Taking a summer vacation after months of nonstop work probably sounds nice this time of year, but it isn’t the same as it used to be. Even when you take a few days off, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself spending some time working or checking emails as you head to lunch or to the beach. Today, with smartphones and web-enabled mobile devices, our work follows us wherever we go — even when we’re out of the office.
This fact has given rise to the concept of a virtual office, which means that employees need to equip themselves with the right technologies to handle the business on-the-go environment of today.
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to access an important message because you’re out of the office. When you’re gone, the key is to make sure you’re prepared. Do you have the right software and applications in place in the event that you need to host a conference call? How about the right technology to access your work email remotely? As you put the pieces in place to create your own virtual office, keep the following four collaboration tools in mind to stay connected.
1. Unified Communications
No matter where you bring your work, you’ll need to reach out to your colleagues and clients at one point or another. That’s why you need the right applications that include email and instant messaging tools that allow you to stay connected from any location. With unified communications tools, accessing your work email has never been easier since you can synchronize any of your devices, whether it is your laptop, smartphone or tablet, to your business email, ensuring that you receive pertinent messages while out of the office.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is another solution that allows you to connect to your office outside the building with any device. VoIP technology allows you to exude a physical presence in your office even if you are anywhere else because with call forwarding features, clients can reach you on the same number they would call to reach you at your desk. For those employees who are always on the go, call forwarding helps you stay ahead while you’re out of the office.
3. Video conferencing
Video conferencing is another tool that helps you keep up with your colleagues and clients in a face-to face capacity when you can’t actually be with them in person. By choosing the right video conferencing tool, you can connect with as many people at a time as you need. Online collaboration and recording capabilities can also help you get more accomplished in your day when you’re out of the office.
4. Internet Fax
Because faxing is still a critical part of the office environment, your virtual office needs to be equipped with faxing capabilities even if you don’t have the physical fax machine in your home or beach rental (which you probably don’t). Fortunately, with the emergence of Internet fax technologies, you can send out documents anywhere there’s an Internet connection and open any incoming documents right from your work email. You can also send and receive multiple documents at once.
With the help of these technologies — and many others like web conferencing — you’ll always be ready to tackle your work, no matter where you are at the time. And with the right applications in tow, your virtual office will feel just like your actual office.
By: Dana Jaffe