internet connectivity device or service
- An email program for the entire staff’s use
- Shared calendars and trackers
- Online and teleconferencing software
- Call forwarding service or system that will redirect calls from clients and business partners to a particular employee
- Secure online accounting software
The home can be a great source of different distractions -- from the children that seek their working parent’s attention to your favorite TV show.
To address this, everyone needs to understand that professional and family life must be separated, despite working at home. This can be done by setting up a home office where children and pets are not allowed in, especially during times when an important and urgent task must be finished.
Maintaining work-life balance
While professional and personal must be clearly distinguished from one another, everyone should also find balance between the two. Mostly, the personal gets in the way of professional, but sometimes, it’s the latter that disturbs the balance. Some tend to work more hours than they are supposed to. For instance, an employee may need to stay online during the wee hours to be able to talk to a teammate or manager based in a different location, in a different time zone.
Managers and executives must be proactive in reminding staff -- and themselves -- that they should not waste the opportunities that telecommuting offers by forgetting to balance their time. They must remind staff to take a break and relax from time to time as much as they would remind them to finish tasks on time.
Network privacy and security
As the staff works using different Internet service providers as well as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, executives might need to ensure that all confidential data and files are transmitted and transferred securely. This can be done by hiring IT professionals who can suggest and recommend solutions or subscribe to a service that provides secure network programs and systems.