Coronavirus Causes Companies to Reconsider Telecommuting Tools
Mention telecommuting to someone and it’s almost a given they’ll joke about working in pajamas, or voice concerns over productivity. However, now that Covid-19 (coronavirus) has sparked serious concerns about workforce safety, there’s no question that telecommuting is a viable way to curtail the spread of this current viral contagion.
Recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) request for exposed individuals to self-quarantine, has increased the needs for employers to support remote working, but telecommuting companies were on the rise well before recent events. According to Gallup, there has been a 37 percent increase in telecommuting over the past decade. Even more interesting is that Gallup also reported that 58 percent of managers believe employees who work from home are as productive (if not more so) than those who work in the office. This opinion likely stems from the many cloud-based technology tools now available to make it easier than ever to be a part of the virtual workforce.
Watch Our 5-Minute Telecommuter Tools Overview to See How Clarity Supports Remote Workers
The following are five tools every organization should implement to help employees get the most out of any work-from-home arrangement:
Flexible Business Telephone Service
One of the challenges with telecommuting is that even though employees often work in different places (such as client sites, home offices, and company offices), they’re still expected to pick up inbound callers on the first ring. By using a business phone system that gives employees one identity across all their devices, they can seamlessly use voice, mobile, and video when communicating with others. While traditional wire-line telephone service does not allow this capability, cloud-based UCaaS services like Clarity Voice seamlessly integrate these into one easy to use system. Additionally, with a hosted Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems (VoIP), employees can take their IP desk phones home. They can then plug into high-speed internet, and work as if they are still in the office, or use internet portals or mobile apps as they would their desk phones.
It’s essential for your business phone system to allow employees to increase productivity and communications by connecting their mobile devices. Mobile apps connect on-the-go employees into the full business phone system as if they’re in the office, allowing for increased client service and employee satisfaction. Some mobile apps like Clarity Office Anywhere offer business text messaging as well, so employees can maintain a business identity when texting on their smartphone. This helps employees separate their personal and professional communications and businesses keep track of all communication occurring in their name.
Use your desk phone, internet soft-phone or mobile phone app to also check the availability status of other phone system users. Just like your receptionist may have a line-key indicating when someone is talking or does not want to be disturbed, today’s communication systems will offer you an indicator icon showing everyone (working in or out of the office) and their availability to receive calls.
Though email, chat, and phones can fill in a lot of the communication gaps for virtual employees, it’s always nice for employees to be able to work face-to-face. By using video conferencing software, telecommuters can get as close as possible to the rest of the team without being in the same room. While the “There’s no ‘I’ in team” cliché is overused, there is some merit to it. You need to have a relationship with your co-workers to feel like a team, and there really is no substitute for face-to-face communication when it comes to boosting overall productivity. The downside is that you can no longer roll your eyes when someone proves your “there are no dumb questions” edict wrong, but don’t worry — you can always fake a momentary technical glitch.
Some of the best ideas come from employees working on documents together. However, that can be challenging when one employee is working from home across town or at another office across the country. With Clarity, we’ve also offer built in screen-sharing when video conferencing. You can share a screen with as many co-workers as you need. And, if you’re the boss, screen sharing lets you essentially do the equivalent of stopping by employees’ cubicles to check in on their progress.
Missed Call Notification
Working remotely can take you away from your desk from time to time, for the not-so-frequent bio-break, to the unexpected package delivery. With missed Call Notification you always know if someone tried to reach you. It helps you keep track of all your calls, even the ones you never answer. Notification includes caller phone number, day and time of call. Choose to get notified by email or SMS text message, and systems like Clarity Voice will transcribe the message for you for even faster follow-up or sharing call details with colleagues.
When working on-site, co-workers always seem to be dropping by, whether to brag about their fantasy football team, insult the company coffee maker, or, you know, talk about actual work. With Clarity’s Portal chat functionality, remote workers can have on-the-fly conversations like those they’d have in the office. And since the portal access doesn’t involve a separate system or extra step, co-workers are much more likely to communicate with remote workers (hopefully more about work than football).
Telecommuters and remote workers are empowered like never before to work out of their home using cloud-hosted UCaaS systems like FranchisePhones, or DealerPhones from Clarity Voice. These employees often love their status as home-based workers, because it gives them more flexibility and, in these times, filled with anxiety over safety, it provides peace-of-mind.
Every Call is Important to Your Business
Every customer contact is a potential sales and marketing opportunity, and an opportunity to strengthen a customer’s loyalty to your business. When workers are remote, managers can feel disconnected, but they don’t have to.
Unless you can listen to both sides of a conversation, it’s impossible to know whether callers are receiving the type of quality service that includes accurate information, good communication and the feeling of being valued.
Clarity’s suite of management tools help you coach new and existing staff to improve their overall phones skills, whether you’re together or not.
- Call Recording – automatically record inbound & outbound phone calls. Use best examples of great service to help train new team members.
- Call Coaching – there is no better coaching tool than Live Call Monitoring with real-time features that enable you to: Listen-in, Whisper or Join in.
- Listen-In – monitor calls in real-time without anyone knowing there is a third person on the line.
- Whisper – assist an employee on what to say, coaching them as they learn how best to sell or service customers.
- Join – gain instant access when situations merit your immediate assistance.
So, whether you’re considering telecommuting as a short-term or long-term solution for your business. VoIP and UCaaS systems offer power tools that can help propel or safeguard your personnel.