Do Your Remote Workers Have Effective Communication Tools?

Stats on employees working from homedowload a printable PDF of this article: Eliminate MPLSIn a recent survey conducted by research firm Inavero, hiring managers predict that 38 percent of their full-time, permanent employees will primarily work remotely in the next 10 years. The survey, conducted on behalf of freelancing website Upwork, found that 63 percent of companies today have remote workers, and more expect to embrace flexible workstyles. This can provide key benefits—as long as remote workers have effective communication tools.

More than half (52 percent) of hiring managers surveyed said that talent shortages are the key driver for adopting more flexible workforce policies. By enabling employees to work from home or a small satellite office, organizations gain access to a larger talent pool. Remote workers tend to be more productive than their office-bound peers, and are able to serve local customers better. They also tend to be happier and more satisfied in their jobs, reducing turnover and further relieving talent shortages.

But it’s not enough to simply allow employees to work from home—organizations must provide remote workers with the right technology resources. Effective communication and collaboration tools are especially important, particularly for workers who interface directly with customers. It’s not realistic to expect remote workers to use their cell phones, personal land lines or consumer-grade collaboration solutions.

Voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications (UC) platforms make it possible to extend the headquarters phone system to small office / home office (SOHO) workers. However, the vast majority of these workers are going to have basic broadband Internet connections. The Internet is a “best effort” transport medium, meaning that data packets are delivered when they’re delivered. When you connect to VoIP and UC systems via the Internet, you often get garbled calls, echoes and other Quality of Service (QoS) issues.

case study of insurance nonprofit having trouble with VoIPInsurance Group Ensures Call Quality and Reliability for Remote Employees

That was the problem plaguing the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group, a group of nonprofit insurance organizations that provide reasonably priced property and casualty insurance exclusively to other nonprofits. The Santa Cruz, California-based group has approximately 100 employees serving more than 17,000 nonprofit organizations in 32 states and Washington, D.C.

Half of those employees work from remote locations across the U.S., and they were struggling with unreliable, poor-quality VoIP services that made it difficult to deliver high-quality service to their customers. The problem wasn’t the group’s ShoreTel phone system—it was connectivity between headquarters and the remote sites.

The group decide to test InSpeed Quality Service (IQS) in the remote offices of several employees. The difference was night and day. IQS is a unique software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution that was purpose-built for business communications. A small onsite appliance automatically connects to the InSpeed cloud and begins monitoring and streamlining Internet traffic. InSpeed’s patented technology prioritizes voice and videoconferencing traffic to ensure high-quality communication over any Internet connection. And the solution is so cost-efficient and easy-to-manage that it can be used for SOHO workers.

The group’s management team was so pleased that they immediately placed an order for 31 IQS sites, and have continued to add sites since then. You can read the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group case study here.

As organizations struggle to fill the growing skills gap, they’re implementing flexible workforce policies to get work done and create happier, more productive employees. However, remote workers can only provide high-quality customer service if they have effective communication tools. InSpeed overcomes the drawbacks of broadband Internet connections to ensure high-quality voice and video conferencing over any connection, every time. Learn more.