Having office locations in multiple cities can certainly be worthwhile if you have a sizeable customer base to support within each area. However, even in cases where company expansion is beneficial, business networks aren’t always easy to facilitate and maintain in the long-term, and there are a number of considerations that need to be handled before streamlined productivity can be achieved across your entire network of offices. Thus, you might want to start by heeding these 4 tips for managing multiple office locations successfully:
1. Utilize Hybrid Networking in the Cloud
When it comes to choosing how your office computers will securely connect to each other, you might be trying to decide between Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs). Although the latter typically costs more to install and maintain, it also provides heightened privacy and security, as well as greater control over reliability. Hybrid networking – using multiple networking methods at the same time – seems to be increasingly popular with businesses that want the highest level of performance and redundancy. Many busy companies with multiple offices are using corporate communications services like Masergy to set up SIP trucking and other advanced networking features within their proprietary communication systems.
2. Use Video Conferencing to Facilitate Long Distance Meetings
Once you have your infrastructure set up and secured, the next step is to choose how you’ll be handling communication between the supervisors and/or employees at each location. Although social media, chat clients, VoIP, and conventional phone calling are sufficient on most days, periodically checking in on the status and appearance of an office space via routine video conferences may also be a good idea. This is an easy way to hold face-to-face meetings remotely, so it’s definitely worth considering as an alternative to traveling to each office location on a monthly or quarterly basis.
3. Choose a Reliable Project Management Platform
There’s a huge selection of corporate collaboration tools and platforms available online, from Basecamp to Slack and dozens of others. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re designed to expedite and centralize tasks within a cloud-based interface that enhances productivity and collaborative workflow. By ensuring your workforce is able to manage projects efficiently regardless of physical location, you extend your office out into the field via the use of connected mobile apps and other integrated remote solutions that keep employees in touch while on the go.
4. Hire Competent Managers for Each Site or Provide Comprehensive Training
Finally, once you’ve taken care of the IT, networking, security, and collaborative aspects, it’s time to make sure you’re hiring the right people to oversee each location. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a professional with the experience and credentials necessary to prove their eligibility and competence. However, if salary budgeting is an issue and/or you’ve already hired managers for your locations, you can design and implement training systems, trial periods, and monitoring methods to track and improve the performance of your office managers.
Preparing for Expansion to Avoid Unnecessary Mishaps
After reading all this, some business owners with multiple offices may be wishing that they had known all of the above before launching their new locations, as “an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.” The good news is that failing to prepare doesn’t have to be a deal breaker so long as you make the necessary adjustments before the company’s performanc