Vermont recently passed a law that will provide a hefty incentive to anyone who moves to the state to work remotely for an out-of-state employer. The promise of living in the natural beauty of the Green Mountains, paired with a $10,000 grant, is certainly a compelling offer! But there’s even more to it than first meets the eye…
Remote Working is Here to Stay
First and foremost, Vermont’s Remote Worker Grant Program legitimizes working remotely. They’ve recognized that you don’t necessarily have to be based in a corporate office to work effectively – and they’re investing significant resources into the concept. As long as you’ve got the right tools at your disposal, you could work from anywhere, from Vermont to Versailles.
Attracting a Younger Generation
Another factor that came into play with the Vermont program was the demographics of the state’s existing residents. Their lawmakers knew full well that Vermont is a small state with an aging population, so they tried to think of new ways to entice younger people to live in the state. There’s a lesson here for businesses, too: Offering the ability to work remotely will attract younger “digital natives” who are already accustomed to collaborating online and using mobile devices on a regular basis. (Pairing it with a great incentive doesn’t hurt, either…)
How to Support Your Remote Workers – In Any State!
So, what should you do if one of your employees decides he wants to uproot himself, take the grant, and settle down in Vermont? To put it more generically: what’s the best way to support a remote worker? Here are a few tips for success:
- Establish new ways for employees to share information with each other. There is a whole new world of collaboration tools out there that make it easy to erase the barriers of distance. Internal chat tools with availability status info, one-click videoconferencing, and instant screen sharing are all easily employed today. An added bonus is that these will benefit all of your employees, not just those who are working remotely.
- Be sure to fully train your remote workers on these collaboration tools, so they’ll intuitively know how and when to use each feature. You could consider starting them off with a basic feature set, then migrate them to more advanced capabilities as their comfort level grows.
- Encourage work-life balance. Remember that an employee’s use of mobile devices doesn’t always translate into availability to work. In today’s always-on world, the ability to turn those apps and devices off is also important.
To learn more about these shifts in the modern workplace, check out TPx’s whitepapers on The New Workplace Reality and How the Cloud Stops Tech Tug-of-Wars.
About the Author
Stacey Kendall is a Product Marketing Manager at TPx Communications. Her role is focused on marketing for TPx’s suite of Communications & Collaboration offerings, including the UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service and SmartVoice SIP Trunking. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Although she enjoys vacationing in Vermont, she has no plans to leave her home in the greater Boston area.
Graduation season is nearly upon us – and with it, a new wave of employees is entering the workforce. Generation Z, defined as those born in or after 1996, is now graduating from college and ready to join you in the office – and they’re bringing a whole lot of devices and tech gadgets with them.
It’s estimated that Gen Z’ers will make up 20% of the 2020 American workforce. Learn who they are and how they communicate so your company can successfully hire and retain these innovative digital natives. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, our infographic covers each generation’s digital demands, along with:
- A breakdown of workplace age groups,
- Each group’s online habits,
- Their favorite communication tools, features, and more.
View the Full Infographic (PDF)
The manufacturing sector has come a long way from the iconic Bruce Springsteen world of rust-belt blast furnaces and factories belching smoke into the sky (“Youngstown,” anyone?). Today’s manufacturing is at the forefront of innovation in many ways: leading the way on green production, embracing smart-factory floors and optimizing supply chains with the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning. And true to that spirit of adopting future-thinking technology, unified communications (UC) is being increasingly deployed across the sector.
Collaboration is Crucial
Manufacturing, perhaps more so than many other industries, flourishes with strong collaboration. In-house teams, consultants, business partners and more have to communicate effectively in order to pull it all off profitably. UC offers invaluable tools to do just that – especially in the critical realm of supply-chain management.
Once the orders start to come in, it’s crunch time. Not delivering enough (or delivering too much) of a given product, without timely delivery or appropriate margins, kills companies and ideas, no matter how well-conceived the product or article in question may be. Yet, the processes required to create and assemble goods of all kinds – from smartphones and futons to cars and barbecue grills – have many stakeholders. One type of screw may be made in Taiwan, while another that goes into the same product might be churned out in Chicago. Somehow, all of the disparate parts need to be put together on a just-in-time basis to avoid margin-blowing over-production and waste. And when all of that’s done, the goods need to get into the hands of a network of vendors.
Multiple Channels for Multiple Scenarios
To better navigate both the upstream and downstream aspects of your supply chain, UC offers an omnichannel way to get answers when you need them. Whether you need to find out where a certain order is, double-check logistics with a supplier or verify shipments with a vendor, interactions become streamlined when voice, conferencing, instant messaging and presence can all work together. Some examples:
- When you need an answer right away, presence can alert you to who’s online with the answers you need, and the best way to reach them. This is especially useful for geographically diverse crews.
- Sometimes instant messaging is the best real-time channel for simple answers, but the ability to escalate a chat to a voice call is crucial for more in-depth conversations.
- Still, other times, you need to loop in other team members by expanding communications to a conference call.
- Suppliers, vendors, and customers alike can connect to you through online meetings with “guest join” capabilities. All meeting participants can use audio, video, and desktop sharing tools, with no software downloads required – it’s all done through the browser.
UC Delivers for Manufacturers ‘Just in Time’
UC accomplishes all of these functions – and more – seamlessly. And with cloud-based UC solutions like UCx, instant scalability allows manufacturing firms to expand and contract their communications virtually overnight. As a cloud-based service, UCx puts no limitations on your physical location – whether it’s your manufacturing team overseas or your distribution center in the U.S., all can be available on UCx to move products out the door. And with UCx, you get instant access to next-generation collaboration tools like HD video calls, screen sharing and CRM integrations. These features all add up to give your company a much-needed advantage in an increasingly competitive global market.
See It In Action
We’d love to show you all the ways UCx can help your manufacturing operations. Contact your TPx representative or schedule a demo today for details on how we can help you make your supply chain communicate more effectively, optimize your processes and, perhaps most importantly, solve problems faster.
With so many people working from home these days, the number of “office” locations has grown exponentially in recent years. In fact, 31 percent of remote workers reported being out of the office four to five days a week— up from 24 percent in 2012, according to a recent Gallup survey. And about one in five employees are working from home full-time now, the study suggests.
To be sure, employees are pressing companies to break down historical structures and policies that traditionally have influenced their workdays. And employers are accommodating, primarily for three reasons:
- The practice is seen as beneficial because remote workers not only work longer hours, they are also more productive and happier.
- It’s easier to recruit and retain talented employees when unrestricted by geography.
- Organizations now have access to technologies that enable remote workers to be more collaborative and productive than ever.
To that last point, emerging cloud technologies are transforming the way work gets done. By using technology solutions like UCx and Managed Office 365, workers increasingly are doing their jobs virtually or remotely – and at various times of the day – instead of from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And the primary inhibitor for working at home remotely – loneliness – is no longer an issue because these technologies keep colleagues virtually connected. With these high-tech communications tools in place, mingling and collaboration are as easy – and as fun – as congregating by the water cooler.
In fact, contrary to early concerns about remote workers, employees who spend 60 percent to 80 percent of their time away from the office have the highest rates of engagement, according to Gallup. It makes sense when you think about it: a video chat or conference to share ideas and documents with a colleague is only a keystroke away.
These new tech and tools are not just being used by remote workers at home. Multilocation businesses are employing them along with private networking, Internet, SIP Trunking and SD-WAN services, among others, to support the growing business and technical demands driven by the proliferation of critical applications, cloud services and mobile devices.
Scalability and flexibility are key. To meet the unique needs, goals and budgets of our business customers, TPx offers these services through a single-source, mix-and-match approach that delivers truly customized solutions for every business scenario. Our customers reap the benefits of constant access to the latest-and-greatest technologies without the headache and expense of managing it all themselves. Small businesses without IT departments get access to the same technologies as larger firms, and larger firms can free up their IT resources for more important proprietary pursuits.
Regardless of which vendor(s) you source for your technologies, using them is becoming a matter of remaining competitive on both sides of the balance sheet. We are experiencing a remarkable digital revolution that is both transforming and distributing the workplace, with web, computing, social and mobile technologies converging to deliver an unprecedented effect on virtually every aspect of business. This convergence is creating new ways for multilocation companies – whether we’re talking storefronts or the home office – to deliver better service, enhanced customer experiences, and retain talent.
About the Author
Matt Mair is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for ITx Managed Services. His role includes marketing and communications for TPx’s suite of managed IT offerings including Managed SD-WAN, LAN Monitoring, Office 365, Workstation and Servers Management, Colocation and Server Backup solutions. Matt holds an MBA from Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business and resides in Los Angeles.