5 Tips for Connecting Virtual Teams

Posted on: 2017-04-28 | Categories:SIP

The modern office is very different from what it used to look like even a decade ago. Before the emergence of mobile and cloud computing, we all had to get up in the morning and drive to the same office everyday for most of the year. Our colleagues or project team members sat next to us and we saw them everyday. EVeryone came to work at 9 or so and left at 5. It didn’t matter much which industry the organization was in or the specific company we worked for. Most offices looked and worked the same.

Fast forward to today and the workplace has changed dramatically. Remote working technologies have altered our perception of what an office should look like. Remote working, telecommuting and virtual teams are the order of the day. Your colleague may be sitting in their home or in a cafe on the other side of the world. Teams are scattered across multiple offices in different countries. Nowadays no two offices look alike, even if they belong to the same business!

So how do you work effectively when team members are not sitting around the same table anymore? After all communication is a vital part of any business process, task or project. What happens when that face to face, real time communication is no longer possible? Here’s how you can make sure your virtual teams still function effectively, even if they’re not in the same office.

Make Phone Calls Free

One of the biggest barriers to easy communication is cost. With traditional phone lines, you had to worry about monthly bills and budgets.The carrier charged you for each and every phone call. It didn’t matter if the callers were sitting on the same floor or in different states.

VoIP – whether hosted or on premise SIP deployment – makes those calls free. It’s not just calls within the same building though. Any internal call i.e made by one employee to another is free. This works really well for virtual teams which may be spread out across the globe. It means no one will hesitate to pick up the phone since they don’t have to justify the cost to a manager.

Use Group Video/Audio Calls

Video conferencing software is not new. Some businesses have been using them for years now. But it doesn’t mean they were easy to use or any good at helping teams. Today most VoIP solutions offer group calls with audio and/or video. You don’t need special apps for this. A group audio or video call is just as easy as a regular one-to-one call. The number of callers for any meeting depends only on your hardware and available bandwidth. Encourage your teams to have virtual meetings as often as necessary. No one has to feel cut off from their teammates even if they don’t share office space.

Setup the Presence Feature

Presence information is one of the under-utilized features of VoIP. Virtual teams often have trouble with communicating since you don’t know if the other person is busy or not. You never know if your call is interrupting something important since you can’t see them. The presence feature allows virtual teams to signal others that they’re available for a call or meeting. You can even direct calls to a colleague or voicemail during specific hours or if your status is busy to make sure you’re not disturbed.

Let Employees Make Calls from Anywhere

Virtual teams have to deal with conflicting time zones and different work hours. Meetings get postponed or canceled if a few members can’t join in at the specified time. VoIP allows you to incorporate mobile devices and computers into your voice network. Employees can join calls from their tablets or laptops no matter wherever they are. If some participants don’t have a screen for video chat, they can just use the audio only. You can even record calls so teams can play them back later. No more forgetting important information that was said at a meeting 2 weeks ago.

Integrate Calling with Other Systems

Hosted VoIP is a digital platform which means it can easily integrate with other enterprise software like RCM or ERP systems. Add browser based calling to your network, so workers don’t need to download special software or apps for calls. You can bring together digital faxing, visual voicemail and video conferencing in one place. The main aim is to make it as easy as possible for employees to reach team members and share data.

Watch productivity improve as your employees collaborate and communicate as if they were sitting right next to one another. Sometimes there’s no substitute for a quick phone call to clear up a problem. So with these 5 tips, help virtual teams stay on track and be more effective!