A man sitting at a desk, using a smartphone.

Cloud solutions for business allow employees to work from anywhere.

Hiring is a lot like dating after 30: It seems like most of the good ones are already taken, and competition is fierce for talent that’s still on the market. And it can be hard to meet new people, unless you expand your search beyond those in close proximity to you.

Cloud solutions for business help to solve these challenges. By making the workspace increasingly mobile, cloud communications enable employers to widen their searches, find and hire the best people for the job, and retain those employees by offering something more and more people now want — the ability to work from anywhere.

Downshifters, Dads, and Disabled Workers

Fortune predicts that as more millennials mature into the next stage of their lives, they will soon be leaving cities in droves, opting for suburban or even country living. Add to that the tens of millions of people who already live in rural America, and you’ve got an enormous talent pool that may not be within commuting distance to your company offices. However, they are within telecommuting distance.

Remote work also appeals to parents, many of whom leave the workforce because they want to spend more time with their families or because the cost of childcare now amounts to an extra mortgage payment. Providing these caregivers with the technology and flexibility to work around their lives opens up a huge, untapped market of job candidates who might otherwise opt out of full-time work outside of the home.

Telecommuting has also created new job opportunities for disabled individuals, for whom traveling to an office might be difficult or even impossible. With the ability to work where they’re most comfortable, they can be just as productive and innovative as anyone else on your team.

Of course, this is not the extent of those who’d appreciate the opportunity to work remotely. Most everyone is yearning for a greater work/life balance these days, and they’re increasingly looking for employers who will help them achieve it.

Finding the Right People

Smart leaders don’t want to hire just anyone. They want to hire people who are not only qualified for the job, but also bring enthusiasm, passion, and dedication to their work.

Depending on a business’ location, this can be challenging. In smaller towns, the talent pool is often limited, particularly for highly specialized jobs. In larger cities, there are more professionals, but also more businesses seeking to hire them, many of which offer salaries and perks your company might not be able to match.

Location doesn’t matter for companies that hire remote workers. Not only can they hire from anywhere, but they also have a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting top talent.

For example, Jenny Collister, founder of the Reef & Rainforest travel agency, said she believes that successful travel agents must be passionate about travel and adventure (translation: the kind of people who don’t like to stay in one place). To attract these wandering souls, she offers the balance and flexibility of being able to work from home or on the road. With a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system and mobile app, her agents can even help customers plan trips while on trips of their own.

“I like offering flexibility to my staff,” Collister said. “Some employees embrace it, and others like more structure, so we try to maintain a balance that ensures that our customers are fully served during work hours and often beyond.”

The Value Equation

Having a remote workforce doesn’t just help companies find and hire the best talent, but studies confirm how productive these employees can be. For employees, working remotely can help meet their professional and personal priorities. There are some employees, particularly millennials, who may value work/life balance and flexibility more than a big paycheck. With the high cost of daycare, some parents may offer to work for less if they can work from home. Of course, remote workers should expect to be valued and compensated as any in-office employee would. But the remote work model sometimes offers negotiable flexibility that can appeal to both employer and employee.

Mark Krassner, founder of Knee Walker Central, has built a successful business with a team of remote workers spread across the country—all of whom are tied together by a hosted VoIP phone system. This arrangement affords employees an attractive level of flexibility. In fact, several of them have relocated their home offices without missing a beat. With cloud solutions for business, all workers need is an internet connection in their new location, and they’re up and running. Krassner also points to how productive his remote team has been for the company.

So yes, hiring these days can be a lot like dating. However, there’s one big difference: In the case of hiring, long-distance relationships actually do work.

Speak to a Vonage Business consultant to learn more about cloud solutions for business.

Taylor Mallory Holland

Taylor Mallory Holland is a professional writer with more than 11 years of experience writing about business, technology and health care for both media outlets and companies. Taylor understands how enterprise mobility and cloud technology can reshape industries and provide new opportunities to streamline workflows, improve employee collaboration and reimagine the customer experience. She is passionate about helping business leaders understand the impact that emerging technologies can have on communication, operations and sales and marketing.

Linkedin  |  Twitter

A man speaking on the phone, sitting at a desk at home.

When the office is closed due to the weather, you and your team can follow these productivity tips.

When the weather outside is frightful, driving to work isn’t so delightful. However, in the digital age, corporate leaders no longer have to choose between losing productivity and asking people to venture out in unsafe weather.

Letting employees work from home on particularly wintry days is a great way to keep everyone safe and try telecommuting if you’ve been reluctant to allow employees to work remotely on a regular basis. And, you’ll figure out who can get work done outside of the office.

With the right technology and these productivity tips, even telecommuting newbies can do their job successfully from home. Share these tips with your team or use them to get your own telecommuting plan in order.

1. Find a Suitable Workspace

If you don’t telecommute on a regular basis, you might not already have a dedicated home office. You can technically work from anywhere you get a wireless signal, but some areas of your home may be better than others. For instance, nap aficionados might want to avoid working in their bedroom, lest they be lulled into an increasingly horizontal position. And TV fanatics would do well to stay far away from that black hole of procrastination.

Think about your ideal working environment. Do you focus better when it’s library-level quiet or with just a little background noise? Or, are you so accustomed to cubicle life that it’s hard to focus without hearing 10 different conversations at once? Do you prefer a neat and orderly office space, or would your desk at work make you look like an ideal candidate for an episode of “Hoarders”? Now, determine which space in your home would offer most of the comforts of work.

2. Stock Up on Supplies

When the weatherman predicts more than a flurry of flakes, skip the bread and milk and make sure you’re well-supplied with everything you’d need at work. What do you need on hand to work productively? An old-school computer, pen, and paper? A not-so-old school fridge of Red Bull? If you work with sensitive information that you aren’t allowed to access using a personal computer or mobile device, talk to your manager about bringing your work laptop home when inclement weather is expected.

3. Limit Distractions

Setting up an appropriate workspace might help you avoid distracting yourself, but unless you live alone, you may also need a plan in place to keep other people — especially little ones — from interrupting you. If your kids, spouse, parents, roommates, or neighbors are shut in with you for the day, it helps to set some ground rules up front.

You might even consider making a “Do Not Disturb” sign to hang on the door when you really need to concentrate. Let your loved ones know when you’ll take your next break so they’re less inclined to bother you with questions and requests. If all else fails, buy some noise-cancelling headphones.

4. Ensure Your Internet Connection Is Up to Snuff

Not all internet connections are created equal. Before you start telecommuting, make sure you have the bandwidth to use any necessary apps, platforms, or business collaboration tools, such as video conferencing. Of course, if the weather is particularly bad, you may lose your home internet connection. However, if you still have cell service, you can keep working using a mobile hot spot. If you don’t know how to do it, your kids can probably show you — or your trusty friends in the IT department.

Using a mobile hot spot all day can eat up mobile data, so you may have to beef up your plan or stop letting your kids stream Netflix from your phone. Most cell providers will let you scale data caps up and down as needed.

5. Save All of Your Work in the Cloud

Unless you back up your computer every day, storing work data on your hard drive is just asking to lose it. All it takes is one virus, one computer malfunction, or one misplaced device, and it’s gone forever.

By making a habit of saving everything on a company-approved cloud-based server you not only protect data from being lost or stolen, but you can also ensure you can access it from anywhere and on any device. So, if you unexpectedly need to work from home, you’re good to go.

These productivity tips will help occasional telecommuters prepare to work from home. However, if you decide to make it a more regular thing, they’ll need more than a quiet place to work. They’ll need technology that keeps them connected, productive, and able to collaborate with colleagues.

Speak to a Vonage Business consultant to learn more about cloud-based tools for your team.

Taylor Mallory Holland

Taylor Mallory Holland is a professional writer with more than 11 years of experience writing about business, technology and health care for both media outlets and companies. Taylor understands how enterprise mobility and cloud technology can reshape industries and provide new opportunities to streamline workflows, improve employee collaboration and reimagine the customer experience. She is passionate about helping business leaders understand the impact that emerging technologies can have on communication, operations and sales and marketing.

Linkedin  |  Twitter

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