Managing A Remote Team

If you haven’t heard the term Remote Working then you must have been living (or working) on the moon for the past years!

This space is somewhat growing and more and more businesses are adopting this way of work for themselves and more importantly for their employees.

What is Remote Working?

There is an assortment of ways to describe the process of working from a location other than the traditional office. Terms you would have heard include telecommuting, home, remote, mobile, virtual, location independent or indeed cloud working.

Remote workers can also be described as those individuals or teams that travel whilst working and may move around constantly or stay in a particular location for a few days or even a few months or more before moving to the next CoWorking establishment or Coffee Shop.

Remote workers are constantly in search for the best Internet connectivity and as today Internet availability it getting more available across both fixed and mobile connectivity, speeds are becoming faster by the day meaning that Remote workers can work from just about anywhere and in whatever time zone they wish.

Rewind a few years ago the concept or being able to work anywhere or even find an employer that would allow you to do so was pretty vast if not unheard of.

The Individual Opportunity

The growth of freelancing sites like Upwork, Elance, Freelancer and Toptal and PeoplePerHour to name a few means that you can pitch for work but after a bunch of good reviews and feedback, may even turn into a full time job bringing with it a reasonable income. This has given a thirst to those individuals that wish to work on their own terms and environments that suit them.

Having the ability to take advantage of this income source, stops you from being chained to a desk and can allow work to be carried out from just about anywhere with your Laptop, Mobile Phone and a good internet connection. The availability of technology is fuelling the growth of this industry and propelling it forward.

Freelancing isn’t just aimed at Designers and Coders, if you have a particular skill set that you can offer to other businesses or individuals then maybe you can revaluate how you are working and become a remote worker yourself.

Now on to the bigger picture….

Remote Working for Businesses

Employers are also enthused about the potential of employing Remote Workers. This not only helps businesses to reduce office overhead and infrastructure costs, but also creates happy staff with increased productivity and builds far greater loyalty between themselves and their team members.

Employers can offer Remote Working as part of an employment agreement. They may offer Remote Working as a restricted option or fully employ a whole Team that can work from anywhere.

Business Management via the Cloud

More and more companies are releasing technology to assist in helping businesses manage a whole variety of day to day tasks, most are more suited towards larger Teams as costs associated may not be as attractive to smaller businesses or indeed Start ups.

As more and more businesses adopt the Remote Working environment they will certainly face the challenges associated, like for example Employee Time Management, CRM and General Housekeeping including General/Sales/Customer Support and HR.

Popular management tools include Asana, Trello, Evernote, Hivedesk are amongst the best available for remote team management and communication.

Customer Relationship Management

For CRM you are spoilt for choice but for smaller companies CRM can be quite a heavy expense if the requirement is not necessarily needed in the earlier stages. However these options don’t break the bank and give you good value for money these include Insightly., Zoho and Pipedrive.

Human Resources

Cloud based HR solutions are great for Start-ups and Small Businesses that wish to have easy Human Resource tools at hand Staff Squared and BambooHR are 2 leaders in this field as their functionality is straight forward taking some of the laborious tasks out of traditional HR processes.

Customer Chat

Communication is certainly key to any business. Not only do customers want to be able to contact you through whatever means possible but they also wish for communication to be reliable and on demand.

For Website chat solution’s check out Olark or Crisp but for those of your with deeper pockets could go for Intercom

Voice Communications

For traditional voice and video contact Skype is still a valid free option for internal calls, with its new Skype for business model is great for individuals that wish to publish a local number in the US or Canada and forward to your cellphone. If you are a business looking for a more advanced platform for total voice communication between your team and your customers (wherever they may be in the world) then check out VoiceRules built for Entrepreneurs and Remote Teams that are working globally.

Remote working is a very real and available option to your business and your team today. With the functionality and convenience of these business solutions that are available on the market can certainly help you to take some of the potential stress out of managing your remote working environment.

Advertisements

De-Stress with a Business Contact Number

Did you know that you can easily set yourself or your business up in 1000’s of cities instantly without even stepping foot or opening an office in that Country?

Well you can! With the increasing availability of Global Internet and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) means that you can setup a local or International presence for yourself or your business within minutes and with ease.

International Coverage

Phone numbers are available almost anywhere including the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Australia.

This opens up a whole new and exciting ball game for new and existing Entrepreneurs and Businesses.

Saves Cost & Lets You Breathe

Before now to open a local business was a gamble and with the expense of having an office, telephone lines and staff could be an expensive one at that.

Having the ability to purchase local phone numbers on a short term rental basis means that corners can be cut to test a market before opening up shop there.

Virtual Numbers or Direct Inward Dialling (DID) numbers (as they are also known) can be used for a number of different reasons. Not only do they stop the need for individuals to give out their mobile numbers – keeping them private, but can be associated with particular campaigns so that companies can monitor Sales or Customer services calls from particular regions to identify which projects are a success or not or to monitor where a business needs more growth/attention.

Compete on an International Stage

Usually these numbers and associated benefits were only available to larger organisations, with the rapid movement of VoIP means that such services are also available to Entrepreneurs or Small to Medium Businesses (SMB’s).

Numbers can be managed by non-technical individuals directly which means that directing calls to who ever you want when ever you want takes the pressure off having full time staff.

Calls can be routed Call Centres, Virtual Receptionists or any of your team members around the world no matter where they are or what technology they are using.

You may also display your number when calling your customers. If you wish to display a local number to your caller when dialling them this can be also be achieved with little effort. This gives your customer the feeling that you are local to them which in turn builds rapport, even if you may be on the other side of the world to them or on a vacation.

Click to Connect

With the rise in Click to Connect features for Social platforms (including Facebook and Instagram) and direct from a Company web site indicates that your customers wish to contact you when they need to via whatever means possible.

This demand means that businesses need to rethink how they are managing/implementing this process, and with what solutions dependent on their individual requirements or situation.

Low Cost Maximum Impact

The good news is you don’t need to employ a full time receptionist or layout serious cost to project yourself as being a large company when in fact it might only be you and a small team in your business.

A Virtual Number opens up new doors and opportunities, if you haven’t considered them yet then maybe you should.

Numbers can be purchased or rented as low as $1.00 each per month and when attached to a sophisticated Phone Call Management solution can catapult your business into an international market within minutes.

Come test drive our platform with a 7 day free trial at www.voicerules.com

Cost Hacking Your Small Business Empire

Are you thinking of building a new start up, looking to expand, or just looking to reduce cost in your current business? There a number of overhead costs to take into consideration but as new technology becomes available so do your options in keeping business costs to a minimum. Here is a demonstration of ways in which you can avoid tremendous expenditure and at the same time allow you to focus on important areas of your business.

Virtual Office

A virtual office is an office that has no practical existence. Virtual offices have no dedicated workspace like a traditional office. Companies which provide virtual office services, provide you all the facilities which make up an office. The virtual office is one, or one of many hubs for your customers/clients to connect to you and your business. Having a virtual office can save you from the complications of having an actual office, still give your company a local professional look and feel but allow you to focus on some more important areas of your business. A virtual office can be set-up almost anywhere and will incur far lower costs and shorter contracts. Cost savings come from the rent/price of the office building, the costs to maintain and run the office like electricity bills and the expenses of stationery and a number of other miscellaneous items required to run an office. If you wish to have a physical presence in a city or a number of cities this expense can be astronomical, a virtual office can give you an introduction into whether or not you wish to open shop in a particular City or Country at minimal risk/cost.

Remote Workers

Employees are found to be happier than 9-5 office workers and dedicated when they work in a virtual environment. They can work easily from their home or any location worldwide if its practical to do so. They are also found to be more productive and have a lower turnover rate. You also do not have to hire people on constant pay-role. You can have the work done by freelancers at comparatively lower rates and you will only have to pay them for the work done. There is no need to hire a person for a full time job and give them heavy salary and other benefits. Using platforms such as Upwork.com, Toptal.com and Peopleperhour.com can introduce you to professionals to assist you with short or long term business tasks from Tech Talent through to Virtual Assistants.

No Hardware Outlay

Previously starting a business needed a large amount of investment in hardware including the furniture, computers, fixed and mobile phones amongst other necessary items to make an office look and operate properly. If you opt for a virtual office instead of a traditional office all this money can be used for some better purpose, maybe one example could be the investment in good staff. Also while BYOD (bring your own device) allows users to use their current preference of technology, this gives business owners one less thing to worry about, and in the process save a shed load of potential cost, not only for the actual hardware itself but also the ongoing maintenance.

Team Collaboration/Management

So, having a virtual working environment is a great way to keep costs low, whilst working from absolutely anywhere (in the world). But, how do businesses manage this network of workers? There are some cool collaboration and management tools on the market that assist businesses in getting the very best out of their remote team. Products such as Insightly.com, Slack.com, Trello.com, Asana.com and Hivedesk.com empower you to easily communicate, manage, monitor and track your team and their work and tasks for all of your projects, all from easy to use interfaces and at low or no cost for small teams.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Obtaining new customers is one thing, managing those customers can be a stressful process. Although you may want the very best for your customers and wish to attend to them in the quickest time possible, sometimes things can fall through the gaps. Now that today’s businesses have every opportunity to network with customers outside of their home territory means potential more commerce, but at the same time can create more problems (good and bad). Now that your teams can be remote and based anywhere, well, and so can your customers. Customer management platforms are available not only for large businesses but also small. Platforms such as sellfapp.com, Zendesk.com, LAdesk.com, Zoho.com to name a few, are some of the more popular and cost effective options. Being able to notify, monitor, manage, delegate and control prospects as well as outcomes for customer requests can be managed from a central platform and distributed throughout your network of colleagues in a well structured environment.

Voice Communications

In virtual environments, the working hours can potentially be 24/7. Your employees can work at any time and the customers can contact the office round the clock. The bridge connecting the employees to one another and the customers to the employees i.e. the virtual office never goes offline. Communications can be managed using a whole range of available tools whether within your business or externally.

A popular internal communication platform is Skype that works on VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Skype.com gives the ability for you to communicate free of charge whether by voice or video call between you and your team no matter where they are located.

External communications and management of your inbound business calls can seem a little trickier. VoIP communications have advanced somewhat because of the continuous global expansion and the increasing speed of the Internet from both mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity. This can also be said for inbound business calls. Working within a virtual environment means that you, your team and your third party suppliers can literally be based any where around the world and at any time, as with your customers.

Like other virtual environments VoIP compliments your business by giving it the ability to have a presence in 1000’s of cities and allow you to portray an enterprise level presence to your customers and prospects.

Not only can you purchase local, National and Toll-Free numbers from almost anywhere worldwide, but you can also easily manage, monitor, record and route those calls across your business team, making sure that you never miss a call whilst keeping a professional interface to your customers. Communication can come from traditional phone calls all the way through to click to call campaigns directly from your web site. Companies such as VoiceRules.com give you the ability to have a fully virtual, feature rich, voice communication network giving you and your team the flexibility to work absolutely anywhere globally.