Surviving and Thriving in a Virtual World
The world is becoming increasingly virtual and many organizations exist virtually today with no “bricks and mortar” storefronts or shared employee space. What does the virtual workplace look like? What are the new virtual small business growth trends? The best practices? And how can a service like Access Direct keep you at the top of your virtual game?
Last year, in a Forbes article, Dan Schawbel made some predictions about what 2015 was likely to hold for the business world – technology certainly played a major role, serving as the impetus for the ability of “more people stepping out of traditional career paths.” It’s increasingly becoming a virtual work world and a virtual marketplace. Because of technology it is no longer necessary, or even advisable, for all employees who work for a company to be gathered together in one physical location, or for businesses to be bricks and mortar and located near where consumers live and work.
We are all now firmly entrenched in a cloud economy that is opening up doors and opportunities not only for traditional members of the workforce, but certainly for new, small, and mid-size companies around the country.
Let’s take a look at some of the growth trends that small businesses can capitalize on right now.
Virtual Business Growth Trends
- Employee Flexibility
Work-life balance is increasingly at the top of the list for employees seeking a new job or career. People want the ability to work from home, to manage their own time and to re-arrange their schedule if needed. For many, flexibility is right up there with salary and prestige when it comes to finding the right job fit.
- Cloud-Based Sharing
The days of emailing documents back and forth for updates and routing is fading fast in the face of cloud-based sharing platforms that allow multiple users to access and update documents at the same time. These tools can make version control and collaboration much more efficient.
- Global Business Community
Virtual business means more than just working with someone across state lines. It means you can communicate real-time and regularly with coworkers around the world. This has the potential for tremendous benefits in cost savings and collaboration. It also means that you can fill job roles with talent from around the world even if they can’t or won’t relocate.
So, how can small- and mid-size businesses best navigate this new virtual, cloud-based economy? Here are some best practices.
Virtual Workplace Best Practices
- Keep a Regular Schedule
Just because your team members may be scattered across the country or the globe doesn’t mean they should all be on their own schedules. Working remotely can provide a lot of needed flexibility, but to collaborate effectively as a team, agree on a regular work day to foster as much real-time interaction as possible.
- Develop a Communication Charter
Just as employees in a brick-and-mortar workplace have different styles and methods of communication, virtual employees may prefer various forms of interaction as well. Some might prefer video conferencing, while others might favor something more casual, such as instant messaging. Your team should agree ahead of time on some ground rules and expectations for the virtual workplace and memorialize them in a communication charter.
- Meet Physically
Advances in virtual communication continue to make tremendous strides; however, there’s always something to gain by being able to meet physically, even if it’s only once per year. Try to set up a regular in-person employee meeting or retreat.
The explosion of virtual businesses has also created an explosive demand for virtual services and tools to help fuel their growth. That’s where Access Direct comes in. Our cloud-based telephone services allow you to stay connected and effectively communicate to both employees and customers in an increasingly virtual business world.
- Leverage Technology
The tech tools now available to entrepreneurs, consultants and small business owners are many, proving them with the ability to make a big footprint despite their potentially small size. Communication tools are probably top on the list for most businesses, regardless of size—the ability to be accessible to staff, clients, customers and prospects remains a top priority. And, despite e- and mobile technology, many consumers still prefer to communicate by phone.
That’s where Access Direct can help capitalize on these small business growth trends. Access Direct uses a variety of tech tools to stay in touch with our staff and clients, and we counsel prospects and clients on the tools that might be most efficient for their unique needs.
Have questions about what cloud-based telephone services would work best for you? Get in touch!