Statistically, the virtual office is the most ideal way for SMBs to run their business. A study conducted by Intuit shows that on a weekly basis, there’s a 9 hour difference in the time it takes to manage a business on the go than in the office.
A virtual office also eliminates the need for large and expensive office spaces, and can reduce operational costs by up to 56%. With these figures, you can see why almost 46% of business owners would rather run their business from home. Here are some of the most common tools virtual offices the world run on.
Online project management
Your ability to manage projects will dictate the success or downfall of your enterprise. Large businesses have project management offices or PMO’s. The primary functions of a PMO are project support, management, training, and internal consulting.
Since you’re running a small business, there’s no need to create an entire division to oversee your tasks. However, you still need a reliable project management software, especially when 32% of project failures are caused by poor implementation. Poor project management may also cause you to overshoot budget restraints and quality targets.
Online project management applications such as Basecamp, Ace Project, and Desk Away provide tools that let you assign tasks, share files, set deadlines, and track your team’s progress. They are relatively inexpensive and are very easy to use.
You cannot implement a project if you can’t communicate effectively with your team. Sadly, email and chat can only go as far.
A VoIP phone service gives you the functionality of a phone but at a fraction of the cost. There are plenty of free VoIP providers out there. However, free services seldom let you make calls to actual phones or lets you manage a large group of users. If you’re looking for a phone system for your business, better to go for a paid subscription which can cater to the demands of your business.
VoIP service providers like Ring Central offers plans that can accommodate as little as one employee or as much as a hundred. One of their products, the Ring Central Office even comes with a virtual PBX that lets you set up your phone system pretty much like a Fortune 500 telephone system. You can assign extensions, set call rules, forward calls, and get other useful features like online fax and mobile integration.
Speaking of mobile integration, survey shows that 32% of employees rely on more than one mobile device. Remote employees use mobile devices even more. With the rise of the mobile mail, virtual offices are becoming mobile device driven as much as they are computer driven. In fact, 65% of mobile workers use a tablet – 36% of which use it to send and receive email.
As for the rest of your office needs like storage and collaboration, there’s Google Drive and Box.com. These services are very reliable and cost very little.