Remote Work and The Technology That’s Made it Possible: Everything You Need to Know About Telecommuting

Man woking remotely from home, web conferencing with VoIP systems

Flexibility to work from home is key for a lot of people

Recent years have seen a drastic increase in the popularity of telecommuting (employees working remotely from home). In fact, from 2007 to 2017, the number of Americans working remotely increased by 115% with 43% of Americans reporting they worked remotely at least part of the time by 2017. While telecommuting continues to grow across most sectors, it has become particularly popular amongst businesses in the tech industry as well as among those in finance and media (telecommuting is least common in education and retail).

 

The Primary Reasons Telecommuting is on The Rise

Seeing the statistics above, you may be wondering why telecommuting is on the rise. Wouldn’t having employees together reduce hassle and increase productivity? However, studies have shown this assumption to be false. Here are just a few of the benefits telecommuting can provide.

  • Telecommuting Increases Productivity
      • Offices Can Be a Distraction: While many would think it would be to everyone’s benefit to have all employees in the office, the fact is that modern offices have become very distracting places full of unnecessary meetings and constant distractions from fellow employees. In fact, a recent study found that employees who worked from home performed 13.5% more efficiently than when they were in the office due to reduced distraction.
      • Commuting Reduces Productivity: Not only does being in the office reduce productivity, but so does the act of commuting to the office. Studies have found that long commutes have a drastic impact on employee health by increasing rates of obesity, heart disease, and depression, which resulted in absences and poor work performance. Telecommuting can then make employees happier and healthier while simultaneously increasing their productivity.
  • Telecommuting Saves Businesses Money: Perhaps the greatest way businesses can benefit from a remote workforce is in the money they will save on business expenses by having employees telecommute. Every employee who works from home limits the amount of money a company will have to spend on office space, furniture, technology, supplies, and utilities, which can represent substantial savings. In fact, it is estimated that each year companies save upwards of 100 million dollars on their office leases by using remote employees.

Increased productivity, a happier workforce, and substantial savings on business expenses are just a few of the many reasons why telecommuting continues to rise in popularity amongst businesses. However, part of the reason why there has been a rise in telecommuting in recent years has been due to the advent of technology that has made remote work possible.

The Technology Needed for Telecommuting

The current rise in telecommuting has been made possible by current technologies that allow for remote collaboration. While telecommuting can prove beneficial for many businesses, there are a few technologies that businesses must first invest in to make this possible such as:

  • Cloud Computing and Electronic Document Management Software: An essential tool for developing a remote workforce is cloud computing and electronic document management systems. For companies looking to develop a remote workforce, electronic document management is key as this will allow individuals to locate files and retrieve information digitally rather than needing to physically locate these files from a drawer somewhere. Cloud computing software then allows individuals to access these files, as well as software and applications, remotely and securely through the cloud from wherever they are working.
  • Web Conferencing and VoIP Systems: Another critical piece of technology companies developing a remote workforce need is a modern VoIP phone system. These phone systems utilize the internet rather than a traditional phone line to send and receive calls, which allows individuals to use their phone service wherever they are as long as they have an internet connection. This allows employees to use their work phone line to communicate with colleagues, business partners, and customers from the comfort of their own home. Modern unified communications systems can be particularly beneficial for a remote workforce as these systems also often include features such as web chat and video conferencing, which can be vital in allowing remote employees to collaborate together from anywhere in the world.

Telecommuting continues to grow in popularity not only because of the benefits it can provide to businesses and employees alike but also due to the fact that technological advancements have made remote work easier and more convenient than ever before. Contact us to learn more about telecommuting and how it could benefit your business.

IT Monthly Management Reporting: Incident Tracking

IT meting over monthly management reports - IT help desk

Communication on a help desk is key to providing quality service

Consistent and organized IT monthly management reports will give your organization or your business will help keep all of your strategies on track. We understand it may take some time, energy, and patience to get past some of the common management reporting issues that other businesses and organizations have faced. Once you have moved past the common issues, you will be able to improve your entire process and the monthly management reporting will be worth it.

Your IT monthly management reporting software will only be as good as the vendor or provider who will offer it. One of the questions that many people have about monthly management reports is what are the features of a well-built monthly management reporting system. You may already have a sound report format or you may just want to be sure that you have covered everything, we hope we can help provide you with the information you need.

Your IT help desk or service desk solution may already come with a set of reports, but sometimes these reports are not the most essential metrics for your team to track. You should focus on the metrics that will help you achieve the most critical aspects and objectives of your business.

Response Time

Incident response time is the number of hours, minutes, or days that have passed when the issue was reported and a resolution was actually found. A fast response time with moderate reopen rates will specify effective customer service.

Resolution Rate

The resolution rate consists of the percentage of problems that were resolved the first time they were brought up. First-time resolution rate will not consist of any repeated calls. When your organization has a high first-time resolution rate, this will generally correlate to outstanding customer service and outstanding customer satisfaction.

Where Are The Highest Incidents?

You will have an opportunity to determine what business departments have the highest need for products and services. Reviewing incidents per department will give you the best chance to identify any holes in your service and provide as an aid in assigning agents correctly.

Current Tickets

Another thing that you should be reported is the number of tickets that are currently active. When you are aware of the number of current tickets you have, you will not be caught off-guard and you will not be overwhelmed by the tickets. Keeping track of the active tickets will also prevent you from having unsatisfied customers because you will not let your tickets get backed up.

Revisiting Tickets

Do you keep track of the percentage of tickets that have to be reopened after the initial contact? If a ticket needs to be reopened after it was marked as resolved may provide you with the insight you need to improve your training. This can also result in a need to perform maintenance and/or repairs on your hardware.

No Resolution

If you have incidents that did not receive a resolution can mean that you have holes and gaps that need to be filled when it comes to your agents. There can also be holes and gaps when it comes to knowing how to properly manage the system.

When you are able to keep track of the number of tickets, incidents, and resolutions, you will be able to do the following:

  • identify tendencies
  • identify what areas have the highest ticket volume and the lowest ticket volume
  • schedule agents appropriately during the high-volume times

You want to ensure your end users and customers are happy and satisfied at the end of the day, and proper IT monthly management reports can provide you with the assistance you need to ensure this does happen. Contact us today for more information on IT management reporting.

Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR): Disasters Do Not Take Breaks During The Summer

Business man in summer heat on laptop wishing he had a Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR) plan

Planning ahead is key to minimizing the impact of data loss

Summer can bring a variety of things your way, including great weather, long days and nights, and the occasional sunburn. Those things should be at the top of our list of concerns during the summer, right? Unfortunately, there are many other things businesses have to be concerned about during the summer. There always seems to be a major difference between how we think things should be and how they actually are.

Business owners should always make it a priority to backup files so no information will be lost in case there is an unexpected event or emergency. If any information is lost during an event, the files can easily be recovered when you have your files backed up. Unfortunately, too many businesses fail to have a Backup Disaster Recovery(BDR) plan. The commitment to creating a Backup Disaster Recovery(BDR) plan seems to disappear during the summer. We encourage business owners to dedicate some time, energy, and effort into preserving all their data.

You Will Never Know When Disaster Will Strike

Many business owners fail to put as much energy into a BDR plan in the summer because they feel that they only have to worry about certain disasters during the winter or various areas of the year. While the winter does bring its own threats, summer can also have devastating impacts on businesses. Summer brings extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, etc.

Snowstorms can result in power outages, but floods, storms, and heat waves can also result in power outages. If your business is not ready for the impact of a power outage, you can find yourself in a situation that will not be easy to get out of.

It is important for business owners to remember that natural disasters, threats, and the risk of data loss can take place during every part of the year. Natural disasters can have a significant impact on your business, especially due to their ability to increase downtime due to data unavailability.

In addition to natural disasters, hackers do not take breaks during the summer. Businesses are the targets of half or more than half of attacks. As a business owner, you are not able to predict when a disaster will strike, but you will be able to control how your business will be able to make a recovery if a natural disaster or threat to data does strike.

Why Is A Backup Disaster Recovery Plan Important?

Your business’s BDR needs will not be the same as the business’s next door. A BDR will involve multiple processes that will include planning, testing, and monitoring the responses to various types of threats and failures. When you are thinking about taking a vacation to the beach, we encourage you to make some room to think about BDR. It may not be fun to think about now, but if you are ever hit by a disaster, you will be glad you took some time to create a BDR.

You do not want to be added to the list of businesses who lose nearly millions or over millions of dollars trying to recover from a loss of data. Many businesses also have to close their doors for good because they were never able to recover from the data loss. Constantly engage in BDR discussions and ensure that all information that is essential to your business can be recovered easily and quickly.

Disasters and threats can occur throughout the entire year, and it is important that you take the necessary precautions to ensure that losing data will not result in losing your entire business. Contact us today when you are ready to ensure your data will always be available.

Can Your Customers and Leads Get in Touch with Your Salespeople?

Customer and/or lead getting in touch with salesperson over VOIP

How complicated is your business auto attendant?

Sales funnels are fragile things. When your company is in the process of converting a lead into a paying customer, a lot of events and interests have to line up just right. One of the most important factors people look for, whether you sell business to business products or you market to individual consumers, is a personal experience. Customers want to know that your company is available on their schedule. Communication needs to be prompt, professional, and easy, no matter what medium they’re using. If your salespeople handle a lot of calls, they need to have the right tools so their leads can reach out to them with questions and call them easily when they’re ready to make a purchase. Here’s how Voice over IP telephony services, or VOIP, can help:

Keep your extensions and company directory organized.

Before VoIP combined your telephony and administrative systems, keeping track of extensions was difficult. Every incident of employee turnover would have a few months of confusion as extensions get associated with a new phone owner. Voice messages required a complicated array of button pushing, and there was no centralized control over how to access specific employees.

But a VoIP system is easily edited. You can fill in the details of different employees, their extension, and their schedule. The information is added to and filled in through a computer program rather than through a patchwork of phones. Not only does this give easier control to a central authority, like someone in the human resources department, those profiles can also be visible to internal employees and, on a limited basis, on your company website. Everyone benefits when the contact details are easily changed and updated live.

Route calls between desk phones and cell phones based on your employees’ in-office schedules.

The line between in-office work and office work is changing. Whether you personally want a bright dividing line between work and personal hours, many salespeople are starting to migrate to a looser schedule. Lots of sales are made based on off-hours conversations and easy accessibility. Instead of the older method of giving valuable clients or leads two different phone numbers, your VoIP system can handle the schedule. Each employee can establish when phone calls should go to their office phone and when calls should go to their cell phones. They can also designate true off hours when calls should go straight to voicemail. Not only is that easy on prospective customers, but employees don’t have to tell anyone their cell phone number.

Make messages easier to customize and standardize.

Voicemail and automated messages can make or break a customer experience. Having basic, clunky messages that are made up of a template and added details sounds dated. They also sound bland and generic when you can’t add company-specific wording across every extension.

But VoIP message interfaces make it easier to upload sound bytes. Whether your company has a seasonal introduction message or promotional content that needs to be added to every telephone “signature,” VoIP makes it easier to manage. The system administrator can also distribute a sound file for mass upload and customization. This makes it easier to manage a standardized presentation style while still allowing for custom messages. Even better, you can run a report to see who hasn’t updated their recorded messages and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

VoIP systems don’t just help your customer service department. They’re an easy system that helps your salespeople reach out to new clients and ensures more callbacks. Even an online interface for telephone profiles makes everyone more accessible, gets rid of incorrect data, and improves your customers’ experience. Go to SystemsNet to see what that interface looks like.