Well, this is it. We’re in a new normal of working virtually. By now, if your business is still thriving, you’ve managed to shift everything online. You’re organising your staff in Asana, having conversations in Slack, and holding meetings in Zoom. You’ve embraced the cloud and decentralised services. Welcome to the Corona way of doing business.
So what next?
No one is pretending this shift has been easy. You may have had to make fast decisions about which cloud-based computing solutions to use. Switching to voice over the internet may have left your customer service with a lot to be desired. Learning to trust that, yes, your staff can actually work from home may have tested your management style.
But you did it. Thousands of businesses around the world have managed to very quickly switch from physical offices to virtual ones. There have been disruptions and new protocols to get used to. But if you’ve succeeded – well done.
There’s no going back
The fact is, we don’t know what is going to happen once restrictions start to ease. In Australia and New Zealand this week, some measures are already starting to loosen. In the US, the situation is a bit chaotic with different states sending conflicting messages. In the UK, lockdown will probably last another week or so before starting to ease.
What we do know, though, is that no business is going to rush back to the ‘old ways’ of doing things. First of all, nobody wants to risk the health of their staff. There’s no point in having all of your people start back on the Monday after lockdown as if none of this happened. They may not have transport, your office may not be ready, and more importantly, we don’t know if it’s safe. More than likely, a few key workers will start back in the office, preparing the way for everybody else to slowly return.
But crucially, a lot of business owners have now seen what’s possible. Yes, your staff really can do their jobs from home. They lose less time in traffic and spend more time actually at their desks. There might be a few more distractions from kids and partners, but not as much as you feared. CEOs and Directors are seeing that most work can be done in the cloud. With the right tools, even collaborative projects that need a lot of hands-on deck can be managed remotely.
And in fact, staff and managers seem to like it. They can focus better and get more done. Studies have shown that people working from home are actually more productive and managers are now seeing the truth of that.
Basically, every fear you had about switching to working remotely has been busted. The world switched to this new normal almost overnight, and the ones who are doing it well are thriving.
The path forward
What this drastic change in work conditions has shown us is that working remotely is now an essential part of your business. The ability to quickly switch your entire mode of working is only possible because so much software and technology are now highly portable or available in the cloud. Staff has their work apps on their phones and home computers. We couldn’t have done this 15 years ago when we all still had an email server in the storeroom.
When you go back to your office to start to prepare for the easing of restrictions, you’re going to look at all those empty desks and wonder why they are there. Why are you paying overheads for a beautiful office when your staff can work from home? Why do you have a meeting room that sits empty most of the day? Why are you paying for an IT service when most of your apps are in the cloud and come with their own support? Why are you constantly worrying about public transport strikes and the lack of parking around your building?
And more crucially, why didn’t you believe that this could be done much, much earlier?
But let’s not dwell on the past. Now that you’re virtually running your business entirely virtually, you know what you can and can’t do. You know what procedures and tools need to be in place to make it flow effectively. So now you’re ready to take the next logical step: start hiring virtual staff.
A lot of business owners are nervous about hiring offshore staff because they’ve never worked remotely before. Well, that barrier has well and truly been smashed for you. Now you know that, yes, anybody you hire abroad can work just as easily with your systems and integrate into your team just as well as if you were all sitting in an office together.
We’re about to head into a recession, so reducing costs makes sense right now, no matter what position your business is in. You’re probably already thinking about which staff can keep working from home. You’ve no doubt started calculating how to cut back on your physical footprint and related costs. And if you’re here on the Shore Agents blog, you’re considering how you can build your business and complement your team with a virtual assistant.
If you’re not sure what exactly a real estate virtual assistant can do, check out our site. You’ll find lots of free resources that spell out exactly what tasks your real estate VA can take on, how much hiring a VA really costs, what to expect when working with an offshore provider, and so much more.
And if you have any questions that you can’t find the answers to, feel free to get in touch. We are the only dedicated offshore provider for real estate staff and we have ALL the answers.