5 Essentials in Your Virtual Toolbox

Integrating or establishing a virtual workplace is not a luxury anymore; it is a necessity of staying consistently competitive and available. Whether starting or expanding a business, or even changing your own schedule a virtual office is something we all already have the basic tools to establish. It is imperative not to lose efficiency or compromise the integrity of your time during the workday. Being “In the Office” can be done from anywhere, unfortunately even on vacation we are reachable. Rarely does one receive voicemail unless it’s intentional. Sometimes even working outside of the office provides for fewer distractions, but keeping focus can be difficult. Remaining professional during business hours does not mean we have to be seated behind our desks for 8+ hours, it simply translates into how efficiently we manage our time and finances.

  1. Cross platform Calendar

If you think you can remember everything that you have scheduled you should defragment your brain first. Realistically we plan things, make note of them, then forget them or remember at the last minute resulting in rescheduling or chaos that could have been avoided completely. Pick a calendar application or program and one that has expansive capabilities. Most importantly choose one that you can commit to using everyday (especially while training yourself) and make certain it is synced with all of your devices. Options for automatic calendaring make things seamless when sending or accepting invitations to events, webinars, meetings, etc.

  1. To Do List, Task Manager or Time Clock

With so many ways to get things done we often lose track of how much we actually got done in a day. We all have things on our “To Do” List that we avoid doing and keep getting pushed down on the priority list. It’s okay to procrastinate; in fact it’s perfectly fine to keep pushing that task to the bottom of the list. The most important thing is that it’s on the list and keeps resurfacing. Getting a program to essentially nag you can be empowering, especially when you’ve run out of excuses or other things that are “more important” to do. “I was so busy all day, but it doesn’t feel as though I’ve made a dent” is a common sentiment. Consider using a time clock as a way to track how much (or little) we have done in a specified amount of time. Using a time clock for your own personal accountability and knowledge allows you to be more realistic with the jobs you take on during the course of the day and can even determine what time(s) of the day you are most productive.

  1. Skype, Google Phone, or other conferencing app

Communication is key, it’s not an overrated slogan, it is true in both your business and personal life. Being accessible, utilizing up to date technology and mastering your main modes of communication demonstrates that you are always available at the convenience of your clients. It reaffirms that their concerns are immediately addressed, leaving no space for issues to fall through the cracks. It is time to accept the fact that the “Picture Phone” is here and you’re too late to buy an answering machine or VCR.

  1. Trending News Feed or Other Brain Food (including inspirational quotes)

Keeping your mind and spirit stimulated is the Viagra for work, it brings the passion when there is a lack thereof and stimulates your senses. Staying current with news and information relating to your industry reflects that you mean business, are knowledgeable and informed, and ultimately results in building trust and confidence. Motivation takes maintenance. Being cognizant of the fact that your mind and body are your vehicles and responsibility to keep “tuned up”, so it’s best to feed it often and with good food.

  1. Virtual Office

Logistically you need an office, or at least a business phone number and physical or virtual address to be legitimate and “open for business”. Renting or leasing office space is a large expense besides just the square footage rate, all of the other monthly expenses and liabilities could put your business in the red. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, nibble on a virtual office while you are building your clientele or product. Paying for only what you need is a viable solution and in many cases the only reasonable option in corporate real estate, especially in high end markets.

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