It’s now becoming more important than ever for some businesses and organizations to create new virtual workspaces and experiences to engage staff and customers. Transitioning from a brick and mortar office to a virtual space has its challenges, even during a normal business environment.
With things changing on a daily basis, it’s important to prepare as well in advance as possible to move yourself and your team to your off-site workplace. NFP Partners currently operates fully in a virtual workspace, so we want to share our tips with you on how to create a smooth transition.
Here are some ways your organization can reduce in-person operating while staying connected. This is not an exhaustive list of things you can do. Instead, the intent is to get the brainstorming started.
- Try to keep as on schedule as much as possible for all of the regular and annual tasks, like audit and 990
- Establish remote access to business files and accounting software. Is it hosted?
- Explore the operations of an A/P workflow to pay bills and make ACH payments. One option is to use Bill.com.
- Schedule remote meetings and regularly touch base with team members. For more on remote meetings, see below.
Questions to Ask
How will you..
- Deposit checks?
- Pay bills?
- Manage credit card transactions and compile your receipts?
- Get your invoices?
- Track employee time cards/sheets?
- Manage employee leave? Do you need to make adjustments to your leave plans? Keep your policies up to date.
Create Your Transition Plan
- Develop a list of tasks that can be done remotely vs. those that cannot. If the task(s) cannot be completed remotely, determine if the task(s) can temporarily be suspended.
- Determine when your company will begin remote work
- Make plans to forward calls and mail (USPS may offer temporary mail forwarding in your area)
Set Up Your Remote Workspace
- Carve out a space that can be used as your new office. This can be a home office or, if space is an issue, any quiet place in your home
- What you’ll need:
- Laptop (or your computer from your current office)
- Docking station (optional)
- Phone and internet access
Tools & Software
- Remote access to your business files (Egnyte, Dropbox, Box, SharePoint, etc.)
- Login information for all software (i.e. usernames and passwords)
- Be prepared for increased absenteeism and consider the flexibility you will need to ensure the safety of your team members and others in your supply chain
- Review your sick leave and work from home policies and consider providing additional time so that employees will make the best choice to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms
- Allow team members to work remotely, if they have the tools necessary to continue their work, regardless of if they have symptoms or not
- If your business must remain open, boost cleaning efforts in common areas
- Continue practicing the hygiene and safety practices recommended by the CDC
Tips From the CDC
- Practice good hygiene
- Stop handshaking
- Clean hands at the door
- Schedule email reminders to wash hands during the day
- Be careful with meetings and travel
- Use video conferencing when possible
- When not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces
- Consider postponing large meetings (see below for suggestions)
- Handle food carefully and limit food sharing
- Stay home if..
- You feel sick
- You have a sick family member at home
It’s become more important than ever for some businesses and organizations to create new virtual experiences to engage with staff and customers. Here are some ways your organization can reduce in-person operating while staying connected.
- LinkedIn Live: With LinkedIn Live you can host keynote speeches, panels, thought leadership talks, news and announcements through live broadcasts to your networks.
- LinkedIn also has free courses available on how to build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, and use virtual meeting tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom.
- For more ways, visit LinkedIn’s article, Staying Connected and Productive with Virtual Events.
- Meetings don’t always have to be in-person and every message to a coworker doesn’t have to be an email. Because of such, we encourage your organization to consider using video conference tools such as Google Meet or Zoom for virtual meetings. Your organization could also utilize messaging and operational apps such as Slack or Teams.
- Slack is one of the best known and most widely used instant messaging apps for businesses. It provides one-on-one messaging, group chat, individual and team audio calls, and video conferencing.
- Microsoft Teams is part of the Office 365 subscription and creates a chat-based workspace focused on real-time interaction. Additional tools include various chat options, notes and Microsoft Office.
For information on how you can support small businesses, consider reading CNN’s article, How You Can Help Your Favorite Small Businesses Survive the Coronavirus Crisis.
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