According to a study conducted by FlexJobs, remote work has grown 91% over the past 10 years. And that was before the COVID-19 crisis, which has even more of the working world doing so at home. Not only is remote work at an all-time high, but the need for a virtual office setup is too.
When the pandemic had employees all over the world quickly switching to a work-from-home arrangement, many were left scrambling for communication solutions and other cloud-based business tools. Luckily, technology has given us more freedom than ever before. Meaning you can run a business from your back porch as long as you have a few key essential tools at your disposal; even if you have just the internet and a computer, your office can be anywhere.
If you’re thinking about going virtual business for the long-haul or hiring remote employees, there are a few things you’re going to need beyond the internet and a laptop to be successful. Here are the top seven things your business needs to run a virtual office.
1. Updated and Modern Website
A current website full of rich content and a powerful strategy for generating web traffic is essential to any virtual business. A quick and easy method for creating your own website is WordPress. Whether you are tech-savvy or not, you can find a template and some plug-ins that will suit just about any business need.
2. Business Email Address
We recommend purchasing a domain (which you’ll probably have when you set up your website) for a personalized email address that represents your business and conveys a higher level of professionalism than an email address that ends in @gmail.com. Again, you want your customers and potential customers to know you’re legit.
3. Postal Address
Even though most people use the internet or cellular service to communicate and pay bills — and it really should not matter where you do your work — your customers need to know that you’re legitimate. A postal address, particularly a post office box, conveys legitimacy in a way that a free email address does not.
4. Virtual Business Phone Number
Virtual phone numbers, like those from Tresta, work by routing calls directly to your smartphone, allowing you to separate work calls from personal calls. You also benefit by boosting your business profile and presenting a polished, professional image.
5. Project Management Tool
You need project management software to help keep you organized no matter where you are in the world. Basecamp, Trello, and Monday.com are all great for organizing projects, tracking progress, and collaborating with others.
6. Customer Relationship Management Tool
7. Answering Service
How can you run a business and personally answer every single call 24 hours a day? For your business to succeed, you need to have time to work. Let someone else pick up the phones, screen the callers, and forward you only the calls that will help your company grow.
8. Storage and Collaboration Solution
With a virtual office, you need an easy way to store, organize, and share files with your team and customers. Dropbox and Google Drive are among the most popular cloud-based file storage systems. Plus, they’re affordable and offer more capacity than you’ll ever need.
9. Cloud-Based Accounting Software
You can go with the standard of Quickbooks, or explore newer cloud-based options like Freshbooks. Having access to your financials, no matter where you are, is a great way to keep tabs on where your money is going.
10. Chat Tool
Perhaps you have a couple of people on your team who also work from home or in various locations around the world. A chat tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams helps to keep teams united and on the same page. They even offer video calling, making it feel like you’re all in the same room.
Remote work is here to stay. If you’re thinking about setting up a virtual office for your business, you’ll want to ensure you have the right technology on your side. Tools such as project management software and collaboration solutions are the answer to running a successful operation that keeps your clients happy and your business growing.