April 14 2017 Industry TrendsIs the virtual workforce right for your organization? Virtual offices are extremely popular right now, and for many good reasons. For one, a virtual workforce can be a powerful talent recruitment tool. It’s not uncommon for top performers to rank telework as high or even higher than salary when listing their priorities, and teleworking aids recruitment further by opening up the talent pool to candidates located throughout the country. Working from home has been known to increase employee job satisfaction, boost productivity, and lower turnover costs. Virtual offices are also often cheaper to run, as they require lower overhead costs associated with office space and utilities. And there are many other tangible benefits of having an intangible office. However, being a virtual company isn’t yet a perfect fit for all companies or industries. Here’s how to determine whether it’s right for your business: Can Your Business Thrive with a Virtual Office? Some businesses flourish with a virtual workforce, while others may face challenges in adopting such a model. Certain industries, such as health care and IT, have found that telecommuting is an excellent fit for their needs. It allows employees such as engineers or developers to enjoy greater productivity while working on their own. These are professions that require strong attention to detail and might be significantly hindered by distractions in the office, such as overly chatty colleagues. Virtual offices do a great job of future-proofing startups and small businesses, who tend to find the flexibility and low cost especially helpful at that stage of their growth. Larger businesses are also capitalizing on virtual offices more often, particularly when starting branches in new locations. Businesses with a significant creative function often find that a virtual office is a good match for them, as there is less of a need for face-to-face conversations or in-person review of a physical work product. Marketing organizations in particular tend to thrive in a virtual setting for this reason. When it comes time to compare notes with colleagues, virtually located professionals can take advantage of conferencing and collaboration technology that allows them to share their screens with one another and join a conference on demand. Sales, IT, project management, administrative, customer service, and education or training roles also tend to thrive in a virtual office since it supports independent work especially well. In those cases, any internal collaboration needs that employees have can be met with cloud-based unified communications services that enable them to message or exchange files with one another throughout the workday. However, businesses or specific business units that require a great deal of in-person customer service or team collaboration may decide that a virtual office doesn’t quite fit the bill where those activities are concerned. They may still rely on a physical office or a combination of traditional and virtual office settings to do their work. What to Keep in Mind When Setting Up a Virtual Office If your business decides to set up a virtual office, there are a few steps and precautions you should take in order to ensure a smooth transition. First and foremost, it will be essential to have a clear and well-communicated teleworking policy in place before launching the virtual office. This policy should cover several aspects of the teleworking arrangement, including the following: A clear explanation of the criteria determining how teleworking privileges will be granted A description of how many days per week or month will be worked in the office versus a remote location An outline of teleworking employees’ general working hours An overview of the business’s expectations of remote workers It’s also important to make sure that as teleworking gets underway at the company, staff members understand the performance goals they must achieve in their new virtual office environment. Most businesses find that when a significant percentage of their employees work remotely, managers concern themselves less with the amount of time their staff spends working than the actual results they achieve. Even so, supervisors may find that it’s a bit of an adjustment to oversee their staff when they’re no longer physically located together in the same brick-and-mortar office, so they should make sure they have the training they need to properly carry out their responsibilities in this regard. Teleworking employees often report they are more productive when working from home. Terrific as that may be, teleworkers can sometimes feel isolated from the life of the company when working alone. Some businesses address this concern by proactively arranging regularly scheduled virtual events or meetings in which the staff or various teams share information about what is happening at the business, or they create virtual water cooler spaces where employees can engage in the same kind of casual workplace banter they would at a traditional office. Others secure co-working space for some of their employees so they still have the benefit of social interaction as well as networking and professional events where they may make useful contacts or engage in professional development that benefits the company. A virtual office can be a great benefit to many types of companies of various industries, sizes, workforce configurations, and geographic locations. If your company has been looking for ways to cut costs, improve employee job satisfaction, and boost productivity, it might be worth considering the benefits a virtual workforce may offer. While it isn’t a fit for each and every business, teleworking can be a major asset to the companies that do choose to offer it. Contact Vonage Business to learn more about how cloud-based communications can help your company. About Rose de Fremery Rose de Fremery is a New York-based writer and technologist. She is the former Managing Editor of The Social Media Monthly, the world’s first and only print magazine devoted to the social media revolution. Rose currently blogs about business IT topics including VoIP, UC, CRM, business innovation, and telework for Ziff-Davis as well as HP’s Tektonika program, HP Innovation Journal, HP Channel, Intel, and Vonage’s content marketing program. Twitter August 12 2013 ArchivesWhether you find yourself relaxing with friends and family this Summer or the unfortunate victim of a weather event, it’s great to know that with the flexibility Vocalocity provides, you’ll never be out of touch. Here are a few of the features that make staying connected on-the-go easier than ever. Never Miss a Call Vocalocity business VoIP phone service includes a ‘Never Miss a Call’ feature, which allows you to decide how your incoming calls are handled. Calls can be automatically routed or forwarded to different locations such as a voicemail account, a mobile phone or any other phone number. You can even set it to simultaneously ring these other devices. Check out this quick article to set up this feature and visit your Vocalocity user portal to make updates at my.vonagebusiness.com. Plug and Play Cloud VoIP Technology All of our phones are plug and play, meaning that you can just unplug your phone from your regular office and take it with you. Just plug it in to any broadband Internet jack and you’ll have the same professional appearance from anywhere – across town or around the world! Vocalocity Mobile VoIP If you are unable to bring your office phone to your current location or power loss causes your computer not to work, you can use our mobile application to manage many features directly from your Android or iPhone. Make calls with the caller ID of your business line so you still look professional and don’t have to give out your mobile number. You can also access voicemail or listen to calls you have recorded with the Vocalocity mobile app. Click here to download the mobile app to your device, or just search your App Store or Marketplace for “Vocalocity.” To see the complete list of free features included with your extension, click here. Share these tips with other businesses and earn up to $2,500 for each new company that takes advantage of switching to Vocalocity, the best phone system for business. Simply telling others about Vocalocity can mean a great special for them and a nice bonus for you. About Chris RabbuChris Rabbu is the Vice President of Marketing, Lead Generation at Vonage Business Solutions, the fastest growing provider of cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems for business. He resides in Atlanta, GA and is working on his tennis serve when not dreaming up ridiculously effective marketing campaigns. March 19 2012 ArchivesMobility is one of the hottest trends in the technology world today-from the proliferation of smart phones and mobile applications to the recognition by businesses that it’s no longer an option in order to stay competitive. At Vocalocity we strive to provide you and your business all the tools you need to leverage mobility by offering services empowering you to “Work Smart from Anywhere”. We take pride in offering you features like Vocalocity Mobile, our new app that allows you use a smartphone just like you would your desk phone, and Vocalocity Desktop that integrates your phone system with all your favorite desktop applications. All of this technology convergence is very exciting – productivity improvements and increasing inefficiencies are undeniable across the board! Although, as our technologies converge, we also start to realize that the lines between our personal and business lives are graying and it’s becoming more and more important to be able to delineate personal calls from business calls—the answer? Call Screening. Our Call Screening feature is free for all customers and is designed to work across all of your devices. Essentially, it prompts your caller to state their name prior to answering the call, providing insight into who is calling and time to prepare how to address the caller. Whether you’re the small business owner, or one of his mobile Sales Reps, knowing who is on the other end of a phone call puts you back in control by allowing you to manage both your business and personal lives effectively once again. What’s more, this feature shines where traditional Caller ID technologies fall short. Your calls are screened to your specification, every time. Other Benefits of Call Screening? Mobility Challenges Mitigated: Rest assured you can utilize all the benefits of the mobility trends without having to give up, or deal with the convergence of your personal and business life. Improved Life / Workplace Balance: Choose to avoid taking work calls after-hours and help keep balance within your life. Improved Time Management: Take only important calls when in meetings or working collaboratively, send the rest to voicemail for attention at a later time. Superior Customer Service: Should a call come in to the wrong department, seamlessly transfer calls to the appropriate department, extension, or call group and retain the original caller name recording. How Does Call Screening Work? There are two ways you can configure your Call Screening feature: to “Announce the caller name and connect immediately with action needed”, Or, “Announce the caller name and wait for dialpad key command.” If you choose the second configuration, you have the options to upload your own greeting or use a default greeting, and the following dialpad key commands: Press 1 to accept the call Press 2 to send the call to voicemail Press 3 to transfer the call Press 4 to transfer the call by name To enable Call Screening, simply log into our online portal at: my.vonagebusiness.com About Dave MorrisDave is a content strategist and writer at Vonage Business Solutions, working with teams across the company to build communication programs that enable our customers and assist our prospects. He enjoys living in Atlanta and is an avid gardener, restaurant enthusiast and live music fan. March 6 2012 ArchivesWelcome to Day Two of Teleworking Week! I’m coming to you live from my local coffee shop where I’m getting work done from my laptop and my iPhone. A few months ago, we launched our FREE iPhone and Android applications for Vocalocity customers and so far it has helped me stay connected even more than I ever anticipated. Since I downloaded our VoIP iPhone app, I’ve always had the Never Miss a Call settings enabled to “Follow Me.” I’ve customized my “Follow Me” settings to ring my desk phone for 15 seconds, and then activate my cell phone to ring for 30 seconds. If I don’t answer, the call goes straight to voicemail. I love this setting because if I’m at my desk, I’m quickly able to grab the phone and have a conversation. But if I’m in a meeting, at lunch, or on the other side of the building, I can still stay connected through my cell phone. And if I’m nowhere near the office, I can always check my voicemails directly through the mobile app. For example, as I was walking to the coffee shop from my house this morning, I got a business call on my phone and was able to answer immediately. Some other scenarios I’ve encountered where this has been useful are: Sitting in traffic and worried that I’d be late to call in for a conference call Waiting for my flight at the airport and killing time by tying up some loose ends on a project Coordinating with a professional contact located in California – they’re three hours behind us here in Atlanta, and I could still take the call from my home, while looking as though I was calling from my desk phone (even though it was 7:30 PM). Vocalocity Mobile is great for times when you know you’ll be away from your desk and for unexpected events when you just need to stay connected. And best of all? It’s FREE. I don’t use it all the time as my primary method of staying connected over the phone, but when I consider the amount of work I’ve been able to accomplish by never missing calls or having to play phone tag, the productivity adds up to a real value. Already a Vocalocity customer? Want to try Vocalocity Mobile for yourself? Visit the product page for fast links to the App Store and Android Market. March 5 2012 ArchivesNational Telework Week occurs from March 5-9th this year, and as always we are proud to participate. As you may know, we have participated in teleworking and telecommuting initiatives in the past – even securing the PACE Telework Catalyst Award in 2011 for our company-wide teleworking program which saved over 115,000 vehicle miles annually and increased worker productivity by an average of 78 minutes per day. We also supported telework legislation and spoke at the Clean Air Campaign’s Telework Summit in support of this growing workplace trend. Not only does our company employ an internal teleworking program–allowing each employee to work from home a minimum of once a week–we also are proud to offer the technology that supports the products and services designed to enable mobility while retaining full business continuity and visibility. In honor of this year’s National Telework Week we have dedicated a blog series (one entry per day) to describe in detail how a few of our products and features can help enable your mobility, position you to reduce pollution and take pride in your efforts toward a greener environment. Visit our blog every day this week to learn more about how you can leverage your features in effort to celebrate National Telework Week. Are there other ways your business contributes to a greener planet? We would love to hear your tips and stories!