09-29-2016 Online communication work, digital document storage, and an increased demand for the web presence of businesses mean that it’s “easier than ever” for employees to work mainly with digital tools–which leads to more opportunity for companies to save money on office space. Financial news site MarketWatch reports office space per employee costs an average of $14,800 a year in New York, and even in “affordable” Dallas, 2,600 square feet of office space will still cost an average of $5,000 per month.
Many employees would rather work from home, anyway, or at least have flexible schedules that allow them to avoid having to head into the office at least part of the time. An analysis of the 2005-2014 American Community Survey by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com found 50 percent of the U.S. workforce has a job that is compatible with telecommuting, and around a fourth of the workforce is already telecommuting at least part of the time. Up to 90 percent of American workers would like to telecommute at least part-time.
If you’d like to save your business some money and make your employees happier, here is how to build a successful business even when you don’t have a main office for employees.
Even when your team members aren’t working in the same room, they should still feel a strong trust in their coworkers, be able to rely on each other for critical task completion and feel capable of communicating effectively so work gets done precisely and efficiently. Using video communication tools allows virtual teams to converse from wherever they are, while a project management system such as Trello keeps team members focused and on track to fulfill goals.
Getting together face to face periodically allows your team members to bond and better understand each other’s work styles since they’re able to get to know each other in person. Consider renting a co-working space once a month for team members, or host social events that give your team the opportunity to forge stronger relationships outside of work, which can translate into positive results on work tasks.
Even when there is no office, a virtual office assistant can be crucial in making sure projects are completed, bookkeeping is in order and potential partners view your startup as a legitimate collaborator, service or product. Using professional human resources and accounting team members helps alert you to items that need attention and can help you stay focused on growing, even if you’re working from a coffee shop or from a home office. Meeting regularly with a mentor or advisor helps you stay motivated.
It’s also important to recognize the value in defining and creating a culture for your business, even when employees are scattered. Using techniques borrowed from the corporate world, such as employee recognition and team company updates help to keep your team engaged at work, which helps your business grow. Performance management consulting company Gallup reports employee engagement positively affects everything from profitability and productivity to turnover and customer satisfaction. By establishing a strong mission statement and using a vision to drive everything from marketing materials to virtual orientation, you help craft a meaningful brand identity that employees feel invested in projecting, no matter where they are.
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