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Going Green by Going Virtual - Top 10 Tips For Creating a Virtual Work Environment

Many companies are supporting a virtual work environment, which means that their employees have the freedom to work from wherever they wish. These companies don't believe in long drawn out meetings, endless phone calls, and wasteful "office chatter". However, they do support work/life balance and team building. Because of this, these companies are often far more efficient than most, i.e., work that a normal 40 hour a week employee can do, their employees typically get it done in about 15-20. Also, companies that choose to go virtual have an overhead that is extremely low, are reducing their carbon footprint by reducing waste.

Here are the top 10 tips for taking your office virtual.

1. Be comfortable with the technology - Instant Messaging Programs, Skype or another web based phone system (for international calls) and e-mail are all necessities when going virtual.

2. Phone service - is a good, reliable internet phone service provider. You buy the phones, give them to your employees, and can have anywhere from 1-4 extensions. As long as your employees have internet connections at home, they plug them in, and calls can be transferred to them just like you're in an office. It doesn't affect their internet connection. This is an inexpensive alternative to the larger phone companies.

3. File sharing - A great file sharing program like or Google Docs, helps to eliminate the need to print out large documents

4. Virtual faxing: The online fax service,, is ideal for sending and receiving faxes. Your documents can be scanned, uploaded and sent, just like a real fax machine. You also get your own fax number with whatever area code you'd like.

5. Be flexible - Find other places to work, rather than the home office, at least twice per week. This change of environment will help to keep your mind sharp, and eliminate the onset of boredom. Remember, you're doing this to stay away from cube life, not to enhance it. If you don't need to be by the phone all day, or don't mind making calling back from your cell phone, find a local library, coffee shop, or outdoor venue that you can work from. This will keep things interesting.

6. Regular meetings - Have regular weekly meetings with your staff - with a pre-set agenda for each meeting. Keep these meetings to no more than 1.5 hours. Encourage everyone to become prepared with a brief summary of their reports, and any un-resolved issues that weren't able to be solved during the week. This also encourages team building.

7. No matter who you are meeting with, always have an agenda and stick to it

8. Be-communicative - Encourage lots of communication between your co-workers and employees.

9. Independent contractors - Look into hiring independent contractors. Websites such as, and are good places to find qualified people to do projects that you just don't have the time for.

10. Tracking - Track the results of your virtual program and record how much you are spending, vs. how much you are saving by going virtual.

Although working virtually may not be for everyone (surgeons, heavy equipment operators, actors, etc.), there are many opportunities for those that would like to ditch their office and have more flexibility in their work life.

Since 2002, we have been providing marketing departments, under the direction of Prachel Carter, to companies who just don't have the time to handle it themselves. We have assisted over 200 busy managers and entrepreneurs with marketing support tasks such as News Releases, Copywriting, Marketing Research, Customer Surveys, and Brochure Development & Design. Because we are a Green company, we offer our services primarily to companies that are Eco-Friendly. Visit our site at