As a technology and a business policy, telecommuting is a tried-and-true practice that's been around for many years. Nowadays, most organizations — both big and small — offer some form of telecommuting to their employees on a formal or informal basis. These telecommuting opportunities are powered by strong cloud-based solutions that everyone should use if they don't want to run the risk of being left behind. For example, a work from anywhere app can easily support employees working from their kitchen tables, home offices, or local coffee shops.
Want to increase productivity and reduce work-related stress? Giving employees a desktop app that helps their telecommuting experience can do just that.
For example, a cloud business phone desktop app can enable employees to work from virtually any location and easily access their full phone systems remotely, just as they can from the office.
Apps can enable a remote employee to screen calls while on vacation and, if it's from an important account, pick up the call. Or, instead of dropping everything, they can instant message a coworker back at the office that they need to expect an incoming forwarded call. And all this can be done from an app on a computer, tablet, or smartphone with a cloud business phone system that allows you direct access to network services.
What to Look for in a Cloud Business Phone Desktop App
Telecommuters can use a cloud business phone app to work from home, the road, or even a local cafe, enjoying a little liberation to do their jobs away from headquarters. Consider the use case of a road warrior calling directly from a phone app to an airline contact center to change bookings for a canceled leg of a connecting flight itinerary. This type of real-time customer experience communication is critical for employees who frequently travel.
When considering a desktop app for cloud-based business phone systems, it's important to select core capabilities that deliver real business value while untethering your employees from their cubicles and desk phones. For example, the softphone built into these apps allows remote workers to use their cloud business phone service straight from their laptops. Nonnegotiable features offered straight off the app from the cloud-based phone network should include:
- Sending and receiving SMS from customers.
- Messaging and video chatting between coworkers and among groups.
- Saving business contacts and calendar appointments to the cloud and then viewing them within the app.
- Being able to stay in touch with coworkers, anytime and anywhere.
A cloud business phone desktop app is easier to implement and has a broader payback in worker applicability and cost reduction than many managers and business owners may imagine. And telecommuting isn't just for large enterprises anymore. For example, a 2019 Owl Labs survey of 1,202 full-time workers in the United States found that 62% of employees work from home at least occasionally. And the practice among white-collar professionals is growing, with remote workers being added in bookkeeping, human resources, marketing, web development, information technology, and others.
Increasingly, businesses find this makes more financial sense because they're able to decrease their company overhead for office space and utilities, but to do this you need the right technology. A cloud communications phone system, complete with mobile and desktop apps, can make it happen. This can be bought and deployed in hours, even by small or medium-sized businesses.
Giving employees the ability to telecommute, collaborate, and enjoy flexibility in their workdays is a win-win for everyone involved.
Mobile and Desktop Apps for Group Collaboration
It's important to consider not only ways to help keep employees in contact with each other, but also how to extend collaboration outside the office. Look for business solutions that allow coworkers to use a mobile app ordesktop app that enables working in creative ways to stimulate cooperation. These applications should provide workers with the following capabilities:
- Make real-time video calls with anyone using a business account.
- Communicate with team members privately or in group conversations.
- View all messages sent to your private or business number — together in one feed — and enjoy intuitive navigation.
- Text any U.S. number using your business number; send group texts within your account; and send texts from your main company number.
- Share image attachments with your team members across your business account.
- Integrate with business applications, like CRM and office productivity suites, for better team collaboration.
- Work across Android or Apple devices.
Building a Quality Telecommuting Program
Now with these mobile capabilities, companies can build quality telecommuting programs to offer employees flexibility and extra time to get more work done from any location. But just because you're able to do something doesn't mean you're ready to start — not without a plan. As with any business program, a formal policy must be in place, laying out working conditions, benefits, tools, and expectations and examining a host of contingencies. To maximize benefits from these systems, organizations must ensure:
- Highly focused remote working environments.
- Effective communications infrastructure.
- Understanding about established work hours.
- Mandatory training and team meetings.
- Supervision of telecommuters.
- Clear and established measurement of productivity.
Mobile and cloud desktop phone apps can catalyze success through collaboration technologies such as videoconferencing and screen sharing. In addition, management techniques such as quarterly meetings of full-time telecommuters can help reestablish bonds among departments and align team and company goals.