Whether you're a freelancer, small business start-up or medium sized company with a team of staff, you're probably aware of the benefits remote working can bring to your business. Overheads are lower, there are no travel or commuting costs and more work can be squeezed into time that would otherwise be spent getting from A to B. Not to mention that hiring a remote worker can often be cheaper than paying someone to come into your office. In case you've never hired someone to work remotely before, or are considering ways of using remote working for your company, here are a few ways to make it work for you.
Use Video Conferencing
A great way to keep an eye on workers who are carrying out their tasks remotely is to use video conferencing. This means you can schedule regular meetings or catch ups and see exactly what is going on at your premises or their place of work. Video conferencing solutions can cost less than you might think – you could always use free software such as Skype, or why not invest in a professional video conferencing solution for a more secure connection? Companies such as The Conference Group offer a wide range of video, audio and web conferencing solutions to meet your needs, so finding the right option for your business is easy.
Utilize Audio Conferencing
If you don't need to see what your remote workers are doing, or if you're a freelancer who needs to check in with your agency for meetings from time to time, then audio conferencing is the perfect way to do so. Unlike video conferencing, where your boss or agency can see everything that's going on, audio conferencing is a type of extended phone call – with some systems you can have up to 99 participants! This is great for quick, regular meetings or catch ups to go through work, where visual aids are not required.
Show Them What You Mean
Web conferencing is another great option that can be used for more visual meetings. If you have PowerPoint presentations, documents or spreadsheets that you need to share with the group, web conferencing allows you a virtual chat room with secure connectivity to share sensitive documents with your team. This is far more secure than using a normal web chat service or software such as Skype, and is a great way to see team progress reports or be updated on a specific project.
Multi-Task Your Services
These solutions all work well on their own, but used together they provide a complete solution
for anyone working remotely or hiring
staff to work at a remote location or from home. For instance, video conferencing in conjunction with web conferencing allows documents to be shared and then discussed in a virtual face to face meeting – research shows it's often much easier to get across thoughts and feelings when we can see who we're talking to. Global virtual teams are the future of business and in the future, we will more often work with a remote team than we will face to face with colleagues in the same office.
Keep in Touch
The key to successful global virtual teams and remote working is communication. It's vital to keep in touch with your team or your manager at all times, particularly if there have been changes to project schedules or unforeseen problems. Video, audio and web conferencing provide invaluable support for anyone working remotely, making it easier for them to keep in touch with their manager or head office – and better communication means better results! Whichever service you choose, it's only as good as the remote workers using it, so it's important that they realist the importance of communication when working remotely.
Remote working has increased over the last 10 years and is only set to increase further as we rely more on technology for our everyday work. The internet has changed the way we work and run our businesses – many would say for the better, so it makes sense to utilize the available technology at our fingertips and take advantage of all that it has to offer.
Jeremy Masters is a freelance writer, contributing to a variety of technology blogs and websites across the globe. He knows that without modern technology and video/audio conferencing, his job would not be possible.