Teleworking: three tips for staying connected to your business
How can you work together efficiently, from home, and stay connected with your company and your customers during the Corona lockdown? We would like to share a few crucial tips about telework, based on our own practice (the fact is that for our colleagues at Destiny teleworking is nothing new). This is how you and your teams can carry on your work seamlessly – from any location.
The coming weeks are going to be challenging: you and your colleagues will not be sitting in the same office, let alone at a physical conference table. Okay, you can work flexibly from home, but that may be easier said than done. Yet staying in contact with each other and your clients is easier than you think. These are the three principles you should bear in mind:
- communicate regularly and in a targeted way
- be just as easy to reach as you are when you are at the office
- make sure you have quick and secure access to all company data
How do you communicate your business decisions and updates to your colleagues and clients now that everyone is working remotely? Hold a video conference daily with a small communications unit of employees from each team. Make sure they, in turn, inform their colleagues.
An example? At Destiny we are temporarily doubling the mobile data for our clients, to make remote working easier. We initially discussed the how and what of this measure during the daily conference call with our team leads. They then briefed their colleagues via video call or chat. That way, each of us – from IT technician to marketing assistant – is sharing the same message with our clients. In addition, we are also communicating the measure via our blogs and mailings, so that our clients and business contacts know exactly what services they can count on.
To ensure that a video call with several participants runs smoothly, you are best sticking to a few communication arrangements. Provide a tight agenda that you communicate in advance. Appoint a moderator who will keep an eye on all screens and designate the speaker. Only the person speaking should switch his or her microphone on: that way, you avoid talking over each other. Whoever would like to speak next should raise their hand or mention via chat that he or she has something to say. Want to show that you agree with what a colleague is saying? A thumb emoji via chat works wonders.
During the lockdown, how can you make sure your clients can reach you as if you were in the office full-time?
At Destiny we communicate via a softphone solution: telephony software that allows us to call, chat and hold virtual meetings online from any PC, smartphone or tablet, within our own, closed cloud network. And that is a blessing when it comes to teleworking.
Our fixed lines and our colleagues’ mobile phones are connected seamlessly via a telephone switchboard in the cloud. That lets us transfer calls easily to each other – wherever we are and whichever device we are using to communicate. We manage that switchboard simply and remotely via an online portal. We set up an options menu for the incoming caller and determine the colleague for which the incoming call is intended. If they don’t answer their phone, then a cascade function will ensure that the caller is automatically put through to another member of staff, depending on the question that the client gives via the options menu. It is, therefore, very important that the options for the menu are set up correctly, so that clients can get help from the right person as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, each of us can monitor colleagues, clients and projects via our PC screens. Connecting a call to a colleague at home? On the portal we can immediately see who can answer the phone. Does our client have a question about an ongoing project? In the integrated CRM we can consult the status update, immediately see which of our colleagues is responsible for the contract and connect the call. That is reassuring for our clients: they know that they can get the right person on the line immediately.
And then there are the softphone’s collaborative tools. If we use those, then during meetings it will seem as if we are sitting in the same room: we will be able to see each other, share screens and memos or give feedback via chat. This is not just convenient, it’s also secure because we are not working with open systems.
Specifically for our clients, we have shared a manual so that the softphone software can also be integrated into their cloud solution. They can chat to all home-working employees securely from a central portal, set up conference and video calls, check the availability of a colleague and, most of all, transfer calls to each other easily. What if our clients want to reduce the number of users at a later stage? That can be done in an instant.
How do we give home-working colleagues the access they need to crucial business data? At Destiny, everyone – from wherever they are – logs into our private company network with a VPN client to a cloud based firewall. Everyone has access to the data they need and that they are authorized to access, thanks to authentication integrated with our Active Directory. This way they can access all information and applications on our private network, in whatever location it may be. We secure that network with a single cloud solution – no local on-site firewalls needed. That means we can communicate and work securely, at all times, from any device, anywhere. And now that each of us is using that remote access solution, we have upgraded our internet connection. When most of our colleagues are back in the office soon, as normal, we will simply scale this back down.
If you have any questions, or want advice on how to quickly and easily improve teleworking with your colleagues, feel free to call us: despite the challenging weeks ahead, you can always reach us as normal.