Virtual offices, like those offered by iPostal1, are a great asset to remote and hybrid teams, but managing a virtual office can differ from working in a physical office. You will likely need different tools to manage the office effectively. As more and more businesses shift to a virtual office model, having the right tools to manage your team and ensure smooth operations is crucial. Here are ten essential tools for managing a virtual office that can help you stay organized, communicate effectively, and increase productivity in a virtual workspace.
Video conference tools
One of the most essential tools for managing a virtual office is reliable video conferencing software. Video conferencing makes it possible for your team to have face-to-face meetings and work together on projects in real-time, even if they are in different places or can’t be in the same room.
These tools also allow for video, phone, and chat functions in every meeting, meaning everyone can participate no matter which method they are most comfortable with. Some popular video conferencing software options include Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and Microsoft Teams.
Project management software
With a virtual team, having a central location where everyone can access project details, timelines, and deadlines is essential. Project management software like Trello, Asana, or Basecamp can help keep everyone on the same page. These tools make it easier for remote teams to work together on tasks by giving them a single place to assign tasks, track progress, manage schedules, etc.
Virtual offices have to find new ways to store and share files since they are no longer in the same space. Using cloud storage software to store files and documents ensures your team can access them anywhere. Services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive can provide secure and convenient storage for your team’s files and give your team access to those files on any device with internet access. Cloud storage makes it easier for virtual teams to share documents, images, videos, etc., with each other quickly and securely.
You should also consider using document editing apps like Google Docs, which make document collaboration more manageable by allowing multiple users to edit documents simultaneously.
It’s essential to keep track of how much time your team spends on different tasks to ensure accurate billing and identify any productivity issues. Time-tracking software like Harvest, Toggl, or RescueTime can help you keep track of your team’s time and increase productivity by ensuring everyone is working efficiently and accurately, accounting for their time spent on projects.
Chat and messaging apps
Great chat collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Chat help remote teams stay organized, connected, informed, and productive. These chat apps also enable them to share files, assign tasks, track progress, and communicate with each other easily.
Email management software
With remote work, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by emails and risk losing important information in the piles of emails.
Email management software like Boomerang, Mailbird, or Newton can help you stay on top of your inbox and organize your mail so you can focus on ensuring you are getting vital information and providing timely responses.
Online scheduling software
Scheduling can be challenging when everyone is working remotely since there are different time zones, and everyone has their own workflow. Online scheduling software like Calendly, Acuity, or Doodle can make scheduling meetings and appointments a breeze since you can see everyone’s schedule and find the times that work best for everyone.
Virtual phone system
A virtual phone system like RingCentral, Grasshopper, or Vonage can give your team a professional phone number and make handling incoming and outgoing calls easy. A phone system can also protect your employees’ privacy and work-life balance since they will not have to use their personal phone numbers for business communication.
Social media management software
Social media is an integral part of many businesses’ marketing strategies. Social media management software like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social can help you manage your social media accounts. These tools allow scheduling posts, setting up auto-responses to messages and comments, and streamlining your social media efforts under your specific brand voice.
Virtual private network (VPN)
With remote work, security is a top priority. A virtual private network (VPN) like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or CyberGhost can help you keep your team’s online activities and sensitive information safe. A VPN can also guard against phishing or hacking attacks that could compromise sensitive business data.
Team building activities
Regular team-building activities help remote workers get to know each other better by allowing them to talk about or do things together that have nothing to do with work. These breaks from workflow and team-building opportunities give them a sense of team unity, even though they aren’t in the same room. Zoom game hours or coffee chat meetings can be a great way to foster team building among remote workers without requiring them to leave their home offices.
Online whiteboards like Miro let people in different places work together to develop ideas by sharing visual representations of their thoughts. Your teams can collaborate from anywhere on an interactive whiteboard platform. These whiteboards can be an excellent replacement for office brainstorming meetings and allow teams to still brainstorm and collaborate in the same ways.
Before you go
Managing a virtual office may require different tools, but there are many solutions to help your virtual office be just as effective, if not more so, than a physical office. Managers of virtual offices have to deal with unique challenges. They have to keep their team motivated and make sure productivity stays high, even though coworkers don’t see each other as often as they do in traditional offices. Thankfully, many tools are available today that make managing a virtual office more accessible than ever. From video conferencing software and collaboration tools to task management apps and project management software, there is something out there for everyone. The 12 tools above can help you manage your virtual team well and make sure everything runs smoothly.