5 essential apps that you need if you want to take your office virtual
Whether you’re in the highest floor of a skyscraper or on the grass roots, it’s becoming increasingly clear that your business’s real home is in the Cloud. The Cloud is allowing more and more people to get tasks done anywhere, at any time, and in collaboration with those around the world. This is the future of the virtual office.
However, what does it take to build a virtual office in the first place? Here, we’re going to look at a few crucial apps and tools that you need to consider:
A virtual call-answering service
One of the best aspects of the virtual office is that it allows even the smallest of businesses to use virtual calling software and receptions to represent themselves as an established, professional outfit much more easily. There are a range of different VoiP systems, including phone sets, that allow you to make calls over the net. However, for the smallest of businesses, even a SkypeOut number can help.
When it comes to making sure that your company has professional representation, however, a virtual receptionist might just be what you need. This makes sure that there’s always someone there to answer the phone, take messages, and to offer the welcoming, but professional tone that your business should have when anyone calls. This is essential if your phone line is a key source of sales leads and inquiries that help the growth of your business.
Your Cloud backup system
One of the big benefits of the virtual office is how much more security and safety it has added when it comes to our data storage and management. For these, you need one of the range of online backup and storage tools. This is a place to upload your most vital data, to have it stored at a remote location on a highly secured server. Not only does it mean you have a backup if something goes wrong and you lose your data, it also makes your data more accessible to those who need it.
With your data on the Cloud, you can access it from any location and from any piece of hardware. The only thing you need are the right authentication details to prove that it’s you. If you’re working with a remote team, this also allows you to much more easily share data across large distances much more easily that direct transfers.
A suite of Cloud-connected tools
The Cloud isn’t just for sharing data, either. It can be used to do all of your work online. There are a range of Cloud office suites out there, for instance. The Google suite of tools, such as Google Docs and Google Sheets are the most accessible. They’re somewhat feature-light when compared to paid options such as Microsoft Office 365. As such, it’s wise to take a closer look at the different suites out there and figure out how much you’re willing to invest and what specific features you need.
These tools allow you to work from anywhere, on any device, on files that are hosted on the Cloud. You can upload and download from them freely, as well as set permissions on who is allowed to access them, and whether they can view or edit. For working on the road or with a remote team, it’s an excellent way to ensure you’re not tied to one piece of hardware.
Tools for collaboration and communication
Whether you’re working with a remote team or you carry out your work in close communication with long-term clients, it’s wise to have a standardized method of keeping in touch with them. You need to be able to share ideas, resources, and to coordinate your efforts. However, instant messaging apps like Skype and Google Hangouts can only go so far before it becomes hard to keep track of information. Emails can pile up very quickly, indeed.
Online project and team management apps like Slack offer a much better option worth considering. These apps allow you to create groups, to send messages, but also to pin important information, documents, and conversations. As such, you can effectively manage your communications with different teams and clients, keep track of everyone’s work, and ensure that good collaboration is heading towards the fulfillment of your goals. From BaseCamp to Github to Wrike, there are a range of options with features designed for different kinds of businesses and teams, so it’s important to compare the options out there and find the best one for you.
An address for the virtual office
A combination between a service and tool, the right virtual office address can do a lot more than offer your business a professional face and place for clients to send their mail. The benefits of that service alone are worth considering, however. For a smaller business, there’s a stigma to fight, and having the more established presentation that a virtual office address offers can help beat that stigma back. Furthermore, it offers some security and division between your business and private life.
Furthermore, it can also include Cloud based meeting rooms, allowing you to offer more direct support and to transfer files to and from clients in a secure environment without having to pull back the curtain on the business, too much. Many virtual addresses also include the virtual receptionist and assistant services as part of the package, as well. If it’s important that your virtual office helps you present your business in the best light possible, then a virtual address may be crucial.
Do you have everything you need to build a virtual office?
Hopefully, you’ve got a better idea of the tools that can help you build a virtual office, how they can help, and what your virtual office might look like with all of them in place. It’s a good idea to have the plan put together before you start trying to make the move towards digital. Virtual offices don’t have to be costly at all, it’s just better to make sure you have all your ducks in a row rather than trying to make the switch incrementally.