Category Archives: Remote Working

How remote work helps the environment

 

Remote working has lots of benefits: increased productivity, lower overhead costs and greater employee engagement. But there’s another major benefit that you shouldn’t overlook.

Remote working helps the environment.

If you want to save the planet, why not start at your desk? Below are several reasons why remote working helps the environment based on statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Tech.co Global Workforce Analytics report (and if you want a handy infographic summing it all up, we have that too).

Remote work saves gas

The office commute is the bane of the modern worker’s existence. Eliminate that step, and you’ve also helped soothe the collective psyche of not only humanity but also Mother Nature. Employees who work remotely just 50 percent of the time save 54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s equivalent to taking 11 million cars off the road for a year, as well as the amount of carbon sequestered by 1.4 billion tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

Remote workers also avoid 119 billion miles of highway driving – that’s the mileage equivalent to circling the Earth 4.7 million times. If the image of commuters mindlessly driving around the world 4.7 million times – and all the road rage that comes with it – doesn’t scare you into making some environmental changes, then we don’t know what will.

Remote work uses less energy

Computers are incredible tools for helping us do nearly anything these days, including saving energy. The greenhouse gas emissions saved by remote workers telecommuting just 50 percent of the time was equal to the amount of electricity used by 8 million homes in one year.

Remote work decreases wear and tear

According to to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans take 1.1 billion car trips a day. Some 15 percent of these trips are for commuting, which comes out to 165 million driving commutes taking place each day. In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage, having that many cars on the road every day is just plain bad for infrastructure. Roads, highways and parking garages deteriorate over time, and vehicles start having issues – leading to more car purchases. Nixing the commute and working from home protects the infrastructure around you, meaning less energy used to make costly repairs and upgrades.

Remote work helps save the environment, and when you add in using the right tools like video conferencing and unified communications, you can make sure it’s a productivity boon for your business, too.

How to optimize productivity in meetings with remote workers

Having remote workers enables you to get the best talent on your team, no matter where it's located. But for telecommuting arrangements to actually be an advantage for your business, you need effective connectivity and collaboration with your remote employees. 

Many managers already struggle to hold meetings that engage in-office workers, let alone those located on the other side of the country or world. But don't sweat it; with the easy productivity practices below, you can make sure meetings with remote workers are worthwhile. 

Use video instead of audio-only meetings 

Video meetings and web conferences are the way to go when it comes to connecting with your remote workforce. They enable face-to-face communication, which helps remote workers feel like they're in the loop and part of the team. These tools improve understanding because you're able to see facial cues and not just hear someone's voice. And as organizational effectiveness consultant Shani Magosky noted in a post for InsideOut Development, these types of remote meetings reduce the chance that employees multitask while in the meeting – so no worries that they're answering emails or working on other projects while you talk.

Keep it action-oriented 

When you have remote workers scattered around the world, with each one potentially following a unique schedule, it's important that meetings bring your company closer to its goals in tangible ways. Make sure every meeting has a clear goal and purpose; for example, find a solution to a workflow issue, de-bug a tech problem or decide on next steps for a project. Even more "abstract" activities like brainstorming can have concrete objectives drawn from them, such as aiming to come up with X number of product ideas to present to upper-level management. Participants should go into the meeting knowing exactly what they need to do and come out knowing their next steps. 

Share materials seamlessly 

Remote workers shouldn't feel far away, and with video conferencing tools that enable you to seamlessly share relevant materials, they won't. Share online content, presentations, sales pitches, product demos and more during video meetings with remote workers to take collaboration and productivity to the next level. 

With the innovative platforms available today, remote workers are closer than ever. Use these tips to boost productivity in meetings with your telecommuters. 

What can I use webinars for?

 

Webinars – you hear a lot about them, but what do you actually use them for? Well, we’re here to tell you: a lot of things. And really exciting things at that!

If used right, webinars can bring big advantages for your business. More leads, happier customers, better brand recognition and more engaged employees – all this can be yours if you create targeted, high-quality webinars. And that’s easier than ever, thanks to the innovative, intuitive tools available and our handy webinar guide here.

So let’s dive in – here are a few specific ways you can use webinars at your business:

Share vital information with remote employees

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the data shows that more companies than ever before are hiring full-time remote workers. Telecommuting arrangements can be a boon for productivity, but being able to get the job done effectively depends on having the right materials at your fingertips. Webinars offer ultra-focused ways to share must-have information, documents, presentations and the like with your remote workers. It can also be an engaging way to brief remote employees on company news, policy changes and new projects. Pair webinars with a unified communications solution and you can make sure that no telecommuter is left in the dark.

Position your company as a thought leader

In today’s crowded content marketplace, everyone’s fighting to grab consumers’ attentions. Brand visibility is the name of the game, and getting the word out that your organization is a thought leader in its industry is a great way to strengthen brand identity and get your name out there. A webinar is the perfect platform for building thought leadership, as it’s both dynamic and visually interesting. Have an influential industry figure or leader at your company share their insights on current news in your sector. Keep the webinar targeted to make it most effective. These types of webinars can also help generate leads and bring potential clients further through the sales cycle.

Enhance user training

You never want to feel like your customers don’t know how to fully take advantage of all the benefits your product or service offers. A dependable customer support team is part of the equation, but user training is also key. Hold webinars that address key functionalities of your products – they’ll be a valuable resource for your customers and keep them coming back to your site.

Webinars are an amazing tool to have at your company – use them to grow your business and engage your employees and customer base alike.

Fact-checking common misconceptions about remote work

Even just a decade or two ago, having a remote workforce was probably seen as the stuff of science fiction. How could a company have employees all over the world that are not only effectively managed but productive in their work?

Well, times have changed. New technology like unified communications that enables seamless connection and collaboration between far-flung individuals has changed the nature of work and human relationships. Despite these innovations, however, old fashioned and outdated views of remote work remain popular.

Let's bust the myths and fact-check some common misconceptions about remote work:

Misconception #1: Remote workers are not productive – they're too distracted by the TV.

Fact-check: Sure, a house has distractions like Netflix, video games and a fridge full of food, but an office has its collection of time-wasters, too, such as the watercooler, social-butterfly co-workers and that universal foe to focus, the internet. The reality is that many remote employees find they're actually more productive doing work at home. This may sound counterintuitive, but it makes sense – telecommuters are able to buckle down and get work done in the comfort and quiet of their own home office. In fact, a survey by employee engagement firm TINYpulse found that 91 percent of respondents say that they're more productive working remotely. 

Misconception #2: Remote workers are easily forgotten by corporate.

Fact-check: With tech tools like unified communications, video conferencing and hosted voice, employees in-office can efficiently and productively connect with remote workers, ensuring they are valued members of the team. Remote work arrangements have also been found to reduce employee turnover rates, according to a study published by Stanford University. And when it comes to including remote workers in social office events, companies are getting creative, using video conferences to enable telecommuters to "attend" holiday parties and all-hands meetings. 

Misconception #3: Remote workers are unhappy and isolated. 

Fact-check: They may be located hundreds of miles from the office building, but home-based employees are pretty happy with their arrangements. The survey by TINYpulse found that remote employees are happier at work than their in-office counterparts. And the top reason that employees choose to work remotely was that they "enjoy having the freedom of choosing when and where to work." 

It's time that companies embrace the exciting opportunities that remote work arrangements bring to their organizations' productivity as well as their employees' happiness levels. With this attitude, they can go forth and prosper in the 21st century. 

3 surprising ways people are using video conferencing

Goodbye geographical boundaries. Video conferencing enables face-to-face communication regardless of location. Some creative individuals take this basic premise and run with it, coming up with revolutionary new uses for the technology. Their ideas would have been unbelievable and impossible even five years ago – and they inspire us in our belief that the sky's the limit when it comes to video conferencing. 

Below are three surprising ways people are using video conferencing. They're all awesome, hey-I-wish-I-thought-of-that ideas – but the best thing is that any group can get the tools they need to use video communication in cool new ways. 

1. Face time with celebrities 

Many people dream of being able to spend 15 minutes chatting with their favorite celebrities – but video conferencing is now making these dreams a reality, while also raising money for charity. A new slew of apps are enabling high-quality live-streaming sessions with celebrities, such as Chatter for Charity. The startup holds raffles for the chance to win a 5-minute video chat session with a star – Chatter for Charity's celebrity roster includes DJ Khaled, Leonardo DiCaprio and Diddy. The proceeds from the raffle then go toward a charity chosen by the star. It's an innovative way to make it possible for people to spend some one-on-one time with their idols while supporting a good cause. 

2. Holiday office parties for remote workers

More and more companies are building teams of remote workers. While telecommuting can enable greater productivity and quality of life for employees while allowing companies to hire the best talent, no matter where they're located, it also means that remote workers are typically unable to take part in office camaraderie. That's all changing, however, with video conferencing. Some companies, such as Xerox, are hosting "virtual holiday parties" for their remote workforces, as The Atlantic detailed in an article. Employees dressed in festive outfits and then signed into the video conference, sharing stories over drinks and snacks just as if they were in the office. Some companies have taken things even further, having employees sign into a video conference from a restaurant while enjoying a meal paid for by the company dime. 

3. Educational connections

Video conferencing is also being used to expand access to education and enrich learning for students all over the world. For example, students at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School in Alaska work on projects with students in Ghana and Palestine through video conferencing platforms, as THE Journal reported. The technology is also being used to enable students in remote communities or at schools with limited resources to take classes at larger institutions, as well as making possible "virtual field trips" at museums, zoos, government offices and other locations. 

Video conferencing forges connections. Embrace it at your company to unite workers and enhance engagement.