There was a time when forgetting a vital piece of hardware or a file stored on your desktop could potentially scupper even the most well prepared presentation. These days however, with the use of Cloud storage services like OneDrive for Business, Dropbox and mobile apps, the likelihood of becoming hamstrung by our own fallible human memory has been significantly reduced.
Technology then, in many ways, has made us even more efficient workers. No longer is that important file at risk of being forgotten, or a deadline missed due to a scheduling or travel error. Technology has changed how businesses operate at the most functional of levels and this has, in turn, trickled down to the individual and how we can potentially work and operate in our jobs and roles. Now it is possible to do ‘stuff’ from almost anywhere.
So, what does that mean for the role of the traditional office? If you and your colleagues can work anywhere, then why not work from everywhere? We are currently experiencing an evolution of technological convenience at a faster rate than ever before, where working remotely or on-the-move is sometimes even more effective than making it into the office.
In this post we will cover some of the possibilities and challenges you are likely to face if you were to move your business from a physical office to a more omnipresent space online.
Is virtual the new reality?
With the advent of such reliable mobile technology, being productive away from the office doesn’t have the issues (or stigma) it might have had even a couple of years ago. Whether at home or in a physical place of work (or, as with 4G, even traveling from one to the other) we are more or less constantly connected. It seems quite clear that the office isn’t defined as an employer’s four walls, as it once was. But is moving your operation entirely online actually possible?
That big office in the sky
Moving your services and data online allows your employees to access their content and work wherever they are, and essentially enables your office space to be virtually anywhere. Using Office 365 in the cloud means you can easily and conveniently fire up full desktop versions of your documents right from your smartphone or tablet to read, edit and collaborate from anywhere enabling a more fluid and flexible working environment.
Think about what your office space costs your business in terms of rent, office desktops, and other hardware, telephone line rental, cleaning and maintenance, etc. Sacrificing the physical space for the reduction in overheads might be one reason alone to move online.
Whatever your reasons, there are possibilities as well as the challenges along the way that you may want to consider.
Get dynamic about mobile
You will have to virtually manage your office, and the best way to do this is to have the most up-to-date mobile devices available to you. This used to be a good, lightweight laptop. Now it means the most powerful and svelte tablets and smartphones that easily sync and work across the same platforms and apps.
Teamwork needs to be cultivated
Your team will likely be in various different places and possibly different time zones. You may rely on freelancers and Virtual Assistants, content writers, IT code writers, etc. usually only paying for the work you need – reducing your overheads further. Whatever way you decide on creating a team, make sure you have a way of connecting them together across the same platforms so they can work collaboratively and productively and on schedule.
Office options when you need that physical touch
Likely there will be a time when you must meet clients, prospective customers, staff or potential employees. There are options, from good value co-working spaces to your local coffee shop.
A suitable option for your company?
To successfully operate your virtual office, you’ll need a number of quality tools to make sure you don’t sacrifice convenience and flexibility for productivity and quality. One of the key platforms for a functional online office is Skype for Business, which will allow you to hold meetings and conferences, collaborate via instant messaging and screen sharing.
Office 365 was created in essence to be a virtual office. Microsoft’s centerpiece for their ‘mobile-first, cloud-first’ strategy prioritizes work collaboration from anywhere. Take advantage of email, calendar, contacts, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. as well as SharePoint, Delve and OneDrive for Business, and give your virtual office broad reach and real depth.
What is true collaboration?
Seeing the benefits (cost, flexibility, infrastructure etc.) and having the means to run a virtual office doesn’t mean it will be easy. Without a physical space there is the fear of disorganization, time wasting and confusion – the inability to implement the right workflows for your employees, for instance. As well as that, there is a risk of being overwhelmed by the plethora of tools and apps (across multiple devices) that you will likely need to work as efficiently as a team as you do from your current space.
harmon.ie has you covered. We deliver a solution that brings together all Microsoft collaboration tools into a single screen from your desktop, smartphone and tablet. We’re aware that a lot of work is completed across varying locations and devices, so we focus on making work collaboration simple. That’s why harmon.ie can be relied on as the perfect enterprise hub for your virtual office.
- Work on your documents without having to resort to a browser
- Collaborate with colleagues from within your current work context
- Consistent experience across all devices
- Work within a single screen with your favorite collaboration tools
To see more about how harmon.ie brings it all together, and could be the perfect partner for your virtual office, visit us for a free download and see if it’s right for you.