Gaining an Advantage in the Move to a Remote Workforce

Our office has smartphone fever.

While our smartphones are personal purchases, rather than company-issued, most of us have experienced increased productivity in our personal lives thanks to these palm-sized pieces of technology. It doesn’t stop there; our laptops, notebooks, iPads and cell phones are critical to our daily lives.

Fortunately, we are not alone. 

Many companies are realizing the benefits of integrating these technologies into their daily operations as well, allowing more of their employees the flexibility to work remotely.

According to a report from Insight Research Corporation entitled “The Mobile Workforce and Enterprise Applications 2007-2012,” revealed the following statistics:

  • 89 of the top 100 U.S. companies offer telecommuting
  • 67 percent of all workers used mobile and wireless computing
  • 58 percent of companies consider themselves a virtual workplace
  • Only nine percent of employees worked at a company’s headquarters

Overall it is estimated that more than 187.9 million workers currently are mobile. Forrester Research, an independent technology and market research company, anticipates that number will increase to 397.1 million by 2012, which will account for 73 percent of the global enterprise workforce.

How You Can Be Ahead of the Curve

Alternate Access offers many communications solutions to move you ahead of the curve in this shift towards a mobile workforce. The right phone system can provide the capability to create a virtual headquarters or a physical office supported by remote workers.

Our systems allow users to easily add remote employees, deploy any needed hardware/software to remote users at a minimal cost, and easily train them on how to use the system. Enhanced conference call features make it easy to join remote workers for weekly team meetings, monthly project updates or quarterly reports. Finally, the ability to access your business phone system’s functionality from anywhere, and at any time, increases employee accessibility and productivity. Their “office” can be any location – from a home office to a hotel room or even an airport terminal.

Depending on the brand and model phone system that meets your business needs, you may also gain the advantage of:

  • Presence management – Managers and remote employees can quickly check the availability of their staff and co-workers, ensuring that everyone stays connected.
  • Unified Messaging – Employees can check one place for voice mails, e-mails, and, in some cases, faxes. This capability also allows for one point of contact, eliminating the need for multiple phone numbers (i.e., an office number, a cell phone number, and a home office number).
  • Call recording – Sensitive or complex issues can be discussed over the phone and recorded to avoid miscommunication. Detailed order information or specifications can be captured during a call and reviewed later to ensure accuracy.
  • Connection via your choice of technology – Most phone systems offered by Alternate Access already allow remote employees to connect via desktop PC, laptop or notebook. Now some are adding the option of connecting via smartphone.
  • Images put a face with a name – Some phone systems offer the option to see the employee’s head shot in the contact manager. So even the most remote employees can put a face with their teammate’s names. This capability can make remote employees feel more like part of a team.

Benefits of Going Remote

Whether you already have a local, national – or even international – customer base, you can utilize a mobile workforce while giving the impression of one unified business or office. Doing so can save your business money by reducing office and travel costs, while also increasing worker productivity and reducing absenteeism and staff turnover.

Instead of having employees constantly travel across the state or country to serve customers, and paying for those travel expenses, hire an employee or team locally and connect them to your main location remotely.

Instead of losing your top salesperson because he or she needs to spend more time at home, arrange a way for them to work from home to meet their needs while retaining their talent at your company.

Instead of expanding your company’s reach by spending time and money to locate and rent office space in a new area, implement remote area phone numbers to give your business a local feel in key cities that you do business without ever moving a person.

These specific scenarios are just a few of the ways businesses can benefit from well integrated communication systems for remote employees. In addition, research has shown that productivity increases when employees are given mobility. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the average employee workday at 8.8 hours in 2008. However a 2010 survey conducted by iPass found that the average workday for mobile workers is one hour longer – yielding about a 10 hour work day, or six more productive weeks of work each year.

“The era of the ‘corporate mobilocracy’ (mobility rule) has begun,” according the “iPass Mobile Workforce Report – Understanding the Enterprise Mobility Trends and Mobile Usage.” Mobile technology is reaching a saturation point. Gone are the days when only executives could enjoy mobile technology, and thus, telecommuting.

If you decide to join other businesses in developing a productive remote workforce, contact Alternate Access at 919-831-1860 to investigate the way a new phone system can help you reach that goal.