Due to the skyrocketing prices of commercial office space, demand for virtual and co-working options have gone up. While many start-ups do need a lot of space, some just need a location. When it comes to a virtual office, start-ups don’t need to be present to have an address. This type of service will provide an address at a well-known business park. Plus, additional services can be added such as a virtual receptionist and mail forwarding. Many cash-strapped entrepreneurs love the idea. In fact, companies offering virtual and co-working spaces are cropping up all over the world.

Are virtual offices a successful strategy?

For starters, your business can save thousands of dollars a month in rent. Think of how that money can be spent on innovation, as opposed to operating costs. Are you afraid of allowing employees to work from home? You might be surprised to learn that many employees can actually get more work done from home since they can work conveniently, and at any time of day.

Plus, if you need to meet with clients–you can always rent a meeting space too. The key is to approach virtual offices strategically. You still need to collaborate with your virtual team. This article provides a handy guide on 10 tools you can use to run your virtual office.

It’s all about communication

If it is critical for you to know what everyone is up to, then simple communication is the answer. With that regard, there are a wide range and number of tools that you can use. It centers around your comfort level. It is important to realize that not all employees are created equal. Some prefer email, while others like to talk on the phone. You shouldn’t base your assessment of your virtual employee on their communication preferences.

It should boil down to performance. There are many studies that show and prove how phone calls waste time. It’s much more efficient to send a quick email or instant message than to get on a phone or video call and waste precious time around small talk. Instead, set reasonable expectations, and let your employees prove themselves. You don’t have to micromanage staff that delivers. They know when they, and where they work best; allow them the freedom to succeed in their own way.

Set definite goals

Another key strategy for success, with a virtual office and virtual team, is to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding your company’s objectives. Your staff needs to understand their weekly goals and deadlines. Yet, you should also take their schedule and feedback into consideration. Since this is a two-way street, it needs to work for all parties involved. As long as everyone understands what is expected of them, then let your team carry out their tasks individually.

Keep your business visible

In terms of local SEO, having a virtual office will help you get major visibility. The reason is Google won’t list a local business unless it has a physical address. There is no exception, they won’t take P.O. boxes. So, why do you need to be listed on Google local? The reason is most searchers will patronize a local establishment first.

Just think of your own search habits. You want to first look at businesses within a 20-mile radius of your location. If you are not listed, then users will search for your competitors. On the other hand, if they notice yours is down the road–then you can say “Hello” to a bevy of new clients.

Improve your employee morale

Your employees will love you for allowing them to work from home. But, they will also appreciate that you value your company enough to keep and maintain a virtual office space. This improves employee moral because your staff will feel proud to share that their company is not just one of many invisible online companies.

Of course, it’s not a bad thing to be online–but, it’s nice to have an address. You can still keep in touch virtually, but you know you are helping to increase production and reduce turnover. The longer you can retain your employees, the better off your business will be.

Enable collaboration

As the saying goes, “united we stand, divided we fall.” This is a saying that has stood the test of time, and it works for virtual offices as well. Team members, who work towards a common goal, will produce better results. Another saying is “A house divided cannot stand.” As you can imagine, infighting will produce nothing but negativity. It is important to employ the right strategies that keep your employees motivated to work for you. If they produce good work, you can bet other companies will be vying for their services. Here are 38 engagement ideas your employees will love.

So, it is up to you to maintain good relations with your best employees to ensure they don’t feel like leaving your company. Be honest about your business goals, and how their participation is valued in reaching those objectives. Engage in positive reinforcement. LET THEM KNOW when they’ve done a good job; don’t hold back. And, with a virtual office, all of this can be done via email or instant messaging.