Tools That Help Employees Go Virtual

Before the pandemic, many companies allowed some employees to work from home. Working remotely is an ideal option for people who are ill or have another reason to be home. Virtual work can help reduce absenteeism and overhead costs.

Then COVID-19 brought virtual work to the forefront. Many companies implemented virtual work programs to prevent the spread of infection, and employees kept working so that companies could continue to operate.

Terms for offsite workers include:

  • Virtual
  • Remote
  • Home-sourced
  • Telecommuting
  • Mobile professionals
  • Location-independent professionals

They all mean the same thing: people who work outside of a traditional office setting sometimes or all the time.

When going virtual, you’ll have many things to consider. If your company is considering a virtual work program, you’ll need a few new tools to make anywhere you work feel like “the office.”

Staying In Touch

Online tools replace in-person meetings that keep conversations going. These tools are what any virtual team needs:

  • Messaging
  • Video conference
  • Project Management
  • Performance management
  • Scheduling
  • Document management

Most companies only need a few tools to communicate and collaborate with their employees. They can include:

  • Slack
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google Meet
  • Clickup
  • Zoho Projects
  • Skype/Skype For Business
  • Zoom
  • Asana
  • Basecamp
  • Trello
  • TeamWork
  • WebEx
  • GoToMeeting
  • Candedly and Boomerang (calendar scheduling)
  • Google Drive/Docs
  • Evernote
  • Dropbox (for document and file sharing)

These are just some tools available to help your virtual team collaborate daily. You may find one or two to keep teams in touch and working together as if they were at the office.

Additionally, most of the tools you’ll need are cloud-based SaaS. That makes them affordable, too.

Are They Working?

Many business owners and managers are concerned about whether an employee working at home is trustworthy and puts in a full day’s work.

Studies have shown that disciplined employees work better at home, even part-time. But as a business owner, you may still be unsure.

Once you’ve implemented virtual working, there’s a learning curve, but technology has you covered. Multiple software programs let you monitor your virtual employees’ activity whenever they log in.

You can see what they’re doing no matter where they’re working. Tools like these can keep track of employees’ activities from wherever they log in:

  • Toggl
  • Time Doctor
  • Workpuls
  • TimeCamp
  • Rescue Time
  • ClickTime
  • Top Tracker

If an employee knows this software is watching, staying on task is a great motivator. And with this software, you’ll have proof of work time when billing your clients.

Additionally, if you’re hiring freelance or contract workers, one option is to use an online job board like Upwork. Upwork has a time-tracker app that freelancers must install and use on their machines for hourly contracts. The app monitors your virtual worker’s computers while they’re working. The software logs keystrokes as well as mouse clicks. It also takes photos of the worker’s computer screen while using the app.

What Does Virtual Mean For Your Employees?

No Long Commutes

Most employees in large and medium-sized cities have long-distance commutes. Working virtually eliminates that commute, particularly during hazardous driving conditions like snow days. Your company can continue to operate as usual even when employees can’t get to the office.

Collaboration is Easy

Employees can collaborate using tools like Slack and Zoom, which makes it feel like they are in the same office space. Employees can communicate with email, instant messaging, and phone calls as if they were sitting at a desk.

Working in Their Comfort Zone

Letting employees work from home also allows them to work in their personal “comfort zones.” They’ll face fewer interruptions than they would at the office. Many employees work more than 40 hours a week when at home. They have more time than they would with a strict work time and a commute.

Working From Home Helps Parents

Employees with a sick family member can stay home and still work as they would in the office.

More Flexibility

With more flexibility, employees will have more time to care for themselves and their families. They can work during their most productive hours and have time for exercising and other healthy habits. That flexibility contributes to a healthy work-life balance, increases job satisfaction, and leads to more productivity.

Use a VoIP Hosted Phone System to Manage Your Virtual Workforce

Another good investment for a company is a VoIP-hosted PBX.

Just some of the great features that a hosted PBX offers to help manage virtual employees include:

  • Call Recording
  • Call Reporting
  • Conference Bridge
  • Call Queues and the reporting that comes with that
  • Voicemail to Text that can be sent to the employee for archiving text files
  • High Volume Call Alerts
  • Custom Scheduling
  • Call Forwarding
  • Web-Based Inbound and Outbound Faxing
  • View Active Calls

The advantage of hosted PBX is that the provider maintains all the associated hardware and software. You’ll get all the features you need to not only look like a large company but to monitor your virtual workers.

With additional features like call reporting, queues, recording, and unlimited conference bridges, your company can easily manage a virtual workplace. Contact Press 8 Telecom today to learn more about how we can help your company transition to virtual.

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