This year, Dallas Emerson from The IT Guys hosted a Lunch and Learn at our Mission Capital offices. At no cost to our members, Dallas shared valuable tips and tricks for nonprofits interested in transitioning to a virtual office. This learning session was a great opportunity for members to ask specific questions about “the virtual office” and share their own experiences working remotely. Thank you, Dallas and The IT Guys for sharing your expertise to strengthen our nonprofit community!
Using technology to cut costs and simplify operations is a great goal for organizations, nonprofit or otherwise, but at a recent Mission Capital Lunch and Learn, we discussed an even bolder concept; using technology to replace the modern workplace.
Well, technology and the right mindset.
Before we dive in, let’s define The Virtual Office. While there is no universally agreed-on definition, the we’ll be working with the following definition: “Using technology to work seamlessly anywhere you need to with no central workplace.”
Just so everybody knows that this isn’t theoretical, I, and everyone in my company, work in a Virtual Office every day.
When it comes to working outside of the office, pretty much everyone knows how individuals work at home…but as one of the attendees at Lunch and Learn put it, “How do you make everyone feel a part of the mission… and get the work done?”
That question is answered by addressing two categories of issues—technology and mindset.
Technology issues are pretty easy to understand—they’re solved with gadgets, apps, or something else that’s physical. There’s good news about technology issues; we’ve pretty much all been trained to learn new technology, whether its phones, operating systems, computers, or TVs, we learn to deal with new things all the time.
So, what do we need from our technology, to make the Virtual Office Work? Security, accessibility, and mobility. Your agency’s information needs to be secure against loss/tampering. It also needs to be easily accessed by those who need to get to it, and your staff needs to be mobile if they aren’t working in an office.
Learning a new mindset, however, can be very difficult.
What mindsets to organizations need to cultivate? Adaptability and intentionality. More good news! Successful nonprofit leaders are very adaptable. Whether its meeting changing regulations, staff turnover, or a shifting donor base, nonprofits are constantly adapting to a changing world.
Intentionality is simple, but can be difficult to learn. In the virtual office, there are no more happenstance successes. You can’t just bump into someone and remember that you wanted to talk about a new project. Everything has to be done purposefully.
Let’s get into some specifics. There are four areas of most organizations’ operations that have to be addressed for work to go smoothly.
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