How to Set Up a Virtual Office. In a global environment, workplaces have practically no boundaries with employees located all over the world. With the ever increasing prices of real estate, the virtual office has become an attractive phenomenon to many business people. Companies can be located at a particular place but the employees conduct their day-to-day office affairs from different locations such as a hotel, café or home.
Decide on a business address for your virtual office. It could be a mailbox number or you could use a CMRA (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency) mailbox service for getting a corporate-sounding address.
Look at your connectivity options. There are several to choose from whether its emails, cell phones, online forums, instant messengers, VoIP and more.
Make your chosen location for the virtual office ready for setup. Furnish the place and create a working atmosphere the way you would like. Make sure there is enough room for the installation of necessary electronics such as computers, fax machines and the telephone lines.
Install necessary software on your computers depending on your needs. Some programs are specifically designed for Web conferencing, presentations, meeting scheduling and so on. It is also a good idea to choose a reliable anti-virus program to protect your PC from online assault.
Contact a telephone service provider and get a modern phone system with an interactive voice response (IVR) facility to help manage calls without you having to be onsite. Their built-in technology comes at a reasonable price and they charge only for the actual usage.
Set up an intranet facility meant to be accessed only by the employers of the company to pass along information, vital communication, files and documents or go into the Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that the transferred material is fully confidential. Keep track of who is accessing the database of your organization by keeping logs of entry, exit and access information.
Schedule your official meetings with co-workers, clients or others over a cup of coffee at a location that is good for everyone. If all your contacts are unable to physically be there, you can arrange connectivity by using Web cams, cell phones and instant messengers.
Make sure your employees submit timesheets regularly to record the number of their working hours. Systematically look over these timesheets based on the estimated hours required for specific tasks to keep non-productive time spent in check.
A number of business applications come in the form of "suites" that include most programs required to set up a virtual office and even more. Some of the popular suites are Microsoft Office, Lotus, Corel and AppleWorks. If you have the budget, provide your employees with necessary paraphernalia such as laptop, Wi-Fi cell phone, VoIP and other equipment. Then you and your workforce can be connected efficiently.
Back up your data regularly to avoid a complete meltdown of your day-to-day business if the system crashes. This can be a nightmarish scenario indeed.