Remote workers are a misunderstood lot.

“You work from home? That must be great. Bet you sit in your pajamas all day.”

No. More likely, you woke up at 5 a.m. to get on a conference call that was scheduled in another time zone.

Then there’s: “Lucky you. You get to go all over the country. Ah, the glamour of travel.”

Um, no again. You’re stuck in an airport on a ground delay, face-timing your kids to say good-night, calculating how long it will be before you can curl up in your own bed.

Being a road warrior or working remotely is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to deal with communication issues, too, like missed calls, clunky software and bad connections.

The root cause of remote worker headaches: ineffective communications

This may not come as a surprise, but a survey by Fierce Inc. found that 86 percent of workers believe that a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication are responsible for workplace failures. That’s not all. A 2017 study by Webtorial found that almost 15 percent of total work time is lost or wasted because of inefficient or ineffective communications.

86 Percent of Workers believe that a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication are responsible for workplace failures.

The same study broke down how much time we spend each day on different activities, specifically things related to communications. We spend almost three hours a day, or 14 percent of our time, on real-time person-to-person communications such as phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Fifteen percent, or 80 minutes a day, is spent reading and replying to emails. (You’re probably thinking, “No, it’s got to be more than that.” It’s not. It just feels like more.)

Almost 15 percent of total work time is lost or wasted because of inefficient or ineffective communications.

Meanwhile, we spend only 39 minutes a day on online collaboration, and only 36 minutes using chat, text or instant messaging tools. Imagine how much you’d get back if you could convert some of that email or phone or even meeting time into more efficient communication modes. Maybe you’d actually get some work done—or visit a few more customers. Wouldn’t that be sweet?

Ways to fight the headaches

As a remote worker, staying connected to your team is even more crucial. The distance can create gaps in understanding, wasted time and opportunity for important information to slip through the cracks. So what are some things you can do to avoid these headaches?

Ditch the inbox

Email can be a valuable tool for collaboration and keeping conversations siloed, but when overused it becomes difficult to determine the important from the FYI. Wouldn’t it be great to recapture some of that 80 minutes per day we spend on email? Rather than sending an email and hoping it makes it to the right person in a timely manner, switch to a real-time chat, where you’ll get a response in seconds. And look for a collaboration tool that includes presence, so you don’t waste your time waiting on a response from someone who’s unavailable.

Looking for more effective communications? Get a MiCloud Connect and Teamwork quote today. >

Build effective, specific workspaces

Not everyone needs to be involved in every discussion. Too often we rely on email chains to keep conversations separated, leaving us open to missing something important while we search for the right chain. Rather than taking up valuable time sorting through endless email threads about different projects or topics, create virtual workspaces for each project or business team. This keeps the attention focused on the most immediate issues or work, rather than buried behind an ever-growing inbox number. Keeping your workspaces organized by need-to-know participants helps keep them responsive, as the only people involved in a conversation are the ones with a stake in the final product. Bonus tip: find a team collaboration tool that allows your workspaces to create tasks and create conferences on-demand. This will help keep your projects organized, and helps you stay up to date on progress.

Keep your eyes on the road

For remote workers who travel often, the ability to use travel time for work is a must. Flight delays, traffic and long distance commutes can take a toll, particularly when you have a mountain of work to do on the other end of a trip. Smart road warriors know how vital it is to stay on top of their work even while traveling. Taking time out to dial complicated conferencing numbers or searching for colleagues simply doesn’t work when every minute counts. Instead, look for communications tools that will help you stay active with the devices you have at your fingertips, preferably one with a dashboard you can navigate easily and join calls with a single click.

Quit switching back and forth

How much time do you waste switching back and forth between business applications? For remote workers, it can be even more complicated. The business apps you use on the road should integrate seamlessly with your communications solution – and from your smartphone. Whether you’re working in Salesforce®, ACT!® or Microsoft 365®, swapping between applications is a time suck, particularly when working from a single laptop screen. The right communications tool will help you transition smoothly between these applications, from one screen, allowing for integrations with the business apps you already use.

Avoid the headaches

Communicating effectively with colleagues and customers while away from the office is critical for remote working success. It shouldn’t be complicated to get a response, catch up on what’s happening at the office or contribute to a project, no matter where your work takes you. The right communications solution will give you all the tools you need for efficient communications in one place: contacts, voicemails, emails, messages, events, chat and conferencing. A communications solution like MiCloud Connect, with a collaboration tool like Teamwork, will help you enhance teamwork and reduce wasted time. It may not help with a flight delay, but at least you’ll be able to get more work done while you’re waiting.

get great content like this weekly
Ready to talk to sales? Contact us.