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The Central Midwest District UUA merged in 2013 with the Districts of Heartland and Prairie Star to form the MidAmerica Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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How do We Get to Virtual Office?

When the idea of going Virtual was first broached, it seemed like a good idea to think through the implications for daily operations. Following that I thought about the logistics of actually making “Virtuality” happen. The results of those two activities represent areas of issues that may be of interest to congregations, so they are going to be the Categories that this Blog will be organized under.

How to handle operations in a Virtual Office:

OPERATING FUNCTIONS:

* Bookkeeping
  • Already done online; location is not an issue;
  • One potential problem is separation of income accounting & deposits processing;
    Need to set regular meeting time for check (& other document) signatures
  • Regular Congregational Statements mailing
* Web site
  • Already done online; location is not an issue
* Shared Server Files
  • Explore shared file space online
  • Explore shared files on web site
  • Explore use of PC Anywhere or alternative
* Fax service
  • Could use an all-in-one fax/printer if we have our major printing tasks done by a mailing service
* Mail / Shipping
  • P.O. Box in Evanston for incoming;
  • Any USPS mailbox for outgoing;
  • UPS Store (if need a box) or call for UPS pickup using our account
* Storage / working space
  • Rent a nice climate-controlled storage locker for files & put in a table & chair for working with files;
  • See if UCE would rent space a day or so a week and space for a file?
* Staffing
  • All staff working virtually
  • Regular (weekly) face-to-face meetings w/ all local staff; 2x/yr for all staff
* Office Equipment
  • Postage meter – P’s house?
  • Use Stamps.com?
* Photocopying
  • Kinko’s, Copy Cat?
* Telephone
  • Use answering service, cell phones;
  • use service to roll calls over to all three cell phones (P, I, D)
* Database Maintenance / Update
  • Changes go to Office Asst to be done at their virtual office.
* Filing
  • Fewer hard files maintained
  • Current
  • Corporate files stored in one cabinet
  • Maintain a portable Office with files used daily, necessary tools (calculator, office supples)

PROGRAMS:

* Chalice Lighters

  • Documents published in-house as now
  • Printing & Mailing handled by a mailing service

* Consulting Program

  • Most contacts by email already
  • Hard documents continue to be done as now; office location is irrelevant

* District Assembly

  • Annual Report production & mailing + Document published in-house as now + Printing & Mailing handled by a mailing service
  • DA Brochure & Flyer + Documents published in-house as now + Printing & Mailing handled by a mailing service
  • DA Congregational Mailing + Documents published in-house as now + Printing & Mailing handled by a mailing service
  • DA Delegate Mailing + Documents published in-house as now + Printing & Mailing handled by a mailing service + Provide online copies of documents for printing on site for delegates who need them
  • DA Venue Preparations + Planning & documents done in-house with at least one trip to venue

* Annual APF Pledges & District Directory

  • Document publishing in-house as now
  • Printing & Mailing handled by a mailing service
  • DB Changes to Office Asst to be done at their virtual office

* APF reporting

  • Done by Office Asst at their virtual office with info received through email
  • Think about entering APF payments by congregations through one system (QuickBooks) only rather than two, so that data is only entered and stored once

* CMwD Kiosk -- If we continue to do this, we will have to have a place to do the copying and collating. We could copy at a copy service, and could probably do the collating at UCE. If worst came to worst, we could do it around my dining room table.

How to get from a brick-and-mortar office to a Virtual Office

* Scan all files

  • Put in order to get Ricoh to scan
  • Temp Emp to start scanning
  • Organize files logically & burn to DVDs
  • Determine offsite storage options

* Shred files

  • Call Vendor(s) and get bids
  • Gather & get trash files to vendor
  • Get certificate of destruction

* Decide which furniture & equipment to keep

  • Make an assets inventory
  • PB make a first cut on what office needs to keep
  • Others to opt what remaining items to take
  • Dispose of furniture & equipment not being kept
  • Research options for disposal
  • Decide on disposal methods & make appointments
  • Dispose of furniture & equipment
  • Set up movers to deliver furniture & equipment where it goes

* Cancel Leases

  • Find leases & find notice dates
  • Cancel lease on photocopier
  • Cancel office lease
  • Cancel Phone & DSL line
* Equipment for Offices -- Emps to decide what they’d need to work virtually optimally

* Set up online storage; Dell Optiplex as a server?

* Rent storage space

  • Life Storage in Morton Grove (Oakton & Nagle, just east of Caldwell): 10?x10? space $150/mo; 10?x15? space $185/mo; 10?x5? space $79/mo)

* Rent a mail drop with a street address

  • UPS Store on Sherman in Evanston
  • Send notice out to all contacts

* Set up Skype accounts for conference calls, videoconferencing

* Consider BaseCamp for projects & active storage

* Figure out what additional equipment needed

* Consider changing bank accounts to one that will let us do online bill payment

* Close Office & Go Virtual on July 1, 2008