Thanks to the advances of modern mobile technology, company workforces are increasingly going mobile which allows them to work either from home, out of coffee shops, or from anywhere else where they can get an internet connection. As employees look for opportunities that provide better work-life balance and flexibility, employers are offering mobility as a way to provide these perks to keep them engaged with the company over the long term.
Offering the benefit of mobility presents a challenge for employers as they need to be able to oversee and manage their workforce while also making sure their mobile staff are being as productive as possible. With the right investment in technology and following some helpful tips you will be on a good path to becoming an effective virtual manager who gets the most out of their virtual teams.
Cloud-Based Computing Cloud computing technology allows companies to set up a virtual office which allows your workforce to connect to your business at any time and from anywhere there is internet connection available. Some of the immediate benefits that cloud computing offers businesses includes:
• Significantly reduced IT costs: Using the resources provided by cloud computing providers reduces costs on having to pay expert IT staff and expensive systems and equipment for your business.
• Business continuity: Having company data backed up on a cloud ensures business as usual and mitigates the risk of downtime due to natural disasters or temporary office interruptions, such as an office move.
• Improved business collaboration: Cloud technology allows employees, contractors and even third parties who may be working from different locations to have access to the same files regardless of location or device.
Client Relationship Management (CRM) Programs
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CRM programs are used to keep track of and manage company interactions with current and prospective customers. The recent advances in mobile technology have enabled the development of mobile CRM systems which provide real-time access to important client information. The ease of access to such information enables sales team to have more informed and more meaningful conversations with clients and prospects as the sales person will not have to wasting time looking for client information or trying to recall the most recent conversation they had. Ultimately, this increases the potential for higher sales and an improved planning process.
Upgraded Telecommunications Systems Under the traditional business model, reception desks would field incoming phone calls via individual phone lines or a Private Bank Exchange. The receptionist would then transfer the call to the appropriate party or department. With Voice over Internet Protocol technology, or VOIP, users are able to make phone calls using the internet instead of the older analog system of the traditional phone system. Not only is the cost of using a VOIP system cheaper than a conventional phone system, they can also be used on a location-independent basis. In addition, they feature video conferencing capabilities and can have your voicemails sent as text to your e-mail inbox.
Upgraded Mobile Devices
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Laptop, smartphone and tablet technologies have become so powerful and so successful that they have quickly become staples for businesses and employees looking for mobility. Smartphones, for example, go beyond just making phone calls by effectively harnessing the power of a desktop computer right onto the palm of your hands. With hundreds of available mobile applications being developed that allow anything from e-mailing to video conferencing, there is very little a smartphone can’t do versus a desktop PC, and the difference keeps getting smaller as new technologies emerge. Other types of mobile technology include Bluetooth printers which allow users to print docents from remote locations and mobile credit card processing devices.
Being an Effective Virtual Manager To mitigate the risks associated with managing what is effectively a virtual workforce, a certain re-wiring of your management approach may be required. Due to having less actual face-time with your mobile staff, you effectively have to relinquish some amount of control. However, by focusing on creating a culture of collaboration, creativity and engagement, your staff will be much better positioned and incentivized to increase their productive output. By setting clear goals and benchmarks while giving your staff the flexibility and trust, your mobile team will be able to maximize the use of the above mentioned tools and create a satisfied and productive team.