We recommend the must-have software and hardware for equipping your team’s virtual offices. We examine conference technologies, virtual office software, and more.
The world is more connected than ever. 4.57 billion people worldwide have some access to the internet. That is a number that you cannot ignore. Many industries are paying close attention to this impressive figure.
Why is that? Any one of those 4.57 billion people could work from home. Perhaps they have a specialized skill or expertise that a business or institution requires – the potential employee marketplace widens.
Alongside the worldwide spread of the internet is the ever-growing amount of technological innovations made every day. As a result, online workplace platforms, video conferencing (Zoom, Skype), and many more useful technology tools opened to business owners.
Around this time, eco-awareness was coming to the forefront in debates, research, and journalism. So, with the bonus of limiting commutes, it is no wonder that remote working began to take off.
Due to the mass workplace exodus spurred on by Covid-19, many workers got a taste of the work-from-home lifestyle. Moreover, though some companies struggled to adapt, most flourished. So, even though just 5.2% of the US population worked from home in 2018, according to Quartz, US Census data, that number is expected to rise significantly, especially after an incredible 42% of the American workforce worked full-time from home during the peak of the pandemic.
It is also unlikely that any entrepreneur will be keen to fork out on overhead these days when 45% of start-ups fail within the first year. Digging into the wealth of resourceful remote workers to advance business seems preferable.
But since this is relatively new territory for both big and small business owners alike, it can be hard to know the requirements in terms of software/hardware for a successful remote workforce.
A quick and reliable internet connection is a must for the modern virtual office. Your bandwidth will have to withstand HD video conferences, immediate file sharing, screen sharing, and much more heavyweight CPU processes.
It is also worth looking at how your internet connection handles your unified communications functionalities. Today’s virtual office isn’t as distant or bare-bones as it once was; you’ll come across virtual offices with an optimized web presence, cutting edge meeting rooms, auto receptionists, and other tech-savvy features that demand a lot of internet power.
Virtual Office Platform
This system is the front page of your virtual office. It is where you and your workers/colleagues will be able to join meetings, debrief, communicate, and upload files.
Remote Access VPNs for Virtual Office
This feature allows your employees to access the company’s data systems remotely. A VPN also safeguards your web traffic by encrypting all connections.
Remote Desktop for Virtual office
If you are worried about breaches occurring, having your employees log into a remote desktop can drastically limit the risk. Due to a remote desktop’s overlaid nature, all data stays on the corporate server while bypassing the need to be downloaded onto a local server.
Optimized & Visually Appealing Website
Perhaps you are a start-up pioneer who does not plan on buying an office space; maybe you’re a business owner who’s setting up shop. Either way, if there is no brick & mortar, you need to build an online “shop front” for your business.
Fortunately, creating a website has never been so easy.
The first crucial step to building a website is to buy a domain name relevant to your business (preferably an official business name.) Following on, you have the choice to avail yourself of several website development software or consult with a web developer.
You can get a brand image, sell products, and integrate third-party web services on your website. Consider forming a reliable team of web developers, designers, and programmers to maintain the smooth running of the website and match your brand image to your website design.
Phone Line – Customer Service
Consider adopting a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system if you think you will have heavy phone line traffic. VoIP systems offer robust phone features that go beyond basic voicemail, call screening, or call waiting. They provide more business-focused and mobile features that can upgrade a business’s professional image.
Data Storage for the Virtual Office
Cloud services such as Dropbox are essential for a smooth and productive workflow in a virtual office environment. By sending all documents, files, and other relevant data to cloud servers, you ensure that they can be accessed anywhere provided there’s internet access available. Data can be stored, categorized, and adjusted using the online storage platforms, customizable tools, and features.
Other online data storage systems include Google Drive and OneDrive.
Video Conferencing Software
Webinars, online meetings, and web debriefs are all part of a day’s work in a virtual office. Despite all the organizations involved in online discussions, you will often find yourself called to impromptu quick face-to-face calls or one-on-one meetings. You may even have to join a conference on the fly. So, intuitive, easy-to-use, and fast video conferencing software should be your top pick. Consider picking conferencing programs such as Zoom, which offers some customizable variables that can be tweaked to optimize conference quality.
Project Management – Team Management
To ensure that projects get completed adequately and within the allocated time, it is necessary to implement a web-based project management system. Through these web-based management utilities, processes such as task delegation, scheduling, timing, feedback, and remuneration can have oversight and control.
Cybersecurity for the Virtual Office
When working online, there is always the risk of system or data breaches happening. Considering all customer, client, partner, supplier, and employee information within your online systems, they are worth protecting. When researching cybersecurity software, it is the best policy to keep Antivirus, Firewall, and Malware protection in mind. Make sure that whatever security package you choose for your businesses that it has all three installed. Norton 360 Deluxe goes above and beyond to protect the integrity of PCs. In addition to cross-platform security, they provide online backup, no-limits VPN, and much more.
And, of course, the web-based goodies are not all that matter. Suitable, sturdy hardware is also the hallmark of any top-notch virtual office. Since the hardware aspect is less tricky to grasp, the checklist is considerably shorter:
- Robust desktop PC/laptop
- Ergonomic office equipment
- Internet router
As you can see, a virtual office is rather minimalistic. However, there are numerous novelty desk items, trinkets, and productivity-based products that you can decorate your workspace.
Conclusion of IT Essentials for Virtual Offices – A Checklist
And there you have it, everything you need to get your virtual office up and running. It will take some time to get each feature integrated, connected, and functioning correctly; however, buying top-quality and following market advice should help the process go faster.
Do you have any suggestions, comments, tips, or questions to add to IT Essentials for Virtual Offices – A Checklist? If you do, please provide them here. We welcome all input, concerns, questions, and feedback, so feel free to Contact Us.
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