Does Your Phone System Have What It Takes To Support Remote Workers?

    More businesses are accepting – even embracing – the virtual workforce. Since the mid-90s, technology has broken down the barriers to telecommuting and the number of employees working virtually continues to rise steadily. According to polling company Gallup, 37% of U.S. workers say they telecommuted in 2015, up from 9% in 1995.

    But while the virtual workforce may be the new black, it does not come without challenges. Often times, the biggest business obstacle to implementing remote work is communications. Does your business phone system have what it takes to support remote workers? These four questions will help you decide.

    1. Does your phone service aid collaboration among co-workers?

    Unlike onsite employees, virtual workers don’t have the ability to lean over and ask quick questions of their colleagues. Presence, chat, video and online meetings remove such obstacles to seamless collaboration among workers across the company.

    2. Does your phone technology foster human connections?

    In a recent survey of global business professionals, online learning company RW3 CultureWizard found that 41% of corporate teams never meet in person. That makes finding innovative ways for employees to “meet” virtually imperative for many businesses. By fostering much-needed human connections, managers can help employees create stronger working relationships.

    One way to accomplish this is to make video chat and web conferencing easily accessible with a single click. These tools act as a virtual place for workers to visit with each other and help foster the kind of camaraderie that gets things done faster.

    3. Does your phone service take mobile communications beyond the phone call?

    To make remote work productive, employees need more than a phone system that simply connects a call. They also need to move seamlessly between phone calls, chats, video conferences and desktop sharing – just like their office-based co-workers. Your phone service should offer a mobile communications app that enables easy access to all collaboration capabilities.

    4. Are you able to deploy intelligent contact center technology?

    Contact centers are prime candidates for a virtual environment because their work is highly structured and usually necessitates an around-the-clock staff. With features such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and intelligent routing, your phone service can create a seamless experience for both agents and customers. Managers also can track performance using real-time reporting, regardless of where each contact center staff member is located.

    Whether you’re deploying new virtual teams or just considering the virtual workforce as an option, be sure to put your phone service front and center in your thinking. Investing in the right communications and collaboration tools will go a long way toward ensuring you reap the full benefits of the remote workforce.

    Learn more about ShoreTel communications solutions for your business here.