Often in business, we get so involved in our day to day repetitive actions that we fail to plan for the unexpected. In recent months, we’ve seen a number of our Internet friends have their businesses interrupted by a family crisis. This can not only be disruptive to your Revenue stream, but also, prove very difficult to get back into the flow.
Today, we are proud to feature as our guest Blogger, Suzanne Holman, MAEd, who addresses some easy actions you can take to prepare for such an Event.
Have you thought about what you would do if you had unexpected life challenges that pulled you away from your office? Thinking about this ahead of time and developing a contingency plan can prevent the panic of needing to take quick action to relocate.
* Aging parents needing your support
* A medical condition that prevents you from getting to your usual office space
* Adult children needing support with their children
* A spouse or child hospitalized at a distance from your home
Let’s look at what is required to have an efficient virtual office.
1) Internet Connection
When you get to your remote location, you’ll need to investigate possibilities for connection. What I found when I was in the Seattle Children’s Hospital environment was a room for parents that had several connected computers and wireless for laptops. There was also a computer in their family resources room.
Many libraries now have both computers and laptop wireless connections. Internet cafes may also be available somewhere nearby.
For phone connection, it’s great to have an inexpensive phone card set to go. I purchased one at a popular warehouse store and can then recharge it by phone as it runs out of minutes. With that information available, you are never without a long distance connection. Cell service is not always available.
2) Quiet environment
If you need to have phone calls with clients, you’ll need to figure out a way to create a quiet environment. This can be a challenge because what seems like a quiet spot can get noisy. I did find conference rooms in both the hospital and in Ronald McDonald house where I was able to do client calls.
You may also be able to use someone else’s office or rent an office space temporarily.
3) Portable filing system
Get a small accordion file folder that can fit into your briefcase where you can keep paper files that are essential for you to have to run your business. You can also store office files in the Google mail program. These can also be made available for colleagues for editing and sharing by using Google docs.
4) Online accounting program
Quickbooks has an online version that you can easily access from any computer enabling you to keep up on your accounting no matter where you are.
5) Online calendar and contacts
Having an online calendar and contacts makes it easy to keep up with all need information. Printing out the schedule is a good idea since you could be caught without internet connection at some point. I also use an online mail program so that I have all its functionality no matter where I connect to the internet.
Along with these supports for working remotely, having an assistant or coworker who can take care of tasks locally will be a great help for you to keep things running smoothly. This requires some proactive preparation so that systems are in place ready to be activated.
Just as with disaster preparedness, taking steps to be ready for an unexpected life challenge will help you feel empowered to deal with all the various aspects of your life even when they are difficult.