A virtual office is a remote working environment where employees are not physically present. The work is done with efficiency and productivity, no difference there, but it is all done in a virtual environment. As the name goes, a virtual office is an office that is not physically present but has all the functionality of an office.
A virtual office service offers many benefits, especially for new businesses. You get a legitimate business address of a posh area that can be used on your official stationery. You also get the facility of call handling and mail forwarding. But it doesn’t end there; you also get access to scheduled shared space and conference rooms.
Other office amenities like a solid internet connection, fax machine, required software, etc., are all included in the virtual office. All of this is offered at affordable rates and a flexible payment plan. It is a subscription-based service that can be stopped anytime without prior notice. It can be best for the scalability of your business.
With remote working, come many challenges, including employee attendance. Since you don’t get to meet your employees physically, it is hard to form a professional bond with them. There is no understanding about what kind of people they are. You or your team leaders won’t know which of the team members value honesty and which don’t. It is very important to take the necessary measures to ensure proper office decorum.
Remote working is more productive as per employees. According to a survey, 91% of the employees claim that they work better from home. They say working remotely makes them more productive. Although the prejudiced picture that comes to our mind about remote working is employees lying in bed with laptops in their laps, the actual picture is quite the opposite. 77% of the remote workers get more done in fewer hours than regular office workers. There are fewer distractions in remote working and employees are more focused. Whether you want to accept it or not, conversations, meetings, and co-workers can be very distracting.
Another reason why remote working increases productivity is that it allows employees to work in their peak productive hours of the day. Some of us work best in the morning while others are their optimum capability at noon or night. We all have different body clocks and remote working lets us work according to that clock, thus producing perfect results.
7 things to do to manage employee attendance:
As a remote team leader, it is your responsibility to manage the attendance of your team and keep them motivated to give their best. You need a strategy to keep your team engaged and maintain their attendance. Many software applications can help you to do that but do keep in mind that there are many ways to cheat as well. That is why employee happiness and engagement are very important.
Frequent use of video:
Face-to-face interaction with other team members is very important to produce good results. This is one of the biggest challenges and limitations in remote working. Employees don’t have any understanding or camaraderie among themselves. Most of them have not met each other. This lack of trust or friendship can adversely affect teamwork.
Frequent use of video apps for meetings and conferences lets all the members see each other. They can develop a bond and friendship required to work together. Making eye contact and talking to each other face-to-face increases employee engagement and involvement in the project.
There is software like Zoom and Microsoft teams that can be used for video interactions and file sharing between the team members.
Endorse an attendance system:
There are many ways you can monitor attendance and the time your employees spend working. The most common is using a timer clock or a timestamp. If not monitored properly, employees can lose track of time. So a timer can be good for avoiding overworking as well.
You will find this strategy useful when accumulating overtime payments of employees. It will also help you in calculating wages for per-hour payment employees. The employees’ login to the system and their timer that is pre-installed starts. The timer only stops when the work is done and the employee logs out of the system. The number of hours he put in is recorded. Some of the software can take a snapshot of the screen showing the apps opened after a specific interval.
Use a cloud-based calendar that can be shared:
Attendance is not just measuring the time an employee spends working. It is also ensuring that he is available for the assigned target. Different teams are assigned different projects and knowing when they are available is very important. Cloud calendars like Google’s calendar are very useful scheduling tools. It is free to use, easy to share, and works with almost every platform.
You can easily make shared calendars for different parts of your workflow to manage meetings and projects.
Regular reporting and regrouping:
Remote workers work at different timelines. Communication between them can be challenging. As a team leader, it can be difficult for you to manage coordination between the team members. Regular meetups are important for this. Set a time of day when all the members are present and discuss the progress of the project with each other.
Set targets and expectations:
Assigning timelines to each member is very important. They should be very clear about what is expected of them. Clear target guidelines are important to avoid overworking or underworking. The minimum or a maximum number of working hours should be set for the employees. The penalty as per your company policy should also be set for employees who don’t abide by the rules.
Set a break time so employees can interact with each other:
For healthy engagement of the employees, they must have fun as well. Just like in a regular office environment, remote employees should have a break time where they can chat with each other about topics not related to work.
You can use chatting platforms like slack where they can have individual and group conversations with each other. This will also be good for understanding and trust between the employees.
Practice what you preach:
Empty words have no effect. You can’t tell your team members to be present if you are absent yourself. You should lead by example. If you, as a manager are punctual and available all the time, your team will automatically be punctual. You will not only get better attendance but also respect from your team members.