Whether you agree with it or not, remote communication is the future. Currently, 70 percent of workers worldwide work remotely at least one day a week, and 53 percent work remotely for at least half the week.1
Why are many companies allowing their workers to work offsite? The answer is that most remote workers are not only happier but more productive when they can work from the location of their choice—and avoid wasting time commuting through traffic. And of course, with the rapid expansion of most companies, it’s much easier to grow their labor force by adding remote workers—instead of sharing a crowded workspace or moving to a bigger and more costly physical office space.
While some may argue that having remote workers limits dialogue and idea sharing, this is no longer true with the latest telecommunications technology. Using hosted phone systems such as GenVox, managers, coworkers, and clients can easily and efficiently communicate with offsite staff as if they were in the office.
We will examine specific strategies for new managers to maximize their remote workers’ productivity, as well as how to use telecommunications technology to carry out those strategies:
Establish a rapport with your remote employees.
Just as good teachers form positive relationships with their students before jumping into a plethora of class rules and expectations, strong managers must establish a bond with their remote staff from the beginning. If you are approachable and inviting, your employees will be forthcoming about any problems or difficulties they may encounter—and you can provide guidance while those problems are still manageable.
The best way to establish that rapport? Meeting in person is best for initial contact, but video would be the next best option. After all, research shows that over half of communication is nonverbal, including eye contact, hand gestures, facial expressions, and body positioning.2 If you want to fully connect with people, they need to be able to see you.
With GenVox video conferencing, you’ll experience real-time communication as if you were in the room with your employees. And you can maintain your relationships with your employees by holding as many video conferences as desired—from any phone anywhere.
Communicate early about your expectations.
One of the most important strategies for managers of offsite workers is to establish clear and attainable goals and expectations early on. What hours are your workers required to be available for meetings or customer service? What hours of the day or week have some flexibility? What weekly goals do they need to meet by the end of each week or month, and how will attaining those goals be tracked or measured?
Any expectations should be communicated through formal documentation, so there is no room for future disagreement or confusion. If your company has GenVox, you can share documents via email or cloud faxing (both of which are machineless and paperless), and your remote staff can view those emails or faxes in a single place on their office phone or mobile phone. In a video presentation, you can also document-share. Regardless of the communication format you use, everything is synched and can be conveniently viewed or signed at any time, whether in or out of the office.
Maintain an open dialogue.
Communication should be open both ways. Encourage your employees to share their thoughts, questions, and problems. If you help them solve any issues proactively and prove that you’ll always listen, your staff will be happier and more productive. After all, everyone wants to feel like a valuable member of a team—and be reassured they’re progressing.
The best way to accomplish an open dialogue is to ensure your entire company is using the same platform. It’s simply counterproductive for different employees to be using different apps and tools to accomplish a variety of tasks; communication will be missed. An all-in-one platform used company-wide is ideal.
With GenVox, for example, your employees will have the option of communicating via their preferred method—whether it’s a phone call, fax, email, chat/SMS, or video/audio conference—and it can still be accomplished under one umbrella. All communication can be viewed on a single portal from the device of their choice, so it’s impossible to miss an incoming message—even when out of the office.
To make the exchange of ideas even easier, GenVox offers group voicemails, call presence to see who’s currently available, voicemail transcription, call forwarding, and call recording.
Utilize management tools.
Some managers may also need to train and guide remote customer-service or call-center technicians at multiple locations. If that's the case, then GenVox also offers the following additional management tools to enhance customer-service levels:
- call-management web portal,
- quality-of-service reports,
- call reports and analytics,
- and call-center features.
With tools such as these, managers can look easily identify which employees might need further training, which campaigns are the most successful, and how often clients are getting their questions answered quickly and efficiently.
With the right all-in-one platform, distance is clearly no longer a barrier when managing remote workers. In fact, remote communication is the wave of the future.
For more information about how GenVox can help your company manage remote employees, contact TelWare at 800-637-3148. GenVox is an all-in-one cloud-based unified-communications-as-a-service solution that allows you to take your business anywhere at any time with seamless phone integration.