At a time when many organisations are looking to support their workforces with more flexible, part-time and remote working opportunities, it can be a challenge to keep remote employees feeling connected, motivated and, importantly, part of a team.
Not at OfficeHQ!
OfficeHQ provide virtual reception solutions to businesses in Australia, the US and the UK. Their Australian headquarters are located on the Sunshine Coast. All eighty OfficeHQ virtual receptionists work remotely from their own individual home offices in the region.
“There’s such a strong sense of comradery and mateship amongst all us receptionists”, says Mitra an OfficeHQ virtual receptionist. “We have a genuine care for each other both professionally and personally”.
Debra, another receptionist who has been with OfficeHQ for over ten years says, “I find OfficeHQ to be very family oriented. They strive to assist with balancing our working and family life and maintaining this win-win relationship.”
OfficeHQ are Finalists in the Sunshine Coast Business Awards in the Professional Services Category. Winners are being announced at an Awards Gala this Saturday night at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort. Mitra and Debra are two of five lucky receptionists David Atkinson, OfficeHQ CEO, randomly selected to join him and other team members at the event.
David says, “Our receptionists are gold. They work very hard answering and managing all our diverse clients’ calls.” He adds, “It’s very important our receptionists feel valued and part of the team. Unfortunately, only some can be there with me on the night to see if we win!”
So what does OfficeHQ do exactly to create such a friendly, supportive culture, with a family feel and connected team spirit, when the majority of workers are remote?
Luisa Di-Finizio, Global Head of Contact Centres, joined OfficeHQ in May 2018 and is also based on the Sunshine Coast. Luisa says, “There are a number of key areas we focus on to help build and maintain our positive team spirit amongst our virtual receptionists.” She adds, “This starts with the company culture and encouraging open, honest communication and great team work.”
Luisa explains that at OfficeHQ new virtual receptionists are given first-class training and on-going guidance. Once training is complete and they start taking calls, they’re supported by group and private chat. OfficeHQ virtual receptionists use this to seek advice, share information and provide guidance to fellow work colleagues. Colette, another OfficeHQ virtual receptionist who will be attending the Awards Gala says, “We keep in touch during the day via the chat system we have running on our screen. We’re all very caring and supportive of each other”.
Luisa outlines another way OfficeHQ virtual receptionists connect with each other is through quarterly team meetings, which are held via a conference call. Everyone is encouraged to participate and is given the opportunity to put forward ideas that may be of benefit to the team and company. Colette affirms this saying, “Everyone is encouraged to participate and is given the opportunity to put forward ideas that may be of benefit to the team and company.”
Recognition is also incredibly important and this is done via WooBoard, an employee recognition platform. Luisa says, “WooBoard is the fun and friendly way we keep our employees happy and engaged.” She adds, “With peer to peer recognition on the company values and monthly recognition for great performance, WooBoard is the modern way to connect a remote workforce but also provide a platform to appreciate, recognise, and engage with all team members.”
It’s not only all about work! At OfficeHQ social events occur regularly. Recent events have included a high tea, climbing Mt Coolum, a bowling night, Mexican dinner and Christmas in July. Virtual receptionist Colette says, “The social events throughout the year give us the opportunity to catch up face-to-face, which is so beneficial.” Louise, another receptionist who organises the events says, “The idea is to connect the team and provide the opportunity to reach out in person if anyone needs help…or to just catch up and have a bit of fun and a chat!” She adds, “Next year we’re organizing an indoor OfficeHQ netball team and we already have a lawn bowls dinner event booked for February 2019.”
In keeping with the tight-knit family spirit and team culture, Louise also started The OfficeHQ Community this year. This is made up of virtual receptionists and was set up to provide practical support for any team members who needed a bit of a helping hand for whatever reason. The OfficeHQ Community came about as a receptionist started fighting breast cancer earlier in the year. Weekly home cooked meals were provided for the receptionist and her family. Louise says, “Over 70 meals in total were cooked! Her treatment is finishing soon so we’re holding a pink celebration.”
As excitement around attending the Awards Gala builds, the five receptionists have set up a Facebook Group so all receptionists can feel part of the experience.
Petra says, “The moment I first knew I had made the right decision to work at OfficeHQ was straight after training on my first day in my home office!” Debra says, “Straight away I could tell the girls were lovely, the work was satisfying and the convenience of working from home, so I could be there for my school-aged children during holidays or sickness, was a bonus.”
While it remains to be seen if OfficeHQ will win a Sunshine Coast Business Award this Saturday night, David CEO says, “I honestly feel with the people we have, what we’ve achieved and where we’re headed, OfficeHQ is already a team of winners.”