The Centr is a 100% virtual company that has been virtual for several years. Before going fully virtual we did have a brick and mortar location, and then at one point a hybrid design between a physical office and virtual one. But now having been virtual for so long we have learned to love being fully virtual, though it wasn’t without it’s kinks to begin with. Here are some things we have in our toolbox that have helped us enjoy being virtual and thrive as a virtual team. We hope this helps any businesses wanting to or needing to go virtual.
When your business is virtual you obviously have a team who is not physically together which can be a challenge. However, if you have the right people and understand their strengths then it’s so much easier to run an efficient virtual team. One thing that is helpful is to set very clear expectations about what success should look like for each individual, the team and the company as a whole. If these things are executed well and clearly communicated then you are starting off on the right track.
If you are a small virtual business it is a lot easier to be people driven. It’s easier to rely on your team to just know what to do and do it versus having a lot of established processes. But when you grow, relying on people to just know what to do becomes more and more difficult. That is where developing processes come in. However, beware of too much process. Having a lot of established processes, just like relying on people to know what they are doing too much, can be a double edged sword. If there is a process for everything then your team’s ability to think on their own two feet will erode over time and it will create more workflow issues then it solves. So finding an appropriate balance of people and process is necessary to function well virtually. A way to ensure that you aren’t getting crippled by process is just to create process as you go. Just doing the work is one of the best ways to identify effective processes. The more you physically do the task the more you find and refine your processes which then can be documented as you go. Without knowing it you can waste a lot of time trying to plan out processes only to find that how you thought it should work did not work. So don’t let creating processes cripple you and remember that your processes should always be designed to improve the human experience so if they aren’t doing that then you need to assess how to adjust the process or if it is even necessary.
Technology is clearly very important for a virtual team but we have to remember to keep our focus on how technology is serving us and enhancing the human experience. One thing we have done at The Centr that has been really effective for us is first we establish the right people in the right positions. Once that is done then we develop processes and lastly we use technology to help automate, systematize and streamline. This helps keep us growing in efficiency and reduce costs which is something we can extend to the businesses we work with. The same process can be implemented in just about any business going virtual.
Ultimately, the goal is just to have people, process and technology in place to help make your life easier and give yourself time and freedom to focus more on what is important to you.