Ooma Blog

Great Remote Productivity Techs for Every Small Business

By |Friday August 24, 2018

Today’s world is a remote world. Your employees not only want to work out of the office once in a while, but they expect to. People don’t expect to sit in a cubicle all day. They travel. They’re on the road visiting customers and vendors. They are part-time. They are contracted. They are located in your town. They are located around the world.

They are sending emails, answering texts, responding to calls and following up on tasks wherever they are because that’s now part of their job. The owners and managers I know who are running today’s growing and profitable companies know this and so they invest in the right kind of technologies that will help their employees be productive and profitable, whether they’re in the office or not.

What kind of technologies? Here are five that I recommend.

Fintech.

Because of the cloud, users can now access a company’s financial system while on the go. That means they can generate quotes, look up orders, complete estimates, log in their time, record expenses and find out whether or not a customer has paid before the next meeting. The best fintech applications are easy to use and simple to access. They are customizable and have security that limits data entry and retrieval depending on an employee’s access rights. If deployed the right way they offer your employees the ability to get rid of paper and get things done faster and more accurately.

Recommended technologies: Freshbooks, Xero and Expensify.

Collaboration.

Today’s “office” systems have completely changed over the past few years. Sure, you can still do word processing and spreadsheets. But the term “office,” particularly when applied to applications, has now been expanded to include workers both in your building and working remotely. These applications allow teams of your employees to message, share data, record videos and gather documents, store web links and access databases all within shared folders and groups. The collaboration apps are, of course, mobile-compliant and include workflows and automation to automatically accomplish tasks and remind users of deadlines and deliverables.

Recommended technologies: Microsoft Office 365, Google G-Suite, Box.

Customer Relationship Management.

Sorry, but it’s no longer OK to wait for customers to come to you. Remote employees at today’s growing businesses leverage customer relationship management (CRM) systems to nurture and develop their communities. A CRM system is just a cloud-based database but one that everyone can access wherever they’re located. Deployed the right way, a good CRM system will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and that all information – notes, emails, activities – are shared by your employees and remote workers. Another plus: a great database creates intangible value for a company. If you have remote workers you’ll want to ensure that your company has a CRM database that includes records of all people that have “touched” your company so that you’re continuously “touching” them back, building relationships and developing opportunities.

Recommended technologies: Salesforce.com, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics

Communications.

Gone are the days of communication systems that require expensive in-house servers, clunky headsets and a receptionist taking your calls. Today’s businesses that leverage remote employees also leverage communication systems that are easy to setup and deploy. In addition to IP-based phones, today’s state-of-the-art communication systems have mobile apps so that employees’ smartphones can become their business phones too. The best systems are plug-and-play and administered online. They support inbound and outbound calls, allow their customers to setup their own phones numbers and include virtual receptionist functionality where users can setup their own message boxes, create customized messages and activate a dial-by-name directory.

Recommended technologies: Ooma Office

HR.

Human resources applications are exploding in popularity and are changing the way employees – both in-house and remote – are managed. As they mature, these applications are downloaded to employees’ mobile devices and enable them to check prior payroll information, enter contact data, request vacations, notify when they’re sick, check insurance status and even collaborate with their bosses on performance reviews. When used the right way, a company’s internal HR administrator is freed up to do more planning and strategy and remote workers are able to get the information they need faster.

Recommended technologies: Paychex, Gusto, BambooHR

***

Every company has remote workers. It’s just that some companies don’t invest in the right technologies to best manage them. My recommendation is to invest in all five of the above technologies. Over the long term, the productivity gains you’ll realize will significantly outweigh their cost.

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