How to Best Manage Working in a Virtual Agency Space

I’ve just started working for a virtual agency which is very different from anywhere else I’ve ever worked – in a good way.  What’s more, it is a startup and getting the basics in place was a challenge in itself.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Mobile phones

Finding a reliable mobile phone provider with great customer service was a task on its own.  Having fallen at the first hurdle and having to deal with a large corporate company, offering terrible customer service, was like ‘pulling my hair out’.  I eventually had to change our supplier.  Not the best start, but we luckily found a competent company with good, local customer service which has made life so much easier for all of us – especially with the core team travelling around the world.

Servers

These were something I knew zilch about and had to learn very quickly. (I still don’t know the half of it).   IT people seem to speak a different language and finding a company that was able to communicate in layman terms was magic.

Servers are the backbone  of many businesses, without servers we can’t work and our core team and our collaborators need access 24/7.  Having an efficient, secure way of keeping all our client data safe is paramount.  You also need to put in place a silky smooth process for all your collaborators to use, so they know exactly how to save files correctly and safely.  Not only that, it ensures anyone that needs them, can find them, making your operations far more efficient and effective.  Time is money, remember.

When you’re not in a communal  office, you can’t just walk over and ‘ ask’ someone.

An awesome IT company should be one of your best collaborators.

This is what you need to look out for:

Speed.  speedtest.net is a godsend.  Knowing your ping, download and upload speeds are vital to virtual working.   There is nothing more infuriating than seeing the ‘rainbow wheel of doom’ whilst waiting for documents to up and download..  Still not quite sure what Ping is though! Liaising with cloud service providers to help deploy and scale applications that run simultaneously on multiple computers is a necessity too, although, ssshhh, I’m still not entirely sure what this means, but it works!

Calendar sharing

Get that in the calendar!  – Being able to share calendars is life changing in this role.  I now know everyone is and where they should be – annoying for them – but great for me and the greater good of the team.  Meetings can be scheduled with ease and without conflict and you can start to see how people like to work and work around that accordingly, to best harness performance and results.

It’s of vital importance to listen to both your collaborators and clients to see what they want from a virtual design agency and we’re constantly improving our processes. 

Travel

Travel can be trying at times, especially when not everyone lives within 10miles radius of an international airport.  Try and provide and accommodate for this, making travel as hassle free as humanly possible.  Everything is now on-line, so finding and booking travel is much easier.  Especially using sites like Booking.com, which do everything in one click!

Collaborators database

Having a database for our collaborators to store their data, informs us of how they want to work, where they like to work and what their skills are.

It really goes without saying in 2017, that you should be working with people who enjoy what they do and are the best at doing it.

A good and sturdy bespoke on-line application which allows collaborators to enter all their important details is a necessity for them and us.  Knowing as much as you can, allows you to give them projects they’ll enjoy.  We find most of collaborators are screaming out to work virtually.  Why do you need an office when anywhere can be your office.

Zoom zoom zoom

Zoom – where would I be without Zoom!  Zoom is my virtual board room of choice and oomI just can’t get enough of it.  It’s great quality and supremely user friendly.  We find  clients and collaborators are fans of it to once introduced and it makes it so much easier to stay connected.

There are plenty of fun things you can do with it. It’s important to have a social relationship with all your work colleagues and we favour a little virtual drinking on Fridays. This allows us to meet and connect with our collaborators informally and gives them a chance to see who we are.  It’s always nice to put a face to an email and feel free to join us sometime.

It’s of vital importance to listen to both your collaborators and clients to see what they want from a virtual design agency and we’re constantly improving our processes.  Having an office that can be anywhere in the world is awesome.

We’re always looking a new apps and systems to make virtual working more efficient.

Paula Bains

Operations and Co-ordinator at Brown&co

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