Working virtually and remotely will change your processes and how you do your work. The way you did it in the office will be different when your employees work from home, and your clients can only be served virtually. Most of these changes in processes will happen on the fly.
As you make these changes to your processes, document them.
Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects allow creating blueprints for different processes, or you can use Zoho Orchestly that will manage all your processes.
Your tool will automatically notify you of what you need to do, and if you’re a manager, it will help you keep a tab on all your team’s work items.
If you decide that working virtually and remotely is something that you want to do long past the impacts of COVID-19, make sure you document the changes to your processes and discuss how those changes are taking place. IT solutions like Zoho Orchestly can help here. You will be able to get more reports and dashboards on demand.
For a process to flow smoothly, all the information about the process, like the requestor’s name, its priority, and related documentation must also be shared. When you’re all sitting one desk away from each other, getting what you need is easy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when you work remotely. Missing important documents, or sending outdated ones is a risk, and it might not be discovered until much later.
This is also a time of experimentation with your processes. Take time to try something new and differentiated with how you work and engage with your clients. Many firms never thought they could work virtually but had to because COVID-19 forced the change. Think through whether there is a better way to work with your team and your clients and make the changes now to those processes so you can work more effectively in the future.
You can’t serve your clients and your team if your firm is not doing what it takes to ensure its survival into the future. One of the most important ways your firm can do this is by ensuring it has the cash flow needed to pay employees and keep the virtual lights on.
This means ensuring you are paid electronically for your services regularly versus issuing invoices, hoping your clients pay timely, and then tracking down checks from clients. Getting paid electronically allows you to have the cash flow predictably. This ensures that you can pay your staff and not have to lay them off. In Zoho Books, you can allow electronic payments via Paypal, Paypal business with e-checks, Stripe, Authorize.net, WorldPay or Brain Tree, and simple wire transfers or bank transfers.
It’s also important to make sure everyone in your virtual firm is proactively helping your clients through this. If your firm takes a reactive or passive approach, your clients won’t find your services valuable, and when they need to make cuts in expenses, yours will be the first to go. The goal for your firm right now is to ensure business continuity. Making sure your firm is in a good position will allow you to serve your clients, ensure your employees still have a job, and ensure your business will get through this.
5. Legal agreements and security
In my consulting business, all my clients are being served virtually.
Together with lawyers, I prepared special legal agreements, like NDA, cooperation with vendors, or project-related ones that can be signed off virtually by using Zoho Sign or Adobe Sign. Of course, it depends on the country and the value of such an agreement (sometimes you need to sign off personally). Still, overall such apps can be easily integrated with your Zoho CRM, and you can track the expiration date, details of the agreement, products connected with it. It saved me many hours of commuting to/from clients. I believe that they are also satisfied with such a solution.
Of course, you also need to think about security because your company data can be easily exposed to others or copied by your employees, you need to monitor what your employees do during their working hours. There are some tools that help in such control, but it is an additional cost for your company.
Summarizing more and more businesses will have to switch to virtual online sales and operations, especially during Covid 19 time.
It opens your virtual firm to the global market but it can cause some legal issues, more investments in IT software, and the introduction of more controls.
These five considerations to making the transition to a virtual firm are important in thinking through impacts on your people, clients, processes, and virtual firm. Making thoughtful considerations on each of these areas will ensure your firm can weather this time and make the business model changes so that your firm can thrive in the future.