You open the front door only to discover you can't see your car under all of that white stuff. Then, you turn on the news and see pictures of cars in ditches. As beautiful as it can be, winter can be unforgiving, and nothing ruins a commute like icy pavement, traffic delays, and impassable roads.
As a small-business owner, you must balance keeping your business running with making sure your employees are safe at all times. The best plan is to consider your policies for working remotely ahead of time so everyone is aligned long before snowflakes fall. You'll also need to figure out how to use technology to keep communication flowing between your employees and customers.
With the help of cloud technology, these four tips will help your employees work remotely during inclement weather:
1. Communicate with Employees Regarding Office Closures
You wake up at 4 a.m. and realize the weather predictions were way, way off — there's two feet of snow on the road, and your only option is to shut down the office. You want your employees to know about the closure before they check their email so they can maybe get a bit more shut-eye — you're a nice boss, after all. With a cloud-based communication system, you can send a group-wide text message so all employees see the announcement on the device they check first.
2.Use Online Tools to Route Calls to Employees
There's no reason your customers should know your employees are working remotely, and they won't be happy if they have to deal with an unanswered phone incessantly ringing in an empty office. Cloud-based phone service with a virtual receptionist will allow you to remotely add a message about the weather conditions.
For routing employee calls while the office is closed, any "administrator" on the business phone account can go to the Admin Portal and route calls to employees' designated backup number, whether it's a smartphone or home phone number. Individual employee users can do the same via their User Portal to ensure calls are routed to their preference.
3.Encourage Using Mobile Apps on Smartphones
Fortunately for cloud business phone users, mobile apps allow employees to use the business phone system remotely on their smartphone, just as they would back at the office. Also, when using the mobile app, caller ID shows calls originating from the business, not the employee's personal account. So, employees can maintain a business presence from their home office, or even when they're outside walking through the snow.
4. Take Advantage of Conference Call Capabilities
It's 3 p.m. and your team has been working hard on a project in their snowed-in homes. Once you check over their progress, though, it quickly becomes apparent that the group needs a quick check-in to get to the next step. With business phone service that connects via high-speed internet, each remote employee has access to office calling features and can set up a conference call from wherever they're working. Your big project can move forward regardless of whether the snow ever melts.
Take an hour today when the sun is shining and the grass is still showing to make a plan for those days when it isn't. Your customers will thank you, and you might even get to go back to sleep for a few extra hours during the next snowstorm because you've taken the time to plan ahead for working remotely.
Visit Vonage Business to learn more about working remotely during inclement weather.