December 13 2016 CollaborationHoliday tips include letting your team work remotely and showing them you appreciate them. The holiday season is finally here. As a small-business owner, you have the double-edged sword of balancing your employees’ need to spend time with their families while ensuring your customers’ needs are met. You don’t want to be a Grinch, but you can’t afford to neglect customers or miss product deliveries. The best strategy is to set up some holiday policies in advance to keep the season merry for everyone. By complementing these policies with affordable and easily accessible cloud technology, your team can enjoy an especially productive holiday season. Use these five holiday tips to prepare your employees for a high volume of customers and product requests, while making sure they also have time to celebrate the holidays: 1. Create Flexibility Start by letting everyone discuss which days they’d like to take off. One employee may celebrate with their family on Christmas Eve, while another may have a tradition of shopping with her mom every Dec. 26. Sit down with your team and have everyone request specific days that are important for them to have off. You may be surprised at how willing the team is to work together and compromise. Then, make sure everyone has access to the holiday calendar so they can double-check when they’re on the clock. With today’s cloud business tools, employees are able to access calendars anytime and from wherever they happen to be working, so everyone can be on the same page. 2. Offer Remote Work Options When your customers have questions, they want answers ASAP. Offering remote work options is one way you can accommodate your employees’ holiday obligations while ensuring your customers aren’t left hanging. For instance, cloud-based mobile technology allows employees to use their business identity to handle customer calls and hide their personal identities, maintaining a consistent business presence when working remotely or on the go. Your employees can work between shopping trips and visiting relatives and your customers will be none the wiser. 3. Provide Easy Access to Your Tools Working remotely sounds like a great idea until you can’t access the software and apps you need to get your work done. Many companies are accessing unified communications tools such as virtual desktops or seamless integration with customer relationship management (CRM) workflows to give them access to the tools they need, even when they’re sitting in a ski lodge with fresh powder on their hats. 4. Plan for Regular Check-Ins Sometimes important meetings can’t wait until after the holidays, yet you already told your team lead he could go visit his grandmother and your star associate left early to wrap presents for a family in need. With the array of video conferencing and other cloud collaboration tools now available, you can set up meetings so everyone can dial in, even if they’re located in three different time zones. 5. Reward Hard Work Balance is hard. Your employees want to do a great job, but also have plenty of other obligations demanding their attention. Make sure you take the time to reward them during these busy days. Maybe it’s a special treat in the break room or gift cards secretly left in their desk drawers. Be sure to include a handwritten note giving your personal thanks as well. By proactively preparing for the holiday rush for both your workload and your employees’ schedules, you can make sure the next few weeks run smoothly. Start with these holiday tips, a good plan and utilize cloud communications tools to make this season as stress-free and merry as possible. Considering writing to Santa to ask for a new business communication system? Visit Vonage Business instead. About Jennifer Goforth Gregory Jennifer Goforth Gregory is a technology freelance writer specializing in B2B and telecommunications topics. She has written for national brands including IBM, Samsung, ADTRAN, Adobe, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Verizon, Costco and American Express. One of her superpowers is being able to translate technical speak from the experts that make products work into language everyone else can understand. Jennifer has a master’s degree in technical communication and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids. Linkedin | Twitter December 7 2012 ArchivesThe holidays seem to be the busiest and most important time of the year for many companies. To keep your mind stress-free this season we wanted to remind you how easy it is to set up your holiday Virtual Receptionist! Record your greetings early, or call our Customer Care team at 1-866-901-0242 now to assist you. It’s a perfect way to ensure that your customers will know exactly how to contact you on the days you plan to be out of the office. Watch our video below to learn two quick and easy ways to upload greetings by yourself, or visit the Vocalocity support site page about Virtual Receptionist settings. From your Virtual Receptionist panel on your Admin Portal, click the red “record” button Enter your phone number or extension number Enter a unique file name to help you remember what type of recording you’ve made Click “Dial” and your phone will call you and guide you through how to record your custom greeting When you‘re done speaking and have saved the greeting over the phone, make sure to click the green “Save” button on the top right of your Admin Portal screen OR If you already have a pre-recorded file, upload your custom recording by clicking the blue button with a plus (+) sign in the middle Select the audio file from your computer, just like how you would select a file to attach to an email Once you click “Upload” the greeting will be set to work with your Virtual Receptionist Doesn’t it feel good to know one more thing is checked off your list? About Aaron CharlesworthAaron oversees all marketing and product management activities for the company and is an accomplished executive with deep technology marketing experience. He has a proven track record in lead generation, planning and product management, qualitative and quantitative research, search engine optimization, and creative collateral development.