There are many benefits to a virtual office and a lot of businesses are moving in that direction as a cost-cutting and productivity-increasing measure. But is the chamber ready for the move? Here are some benefits and things to consider:
This post was written pre-COVID 19 and we have since expanded and updated the topic with this article with more details on shifting to a virtual chamber office.
Benefits of a Virtual Chamber Office
- No rent. If you’re currently paying rent for your location, you can cut a large line item out of your budget. If you own your property, you may be able to rent it out to other businesses or create a collaborative space for additional revenue if you went virtual.
- Increased productivity. Multiple companies like JD Edwards and American Express that have instituted work from home arrangements see more productivity out of telecommuting employees than those in the office.
- Increased employee satisfaction. Chambers don’t always have the funds to give large increases each year. But establishing a work from home benefit has been found to increase employee satisfaction for some people more than a raise. This type of flexibility means a lot to Gen Y as well. They rated working from home as an 8 out of 10 for impact on overall job satisfaction.
- Reduced turnover. Chambers lose employees to members all the time. While it may be difficult to compete with corporate America’s salaries, opening a virtual office and allowing for work from home opportunities help make the chamber competitive.
Things to Consider Before Opening a Virtual Office
There are a lot of benefits with a virtual chamber office but there are also a few things to consider such as:
- You needn’t go from one extreme to another. Try it out with limited in-office hours first before making the jump.
- This may not be a great idea for a chamber that has a lot of walk-in traffic and one that doubles as a CVB.
- If you’re not in the office anyway, why pay for something you’re not using?
- Do you have the technology in place to work virtually? You’ll want files in the cloud and some sort of membership management system in place. You may also want to consider assignment/task-flow software such as Slack or Trello so everyone knows the status of all projects.
- Decide how you will handle paying for office equipment. Will you pay for a portion of cellphone use? Will you issue laptops or require everyone to use their own? How will tech issues be handled?
- Start thinking about how a virtual chamber could lead the way for virtual memberships. What would that look like?
Is your chamber office virtual? What advice would you give the group on transitioning from brick and mortar to telecommuting? Share it here.