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Optimizing your Virtual Office: The Importance of Communication

07.06.11

Like any work model, running your business from home has its pros and cons. Since working virtually removes the physical proximity to your teammates, work-at-home professionals must possess strong communication skills.  In order to make the most of your virtual office, we propose a few tips for managing and communicating with your clients and co-workers.

1. Make time for one-on-one meetings

You may be holding regular group meetings, which is a good thing! But it’s just as important to talk to each individual directly. This gives each teammate an opportunity to share his or her ideas and concerns, which is especially useful for those who don’t speak up in group meetings. One-on-one meetings also nurture individual relationships, which will boost the general morale of your team.

2. Keep the lines of communication open

This is essential to running a successful virtual business. Check in with your clients, or potential clients, whenever you can. Following up doesn’t need to be overly formal; it’s simply a way for you to ensure that you’re still on their radar. Even if you’ve finished conducting business with a client, you can benefit from a follow-up call to gather feedback or perhaps even get a referral.

3. Say ‘Thank You’

Chivalry is not dead – at least not on your end! Remind your clients that you appreciate them and that they’re working with a person. After all, isn’t that why they chose to work with you in the first place? Embrace the personal attention that comes with a virtual

4. Check-in with your team frequently

Running late? Let your teammates know. A shipment has been backordered? Tell your client stat! Whether you’ve got good news or bad news, be as transparent as possible. Staying in touch is another way to remind your clients that working with you was the right choice. Never leave them hanging!

5. Schedule regular staff meetings (online or in person)

Discuss status, goals, deadlines etc. It’s critical for every member to feel a part of the team. Bottom line: if no one’s on the same page, your business appears unprofessional and time will be wasted. Also, find the time to interact with your staff informally; for example, dedicate a full meeting to just brainstorming with your staff.  Many of the best ideas are generated this way.

Have a tip to share or thoughts on managing the virtual workplace?  Share it here!

Written by AdvantEdge Staff

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