Today, many employees and companies are starting to realize the benefits of working from home, especially tech companies, where remote and virtual employees are a great asset to have in order to get things done around the clock. Telecommuting is also a way for companies to meet the needs of employees who don’t want to or can’t live near the mother ship.
However, despite the rose-colored view of a virtual employee’s daily schedule and the lack of a morning and evening commute, telecommuting employees have found that there is much that is left unsaid about their new work lifestyles, namely in staying connected to their team. Much can happen inside of an office’s walls from last-second verbal requests to inside jokes and vocal conversations. Telecommuters are often cut off from in-office comradery, relying on email and instant messaging as vital links to their team members. In many ways, the cloud has risen to not only connect telecommuters to their home base, but to also provide satellite employees with tools and better ways to communicate with their teams, despite being miles away.
One virtual employee who has benefited greatly from cloud technology is InfoStreet’s own Margaret Lyons who serves as the Marketing Manager and Director of Customer Success.
Online meeting and webinar software keep her in the loop.
Margaret, who recently located to a new city, was struggling with staying connected to the rest of her support and marketing departments and to the company as a whole. Writing emails and relying on instant messaging was resulting in misinterpretation and projects were falling into the communication cracks. Not to mention the loss of camaraderie; Margaret was feeling disconnected from the rest of the Los Angeles-based team.
As Margaret stated, “It’s difficult to feel as though I’m part of the team when I’m sitting at my desk, in my apartment, all by myself. But, I am part of a team, and it’s important for me to feel connected every day.”
Realizing that it was crucial to stay connected through more than an email connection, Margaret turned to integrating online meeting software into every meeting and using the software for brainstorming sessions, presentations, and management meetings. She says that her team’s usage of these tools has helped keep her from “falling into the depths of loneliness”
“I’m able to see my teammates, watch their expressions, and participate in the laughter when someone knocks something over during a meeting.”
One of the applications that she’s used is Google Hangouts. “Google Hangouts is a quick and easy choice for casual discussions and is our go-to when we need to have a quick, impromptu meeting.” With Google Hangouts, Margaret finds that she can easily bring conversations between herself and co-workers to life.
For more professional meetings and webinars, Margaret and her team have also utilized several third party software such as MeetingBurner, dozeo, and GoToMeeting. “Sometimes it’s important for us to record a meeting, other times we may want to take notes on a virtual whiteboard during a brainstorming session or we need to share a screen to troubleshoot a support problem.”
All four applications offer Margaret different tools to approach different problems. For instance, GoToMeeting’s screen sharing allows her to take control of a customer’s mouse and keyboard in order to solve a support issue. With dozeo and MeetingBurner, Margaret gains the ability to meet with clients and host presentations, as well as record meetings and webinars for later playback.
With these four apps at Margaret’s disposal, she is now able to engage with her team on an entirely different level than she could over the phone, which has turned her seclusion into simple and easy connectedness.
What does this mean for your business?
Ultimately, online meeting and webinar software gives telecommuting employees the chance to form a vital link back to their team. For Margaret, having solutions like MeetingBurner, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and dozeo in her cloud toolbox cut her isolation completely out of the picture. She can walk in through the digital door every morning and interact with her team on a level never before achievable by telecommuting employees. Her work has improved and her teams are now operating smoothly.
Margaret also takes her dedication to communication one step further. By handling her daily tasks through InfoStreet’s own SkyDesktop, Margaret can also handle the operational side of her job with ease. She can access her meeting software as well as be notified of any approaching calendar events like upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, and important client meetings. She can share documents between herself and her team as well as assign tasks, set meeting times in the Calendar, and manage client communication. All of this is possible for Margaret right from within her apartment. These applications combine to connect Margaret to more than the cloud, they connect her to her fellow teammates and help her do her job better than ever before.
For telecommuting employees everywhere, being able to communicate and engage with their fellow co-workers and team members is the difference between a happy productive work life and a lonely one. Margaret put it best when she said, “Humans are social creatures. We need to be able to look at each other in order to get our best work done”
Increase the communication to improve the teamwork. It’s a recipe that will works every time.
Disclaimer: This article was written by a guest contributor in his/her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CloudWedge.com.