Remote Collaboration and Working Helps the Earth

At ReadyTalk, remote working and collaboration is important for many reasons. It makes company employees more productive — meeting revenue Remote collaboration helps the environmenttargets while keeping down expenses. It increases employee engagement and reduces turnover … again reducing costs. Telecommuting attracts millennial candidates and retains Baby Boomers as they begin to retire. Remote working enables better disaster recovery ensuring continuity. That’s a huge cost and risk association.

Work from home policies also help the earth.

Here are a few things to know about how telecommuting helps protect our planet.

Remote Collaboration Improves the Environment

According to Tech.co, Global Workforce Analytics estimates yearly savings if people who wanted to work remotely did so just half the time:

  • $20 million in gas
  • 54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (equivalent to taking almost 10 million cars off the road for a year)
  • 640 million barrels of oil (worth $64 billion)
  • 119 billion miles of highway driving

That’s significant reduction in carbon emissions and energy saver.

Other Companies Are Going Green

Tech giants like Dell, Xerox, Amazon, SAP, IBM, Apple and Salesforce all have work from home policies. But it’s not just tech companies — Cigna, Wells Fargo, Aetna, Aquent and Deloitte all have policies as well ways to handle remote collaboration available for employees. And those are the just the big companies.

Fast Company indicates that by 2020, more than half of all employees in the workforce will work remotely.

Cause Marketing

When you’re doing things to benefit the world — helping children or our planet — why not brag about it? Most companies have its corporate social responsibility (CSR) listed as a way to attract new employees and business. And it works — many customers reward a company by spending their dollars on one that aligns to their values. In fact, 81% of millennials expect companies to be good corporate citizens according to Forbes. This Gen Y generation uses their own values, too, to reward companies.

And their commitment to the environment is one of their top causes. The Atlantic provided a survey and environment was among millennials top areas of interest.

It makes good economic sense, then, to go green.

Consider Remote Collaboration

So this Earth Day, think about doing something to benefit your company, your employees, and your workforce remote collaboration. After all, it reduces carbon emissions and energy needs, too.

Your Audio Conferencing Technology is Affecting Your Billable Hours

Get paid for your legal consulting services, billable down to the minute

Your law firm, whether a solo practitioner or a multinational corporation, may face challenges tracking billable time. It’s a complex billing issue; each separate legal service needs to be tracked and billed by the minute as well as document flat-fee services. It’s even more complicated when you’re communicating with cross-border clients, multiple associates and even international contractors. When everybody absolutely, positively has to be engaged on the issue at the same time, tracking the accountable time for each participant and ensuring accurate billing of each client is as critical to the project as its subject matter.

Lost time is lost money

You’re losing money by not billing down to the minute, too. And the problem is real. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), nearly half of every business hour each day isn’t billed by the working attorney. In other words, you could be losing half of the expected revenue for your valuable services.

The reasons for these lapses are probably as varied as the lawyers who experience them, but one easy solution is software programming. If you’re looking for practice areas where technology can easily track billable time, a good place to start that evaluation is your communications system.

Lawyers benefit from secure discussions, too

Like the U.S. District Court and many attorneys, you may frequently confer with others outside your office, and you must rely on teleconferencing technology to efficiently and affordably accomplish your goals. What many lawyers do not understand however, is that the teleconferencing technology used to facilitate a multiparty conference can also add the extra benefit of accurately and comprehensively track billing for the call. Today’s technology can capture each minute for subsequent billing, reducing the percentage of billable hours that might otherwise be lost.

Ergo, your audio conferencing technology should ensure:

  • A clear communication channel where each call participant hears each word accurately.
  • Secure client and case confidentiality.
  • An accurate billing record for each participating firm attorney and supporting staff, whether it’s one person or a dozen.

Each element listed above represents an essential aspect of the nature of the law practice.

  • Clear communication of legal principles, liabilities, agreements and other relevant information is absolutely critical to a case’s success. Miscommunications can be disastrous.
  • Protection of client confidentiality is the highest priority, along with the protection of the proprietary and confidential case details. Leaked information can cripple agreements and have big consequences for your clients.
  • The teleconferencing technology should allow lawyers to focus on practicing law and consulting, not counting billable minutes. And yet those billable minutes ensure your law firm stays in business.

In the U.S. District Court, attention to detail, even technical detail, assures that justice is served. The sophistication of today’s audio conferencing technology gives you the tools necessary to achieve justice, conclude agreements, keep client information secure and accurately bill your time.

Need more information about audio conferencing or how you’ll see those billable minutes affected?

See our audio conferencing product or get a live demo!

 

They Said it Couldn’t Be Done…

They said it couldn’t be done, but history proved otherwise.

Need some inspiration on innovation? Here are just a few things “they” said couldn’t be done and other predictions that were wrong.success

  • The Quarterly Review printed that locomotives (trains) would never go faster than stagecoaches. In 1830, although the train came off the track, the locomotive raced against a horse … and showed it was faster.
  • A Boston paper declared there was no need to transmit a human voice over wires and that it couldn’t be done. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented and successfully used his telephone.
  • Not within a thousand years will man ever fly.” And yet the man who said it, Wilbur Wright, conducted the first successful flight at Kitty Hawk.
  • Everyone believed the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, couldn’t be climbed. But in 1953, Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing Norgay made the summit.
  • In 1968, Businessweek claimed that the Japanese auto industry wouldn’t have a big demand as there were too many foreign cars on the market. Today, the Japanese auto industry is one of the largest in the world.
  • Fred Smith nearly flunked a college paper where he suggested overnight delivery would be successful. His professor believed the logistics would be impossible. Years later Fred created Federal Express.
  • In 2007, USA Today indicated that the iPhone wouldn’t take off. In 2015, Forbes indicated it is one of the top smartphones rivaled only by Samsung.

Do you have any favorite impossible feats that were accomplished? Let us know!

All Companies Can Innovate Like a Startup

Big companies need to innovate or can face consequences … like bankruptcy

Senior excited businessman has an idea drawing a lightbulb with pen

According to Forbes, 96% of new businesses fail within ten years. One of the top reasons? Lack of innovation. Even successful businesses can go extinct … like Atari, Circuit City and Tower Records.

There are also quite a few businesses that, like the phoenix, arise from the ashes to re-enter as a major player such as Ford. Some companies, like IBM and Apple, flirted with death, but through restructures and change became better and stronger.

So … what do these companies do to stay in existence?

Embrace change

Change happens all the time. We change. Businesses, buyers and market demands change, too.

Sometimes change involves shifting focus, diversifying the portfolio, rebranding or transforming into something vastly different.

Sometimes a company changes almost everything like Xerox. In a digital world, paper printing isn’t needed as much as it once was. Thirty years ago, they were protecting their brand from being synonymous with copying, but now they’re figuring out what’s next. They’re reviewing opportunities that still fit within their brand such as 3D printing, and diversifying with opportunities like consulting services. Of course, these came with new ways of communicating their brand including a new logo.

Sometimes change is smaller. Smaller groups can be more agile and treat change almost as an incubation lab or accelerator. Smaller teams can be more agile to get things done. Even the military uses fewer troops to do complex operations and have for ages; the American Revolution banked on smaller groups of nimble fighters against the British. So it’s no surprise companies like Google have nimble teams to enable quick changes or “attack” big problems.

Collaborate

It’s cliche’ to say: Think outside the box. But that phrase is true. People who don’t realize where the box is are often you’re best innovators and change agents. Change management theories call them early adopters.These people are your cutting edge – the people who know about stuff before anyone else does.

Regardless of how change is introduced, embracing change is crucial to innovation. And every company who wants to think about innovation has to have people who love it. Loving change and innovation isn’t for everyone. Those who thrive on “the new” are often those people you need to attract. Collaboration may seem as mundane to solve problems or to think ahead, but that — in essence — is what makes companies great.

Iterate

With change comes iteration. Follows these important steps:

  1. Try.
  2. Tweak. Try again.
  3. Return to step 2 until you reach success.

Iteration is something IT employees know — software developers live this motto. Information technology usually has quality assurance (QA) employees set up to ensure there’s a bug list and everything is tested and fixed on time.

Whether you’re trying with a prototyping or product launches, it’s good to test and fix … and then test again and fix again.

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” That’s tenacity!

And let’s face it, even the most innovative companies fail. Apple introduced a tablet years before the iPad — the Apple Newton. It took almost ten years and a better battery for that to really take off.

So what if you don’t have an actual product? You can still beta test, conduct A/B testing, and get feedback. For example, if you write or consult, someone can provide ideas to help your pitch or change the way you provide services.

Network

And to get feedback, you need people to give you that actual feedback — your network.

Who’s your network? Everyone you know — friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Friends and family can provide great advice and information into how to use something and sometimes can be a great sounding board for trial and error. Alexander Graham Bell probably wouldn’t have invested in communications if not for his wife Mabel Bell. Bell, the inventor of the telephone, tried to find ways to bring sound to the deaf.

Measure

Measuring helps you know when you get to success or whether your changes have improved or innovated anything. There are lots of different ways to measure, but most come down to quality or quantity. Do you want more or better or both?

Put it all together — what do you do?

It seems easy right? Like most things in life, there’s no checklist on how to innovate. Innovation, like invention, is about 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, as the famous saying goes.

Let’s hear about the way you and your business is innovating.

 

Don’t Let Disorganization Keep You from Having Effective Meetings

The first indicator of a successful meeting starts much earlier than the meeting itself. It goes back to when you start to justify if a meeting is needed to accomplish a goal. Once you’ve determined that a meeting is necessary, it’s important to think of those who would be crucial to invite to get the meeting objectives met. Invite only those who can contribute to the outcome in some way, shape, or form. Now, doing just that alone does not guarantee a successful meeting. One of the main reasons meetings are viewed as unsuccessful or a waste of time is bad organization.

opened agenda

Luckily, bad organization can be avoided with adequate preparation for any meeting. Much of bad organization is not defining clear objectives so that everyone in the meeting is on the same page.

Start with creating an agenda.
Here are 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Get input. Ask those invited to the meeting to provide input on what they would like to accomplish. If you’re hoping your attendees will be engaged and proactive during your meeting, be sure to have agenda items that reflect their needs.
  2. Ask questions. If you called a meeting to have specific questions answered, be sure to include those in the agenda. If the questions are for certain attendees, make that clear so that they can come prepared to have an answer for you.
  3. Provide time estimates by agenda item/topic. To ensure that you’ll have enough time to discuss everything you called the meeting for, provide estimates for how long each agenda item should be discussed. This forces you, as a meeting host, to plan ahead and be diligent about the important topics. Giving estimates also helps with the flow of a meeting as well, and gives a frame of reference to those attending.
  4. Identify those responsible. Sometimes, as the meeting host, you’re not necessarily responsible for any or all agenda items. If you’ve called a meeting to simply facilitate and gather information, let those who are responsible know exactly what they should come prepared with.
  5. Leave time for feedback. Give yourself about 5-10 minutes before the end of each meeting to discuss how well the meeting went and elicit feedback for what should be done differently for the next meeting. Learning from what you’re doing right (or wrong) will help you develop and lead to more effective meetings in the future.

Once you’ve created your agenda, be sure to distribute it ahead of time so that your attendees have ample time to prepare beforehand. Don’t forget to send out any other relevant materials for the meeting as well.

Find out how to avoid making this and other mistakes in meetings with our eBook, “5 Meeting Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them.”