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The role of cloud computing in a telecommuter-oriented company

A company with a lot of telecommuter employees could never discount the importance of cloud computing capabilities to go with the IT and telecom infra in its enterprise. The cloud happens to be the main frontier of telecommuter work.

man and woman with cell phones

Businesses that thrive online more than offline are likely to be those that have a large number of telecommuter employees while having only a handful of staff to manage in a small conventionally run office. Such cases could be found in companies that offer products or services that have to do with web technologies, design or professional consultancy. Employees working for such companies are usually hired along a telecommuter work set-up where most of the work is accomplished online in locations of the employee’s choice.   Multiple tech infra Most telecommuter set-ups are staged in the homes of telecommuter professionals or in alternative venues where pros find it conducive to do work not within the confines of a company workstation. For a company to be capable of efficiently operating under such a premise, the necessary online tech infrastructures need to be established and maintained in the long-term like the following:

  • Online phone system with business VoIP extension networks. A high degree of real-time connectivity must be present and this could be achieved via a strong broadband connection running in the system that could support the powerful business VoIP features and functionalities. Companies would have to extend the VoIP to a telecommuter’s devices like smartphones, tablets or IP phones so that the connectivity remains constant and reliable at all times.
  • Cloud computing apps and telecom systems. Cloud services for telecom, licensed software as service, and cloud storage apps that could allow file sharing with coworkers in various other remote locations are also necessary so that work collaboration could be done online to negate travel or legwork. Correspondence and paperwork also becomes efficient minus the common hindrances of physical distance and location.
  • Mobile devices that are in sync with desktop devices. The data and information that telecommuters and their remote location coworkers share with each other could be transmitted and accessed via various modes like those done via smartphones, tablets, phablets or PCs. Telecommuters need to have their various devices in sync with each other regarding data and info to save on the time and trouble of cross-referencing these while in the process of collaborating with peers.

The main frontier You could only correspond efficiently with any telecommuter pro under your wing once all of them happen to be on the same telecom page as everybody else in the loop. Any collaborative work to be done together with any of your telecommuter employees could also only happen once you are all using the same cloud computing apps and services. Sharing files, for example, happens a lot easier when work collaborators agree beforehand about what cloud storage app that’s best for everyone to be using (e.g. Box, Dropbox, Google+, etc.) so that transmission and access becomes conveniently reliable for all. Work files could also be handled together online via suitable apps that allow coworkers to view, sample, and revise files in real-time. Smartphones, tablets, IP phones or PCs need to be in sync with coworkers’ devices in terms of the capability for videoconferencing or online meetings. Since all work is done online, the prospects of face-to-face discussions could be very minimal or nil. The closest that those collaborating on projects could get to such would be through video or call conferences via services or apps like Skype, RingCentral, or Google Hangouts and the like. Handling a telecommuter workforce becomes easier to manage once business owners become doubly keen on real-time, always on and readily accessible tech as the professional norm. The moment it becomes that, it soon becomes a way of life and nothing could be more convenient than such a business set-up.

What You Need To Know About Telecommuting

telecommuting, train, notebook, thumbdrive, coffee, business

Working on the train (Photo by rxb)

It was found in a recent study that around 20% of employees around the world spend a part of their work week doing their jobs from home.

Seven percent of these are those who work from home every day. Telecommuting, remote work or telework is an arrangement wherein the employees do not come in their office (or commute, hence the term) or to a central place of work.

Some work from at home while others work from coffee shops or other locations. This type of arrangement is becoming widely used among different companies all over the world although their views and standards of these countries are far from the same.

 Potential benefits of Telecommuting

For starters, it can actually save the company millions of dollars. It has a significant impact on a company’s overhead expenses, at the same time helps employees save money but cutting on a commute or gas costs.  Similarly, less commuters and less car users also reduce traffic congestion, road accidents and pollutants.

The flexibility of time has also helped many employees balance their life better between work and the home. Studies have shown that an employee’s productivity increases in a telecommuting arrangement. It was even found that around 75% of business or organization owners notice happier employees. This may be credited to the fact that some employees get more stressed as they are in their workplaces.

Telecommuting has also been found to possibly help keep 83% more talented women in the workplace instead of leaving in order to stay at home.

e-commerce, telecommuting, handshake, business, remote, teleworking, icon, suit, notebook, hands, facing, matrix, green background

Virtual Presence Handshake (Photo by ganderssen1)

Technology has made it easy for companies and their employees to stay in touch even when they do not physically see each other in the office.  For example, with a stable Internet connection, employees can still be part of conferences via some web conferencing software or phone systems. Many companies have also developed their products, like the RingCentral virtual PBX, to accommodate the growing number of companies that have telecommuters. Employees are also able to access the company’s network, and send e-mails and reports via the Internet.

But as many benefits as it has, telecommuting has also raised some drawbacks and concerns as well.

 What’s stopping them?

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns of employers is “losing control” over their employees who choose to work from at home. Experts say that telecommuting only works when employers hold their people responsible for the work they are doing from at home or outside the office.

At first, productivity rate was seen to drop, most probably because those concerned are still adjusting to the “new work regimen.” In the long term, however, surveys have found that the productivity of teleworkers will climb eventually.

Another concern is that in telework arrangements, employees need to work harder to maintain good relationships with their co-workers. Not seeing them every day may cause certain conflicts to arise and some telecommuters even feel a sense of disconnection from their office.

Security is also another issue that has been raised with regards telecommuting. It was found that many telecommuters do not use their company’s data backup system that may put a lot of sensitive information at risk. Information technology issues have also been raised as one of the main problems of working from a location outside the office.

Telecommuting, in some cases, may also negatively affect a person’s career. In a recent survey it was found that people who telework are less likely to get promoted because executives cannot promote people into leadership roles if they haven’t been consistently seen and monitored.

There indeed is a lot of improvement needed for those who allow telecommuting in their offices. But one thing is certain. By giving a lot of support to their employees, businesses will definitely benefit from their being more productive, happier and healthier, regardless of where they choose to work.

What do you think about those potential risks? Have you remediated them or banned telecommuting like Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo? I am looking forward to hear you opinion around this.

VoIP is Perfect for Business Communication

In the past, the way to communicate was through snail mail and landline phone service. This was one of the major obstacles when conducting business. Mail is slow to arrive and phone lines are busy all the time. Suppliers and producers alike have to handle transactions over the phone and voice support alone is not enough to convey enough information. Today, there are VoIP service providers such as RingCentral that could make work easier and more efficient.

VoIP is now being dubbed as the future’s communication super technology and already today a part of  the Unified Communication Strategy of many enterprises. VoIP is the abbreviation of Voice over Internet Protocol. It makes your voice cross boundaries through the Internet. In any type of business, communication is the key to gain success. This of course entails the use of only the best modes of communication. So far, VoIP service is already gradually becoming a leader in this type of industry. It’s because it offers so many services and applications that landline and mobile phone services cannot.

voip-headset-logoVoIP is Easy to Use

If you know how to chat using the ones offered by email service providers, you would not have any problems learning how to use VoIP. Instructions are very easy to follow and even your employees will not have trouble toggling VoIP applications. You can use VoIP using your desktop computer, laptops, smartphone hybrids or have it directly connected to your analogue system. The best way to make use of this of course is from a computer-to-computer basis because calls will not take up any costs. 

VoIP is Very Flexible

Businesses are now making a switch to VoIP because it also offers an intra-office communication solution. Instead of each person or division having their own numbers, the employees are now required to have their very own VoIP account for easier inter-office communication. This is advantageous for the employees because they will not have to transfer desks to give necessary documents when they can just send these with the use of VoIP. It can also be used when sending and receiving messages to other people outside the office. This can also be used for outside communication. In fact, it is currently being used by businesses that have more than one office and can also be used to communicate with other business contacts such as investors, suppliers and clients.

 VoIP Offers More than Just Voice Support

VoIP is not just a service that mimics telephone conversations. It is far more progressive than that. If you have a webcam, you will be able to see the person you are speaking to, facilitating a video conference. You also have the capability to talk to multiple users if you wanted to and make it a multi-site-call. This can be an advantage if you are on vacation but need to be on call for business related activities. For example, you have a file you missed to endorse to a certain employee. VoIP can let you talk to this person and share that file at the same. What is more interesting is that text files are not the only types of documents you can share using VoIP. You can also send rich media files such as videos and audio. You can even attach a voice message using your email!

When you choose VoIP, you improve inter-personnel communication. Since people now are discovering the advantages of using the Internet when placing orders or building business contacts, you too can benefit by making yourself easily reachable with the use of VoIP and other Unified Communication technologies.