With the ongoing COVID-19 ravaging across countries without any end date in sight, businesses have been forced to move most, if not all, of their operations online. Whether you’re one of those businesses affected by the crisis or if you’ve always been running an online business but is looking for ways to streamline it, follow these five tips:

Hire the Right Team

A fully remote workforce requires the right team dynamic who share similar values, goals, and attitudes. These people thrive in a remote setting and can communicate their thoughts effectively. Working remote isn’t a routine everyone can effectively manage; it takes a high level of focus, self control, and task management to get anything done. You should also limit your team size to essential employees. This reduces costs and makes collaboration simpler.

Set Rules and Goals For Virtual Meetings

Even online businesses bear the occasional burden of team meetings. It’s a lot trickier, however, to plan and execute a virtual meeting since you have certain logistics to deal with, such as audio quality for each participant, background noises, different time zones, etcetera. Set basic guidelines for your virtual meetings, such as using headphones to block out ambient noise and having each employee write at least one topic/concern that they want to discuss with the group.

Before starting your virtual meeting, know what goals you want to accomplish from it. Prioritize what information should be shared with your team members and what issues should be addressed.

Make Information Easy to Access

Having your business operate virtually means there aren’t any file cabinets or cubicle neighbors to get information from when your employees need help. Use one centralized virtual location for all your data. Having multiple tools for data storage and management will only leave more security loopholes that hackers and their malware can expose, and make it more difficult for your employees to manage. Construct a “knowledge space” where your employees can get technical and procedural help from. This minimizes any redundant inquiries or miscommunication between your team members.

Automate Every Task you Can

Use technology to automate redundant tasks in your day-to-day operations. This applies to both online and offline businesses. For instance, a hospital or clinic can integrate healthcare automation software to improve their response times, patient scheduling, data logs, etcetera. Many automation software programs also have mobile versions, allowing users to access the program’s tools and services from anywhere and at any time. This yields better collaboration amongst teams, regardless of size.

Protect Your Data

Virtual businesses are especially prone to malware attacks and security breaches. Even the most minor security issues could lead to thousands of dollars worth of damage plus the loss of trust and confidence from your customers. To keep your virtual business safe, pick a reliable hosting service provider and have your website running on HTTPS. This offers an extra layer of security between your site and server. Another simple but powerful move is to keep all your software programs up to date, whether it’s a collaboration platform or an antivirus program.

Protecting your data should fall under the responsibilities of everyone in the company, and not just you. Hackers commonly get backdoor access to your business’ data through employees who are careless enough to open a sketchy email or click on a seemingly harmless link. Train your employees to spot these malware and phishing techniques.

Improving your business’ virtual operations is all about automating what you can, forming the right team and training them to the teeth, using the best tools for the job, and setting procedures for how tasks should be done.

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