By: Matt Andersen, CPA, Founder of MD Andersen CPA, PA
In pivoting to a remote work model, communication, more than ever, is key. Working from a de-centralized area will force you to re-think your office communication as in-person interactions become limited, if not entirely obsolete. How will you replace the instant communication capabilities of a physical office space? How can you maintain company culture while your team works from different locations? What technology should you revisit to ensure you have the best option available for your team? In this post, we will address four areas to consider when transitioning into a virtual office space.
Zoom Meetings has seen a surge in popularity during the Working From Home movement, and for good reason! Video conferencing can replace internal meetings with your staff, allow for one-on-one meeting time between staff and supervisors, enable you to hold client meetings when physical conference room space is no longer available, and network with leads and peers when trying to maintain social distance. Transitioning to video conferencing can make your operations seamless as you move your systems online, and can easily keep you in touch with your customers and team. With share screen capabilities, video conferencing can also allow you to share information and collaborate with clients and staff on any projects currently in process. It is also a way to maintain company culture as hosting Zoom happy hours, birthday lunches, and holiday parties become the new normal.
To keep the office in touch while remaining productive, consider installing an internal instant messaging system. This allows for your staff to get in touch with each other quickly without having to waiting on checking their email inboxes, or without tying up phone lines. Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts provide great capabilities for straightforward inter-office instant communication, and programs like Slack allow for greater complexity in placing staff together into messaging groups – a capability necessary for larger businesses with multiple departments. Instant messaging allows for direct collaboration, up to the minute updates, and one-on-one private communication when needed, all things needed in lieu of in-person interactions.
Reviewing Phone Capabilities
Now that your brick-and-mortar office no longer exists, phone and email communication become exceptionally important. Revisit your phone system, do you have enough lines available to support your staff? Are your auto-attendant and voicemail capabilities up-to-date? How easy is it to troubleshoot phone problems? These are all things to consider reviewing during your remote transition process. Further, it is important to consider if your staff will be bringing phone hardware home with them, or if you have the ability to forward your office calls to their cell phones. This could also bring up the question of expense: are you paying for any additional bills your staff may be incurring by working from home, and if so how do you plan to track this expense? Revisit your liability insurance and look into what coverage you have available for any remote equipment.
Temporary Meeting Space
Finally, where will you hold your meetings that can’t be held virtually? For some businesses, going fully virtual is not an option, and in-person meetings will still need to be held. Sure, you could hold your meetings at client offices or networking locations like restaurants and coffee shops, but if you are seeking a quiet, neutral space, looking into a co-working space can be a cost-effective way to maintain an on-demand conference room. Many independent co-working spaces can be found in large cities, where they rent conference rooms, equipment, etc. to business owners who need a professional atmosphere in which to hold a meeting. Find your favorite location and set up an agreement with the space to maintain your floating office’s meeting capabilities.
The only way to succeed in a virtual work environment is to stay in constant communication with your team. In transitioning your operations online, it is time to consider what this will mean to your staff and your clients in terms of keeping in touch and being able to reach out whenever they need. Luckily MD Andersen, CPA, PA has been working remotely since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we are here to share our experience so far. If you’d like to schedule a call with Matt to further discuss items to consider while going remote, schedule a coaching call today!
Matt Andersen, CPA loves analyzing data, people, and businesses. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurial-minded clients achieve their goals, keep more money in their pockets, and live a higher quality of life. In addition to tax and accounting services, Matt provides one-on-one coaching for various topics including lifestyle entrepreneurship, advanced tax planning, and new business creation.