In as early as 1993, around the time when Microsoft just launched Windows 3.1, InfoSmart already believed in the world where people no longer need a local operating system to execute applications.
Fast forward to 16 years after, the California-based company has provided small businesses with Cloud software and applications with the aim of increasing the productivity of employees and reducing costs of businesses.
Instead of working in the confines of an office and relying on face-to-face interaction to quantify output, InfoSmart encourages remote work by allowing telecommuters to access pertinent files about their projects through its all-encompassing suite of Cloud-based apps that run on web browsers.
However, the kind of remote work that InfoSmart promotes through its services has been experienced by their Marketing Manager and Director of Customer Success Margaret Lyons in a case study she participated in that was conducted by InfoWedge. Suffice to say, telecommuting was not kind to Margaret at first.
While there are benefits of working at home, as Margaret did when she was hired by InfoSmart, telecommuters lose out on the camaraderie that exists with employees working at an office. Oftentimes, she feels left out when her team based in Los Angeles shares inside jokes and make personal conversations within themselves. More importantly, her communication with the team, which is limited to e-mail and private messages, is often misunderstood due to its impersonal nature.
In order to solve this communication issue and prevent her from “falling into the depths of loneliness,” as she puts it, Margaret implemented the use of an online meeting software to conduct meetings and brainstorm ideas with her team.
Instead of chatting up on a messenger tool for quick, impromptu meetings, Margaret uses Google Hangouts due to the ease of using this software and making their conversation livelier. For more formal and professional meetings, Margaret suggests the use of more robust online meeting software that allow screen sharing, note taking, and recording of meeting to play back for reference.
Through these online meeting tools, Margaret was able to make a more profound and effective connection with her co-workers and feel like she’s really a part of a team even though she’s far away.
Key takeaways from Margaret’s telecommuting experience
Building real relationships with co-workers as a telecommuter is difficult but possible
Telecommuting is far from an ideal job management format due to the large possibility of miscommunication and the impersonal nature that may develop with them over time. As a result, some telecommuters, or exactly half of them in a study conducted by Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom and China’s most popular travel agency Ctrip, were lonely and opted to work back at the office.
However, this does not mean that making real conversations with co-workers is impossible. With the help of premium and reliable online meeting tools like ClickMeeting, for instance, that simulate the things that can be done during a face-to-face meeting, telecommuters can see and get to know more about the people they’re working with by holding quick meetings during the day for updates and brainstorming. You might be surprised to hear this, but sometimes virtual meeting can even add more value to the conversation due to interesting features such as simultaneous chat translation, we’ve definitely come a long way.
Telecommuting reinvents how employees approach their work
In the same study conducted by Mr. Bloom, he measured the productivity of call center employees working at home as opposed to working at the office based on the number of calls they finish at the end of their shift. After the study was done, the telecommuters were able to finish 13.5% more calls than their counterparts.
While the research does not suggest that remote work automatically means more productivity, telecommuters get to reproduce the happenings in an office space using online meeting tools and others, all while having more time to not only focus on work, but also on themselves.
In a post by Business Insider that collates different surveys and studies, telecommuters are destined to lead richer lives due to the money and time saved from transportation and the healthy balance between work and life.
Again, these do not suggest that you should leave your current employer and apply for a telecommuting job. What it does suggest is how employees who prefer working at home can now enjoy the benefits of telecommuting without feeling left out by the world thanks to the innovative tools that have reinvented how remote work is done.
Let’s hear from you: how has your experience as a telecommuter thus far? Are you using online meeting tools with your co-workers to make your communication much more effective? Share your thoughts by commenting below!