The nature of the office is changing. No longer are employees staying within the confines of the traditional office. According to a survey of small- to medium-size businesses conducted by RingCentral, a mere 15% have a traditional office model in which employees work from one central physical location and 45% of respondents spend more than three-fourths of their time conducting business out of the office.
Organizations that use this type of model face the challenge of maintaining a professional image when employees are working from home, on the road, or from satellite offices. Here are three tips to help take advantage of the benefits of a distributed office model:
1. Maintain a unified, professional image. According to the survey, 80% of businesses want to give the impression that their employees are in the office when receiving or making business phone calls. This demonstrates that image matters. Establishing a central Web site and setting up a single company phone number with multiple extensions helps streamline communications and makes it easy to connect with customers, partners and prospects.
2. Adopt cloud computing technologies. From project management and staffing to infrastructure, collaboration and communications, cloud computing allows for a physical office to mobilize and follow employees on the go. By adopting cloud-based services in the office, an out-of-office employee can make calls, receive faxes, share files and much more—all while maintaining the appearance of being in a physical office.
3. Set a clear company culture that spans locations. Despite working from different locations, it is important that each employee feel they are part of the same team. Implementing the right technology can help bring the distributed team together, but it is just as important to implement team-building activities, like regular meet-ups or online brainstorming sessions, to help build relationships and maintain a strong company culture.
Vice-President of Strategy
San Mateo, Calif.