Think of your organization as it is now. With over 65% of associations in the Nation’s Capital Region operating in a rented office space, you likely do too. Overhead is high with the costs of rent, phone system, equipment and furniture, cleaning service, security system, etc.
Now, imagine your same organization running efficiently without the physical office. Are most, if not all functions performed with the use of technology? How many of your staff do their day-to-day on computer? Do they need to be in the same space, on their computer to effectively operate? If so, why? Why not?
Rent is on the increase (cbc.ca) and nonprofits are feeling the squeeze. They won’t have as much money to advance their mission as they used to. Switching to a virtual office model can significantly reduce or eliminate those expenses.
Before you start packing though, here’s a few things to consider to set yourself up for success should you wish to move to a virtualized workplace model:
First and foremost, plan ahead! For every functional department of your organization, think
through every single process and system that operates day to day. This includes banking, memberships, events, governance, committees, sponsorships. Can you work together to document the process, and identify where and why people would need to talk in person, instead of over a conference or video call?
Hold a brainstorming meeting with all stakeholders. Identify every operation in each department and note who does what.
- At the end of the meeting, compile the results, note commonalities.
- Is all your current technology accessible from anywhere? If not, can another solution be implemented? What would that look like and would it affect other processes?
- Consider your staff. Are they interested in working remotely? Are they reliable and trustworthy? Could they work from home comfortably with weekly check-ins by phone or in person?
- Are Board and Committee meetings held in person? Would these stakeholders be okay with meeting by phone or video?
- Do you have walk-in traffic coming to your office? Why do they come in?
- Think about the events your organization holds. Can they be managed remotely until event day?
Another viable solution is a hybrid between working remotely and working from a rented office space where all operations can be conducted remotely and in person meetings can be held in on-demand shared spaces as required.
These are just a few generic considerations; your organization may have more, or less, components to consider. Working remotely is here to stay and has many benefits, however, it’s not for everyone and it’s not a fit for every organization. Consider your organization’s model and operating needs carefully.
About the author:
Barbara Best, CEO of Virtual Works Inc., has over 20 years’ corporate experience in the areas of administration, accounting and management. She was named as a finalist for the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Professional Services of the Year Award in November 2007, and held the internationally recognized CAPM credential from the Project Management Institute 2008 – 2013. In 2011, she was nominated for a Businesswoman of the Year Award. She was also a teacher with the Virtual Assistant Training Program, the course that she took twelve years ago when starting her practice and was an instructor for Algonquin College’s inaugural Virtual Assistant Certificate Program in January 2012. Among many live presentations on the subject of Virtual Assistance, Barbara has also been a guest speaker for RBC’s International Women’s Day celebrations and a guest lecturer atUniversity of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management.
About Virtual Works Inc.:
Since 2004, Barbara has balanced career, family and community to grow Virtual Works Inc. into a total office management solution comprising a team of core consultants and an extended network of complementary service providers. She uses local talent because she believes in supporting Ottawa’s economic development first and foremost, and by extension, Canada’s growth and prosperity. The added benefit is that clients receive personalized attention by individuals who understand and can relate to their local work cultures, resulting in a growing list of repeat or long-term client relationships.