A couple of years ago, setting up a second or third location meant investing in expensive communications infrastructure. Thankfully, recent advances to technology has made it possible for businesses, big and small, to expand operations to more than just one location without having to pay a fortune.
Today, information and data is easily exchanged through Wide Area Networks (WAN), Virtual Private Networks (VPN), and most recently—the Cloud. All anyone needs is a high-speed business broadband connection to take advantage of the new technology that makes remote working possible. But aside from this, business communications solutions also play a huge role in connecting multiple sites.
Reduce barriers through a reliable communications system
Spontaneous communications within the workplace should be encouraged by making sure that your system is convenient and easy to use. Removing any cause of delays increases collaboration and creates a sense of cohesion in between disparate geographical sites. Take advantage of instant messaging, video conferencing, intranet, and most importantly a business phone system.
A hosted phone system delivers the same features a dedicated system provides without the need for costly legacy infrastructure. Remember that frequent technology failures is a common cause of frustration. Since everything is hosted in the provider’s servers, it eliminates time wasted troubleshooting issues between sites and allow entrepreneurs to focus on their actual business.
Standardise and establish a unified system for all sites
Dealing with nuances between sites is more stressful than having one system for all locations. It also costs more time and manpower to do so. A unified system allows the growth of offices with less supervision and training. Establish specific boundaries, responsibilities, and authority to minimise confusion and demotivation.
Call splaying and queue features lets you divide work fairly. Plug and play IP phones, mobile phone integration, and softphones make it possible for every member of your staff to make and take calls anywhere, anytime while using a uniform business number.
Do take note that standardisation doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning customisation. Aim to create an extension of the office culture you have from the main site and incorporate any cultural difference from offices in other countries. Be sure to gain a basic understanding of the country’s customs, politics, business practices, and laws.
Develop a ‘We’ mentality
Isolation of remote staff can cause an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. Develop a communication plan that inspires your staff to reach out with each other and provide updates on what they’re working on. Unlike working in a single location where you can run into another employee during breaks, interactions between workers in different states or countries have to be deliberate in order to make a connection.
Schedule weekly calls, meetings, and video conferences to make up for the lack of face to face interactions. Keep productivity up by responding quickly to messages and commitments so that the workflow doesn’t slow down. This also shows that you value their time and treat all of your staff equally across sites.
Remote work is just one of the effects of continuing developments in technology. By embracing new, innovative, and cost-effective tools, any enterprise can keep up with any changes to the business landscape in the future.