Location-less offices, remote employees, virtual assistants, and online service providers. This is the changing face of today’s small business offices. Business is becoming less and less tied to a location for various reasons. Reducing the cost of running a business is at the top of that list. Depending on which of the aforementioned choices you make, it can save you money on office space, office supplies & equipment, and even employee benefits and taxes. Sounds great right? But what about collaboration? It’s a real concern. In fact, it’s why some companies rescinded work from home policies in the past. Contrary to what those big companies think, it is possible to collaborate without needing an office. The right combination of online collaboration and well-timed in-person meetups solve the problem nicely.
Online Collaboration Tools
We all know about Skype, but there are lots of other choices out there for conducting live online meetings. From services like GoToMeeting that have been around for years to newer options like Facebook Workplace, you have choices when it comes to video conferencing. A few more popular video conferencing choices*:
Let’s face it, when you work in an office, you often find yourself asking nearby co-workers for input or bouncing problem-solving ideas off of one another. Luckily there is a way to do the same when you’re not working in the same building(or even the same country). Online messaging services like Slack provide you with an online ‘office space’ where you can communicate with one another instantly, allowing for the same type of collaboration. More online messaging options are
Online Project Management and
What about those project team meetings where things are shared via presentations or whiteboard? You have options there too. AWW is a web-based whiteboard that you can invite co-workers to view in real time. Prezi allows you to create and present your presentations online. Loom lets you record your computer screen and/or webcam and share it with others. Project management options like Asana allow you to keep track of goals, deadlines, and tasks. More project management and sharing options include
Your office may be location-less, but it’s still possible to get your workers together on a regular basis to collaborate together. With co-working spaces like Think Tank, rentable office spaces like Regus and virtual office spaces like Davinci you can rent meeting space only when you need it. Is your business located somewhere without these type of spaces near you? Try your local chamber of commerce, library or bank. Have a hotel in town? Check to see if they rent out conference rooms. Or maybe ask if one of your local restaurants has a special events or banquet room you could rent for a few hours.
As you can see, the need to collaborate within your business doesn’t mean you need to be tied down to a traditional office space. With online technology, alone or combined with scheduled in-person meetups can keep the creativity and shared ideas flowing as if everyone were in the same room.
*Skype and Facebook Workplace can also be used for online communication without making a voice or video call.