May 11, 2016
One of the major challenges companies face when they hire virtual workers for their business is communication. Aside from the language barriers that may arise every now and then between different cultures trying to work together, being able to keep communication lines open at all times can be somewhat trying. This is why you should have more than one avenue of communication open for your virtual workforce.
You will find that when you work with people from around the world, the language and cultural differences can be the least of your worries. Being able to communicate with your people anytime will become an all-important factor that can dictate how the work will progress. Any disruptions in this may cause problems that can also cost you money as well as precious time.
For you to ensure that members of your team can get in touch with one another and with you as well, at any given time, you have to set up a communications protocol that uses not just one avenue. You need to prepare back-up options for your communication needs in order to avoid problems when certain mediums fail. For example, if you and your team use Skype for calls and voice chats, you should look for an alternative should there be a service outage. Options you can choose from include Google voice, and even FB messenger voice as well as Viber.
Written communications are always done with the help of emails. Chat is sometimes used as well, when your email system has a chat-function integrated into it. Sometimes, companies choose to use Google’s emailing system to communicate with those they work with overseas, and since this system already has its own chat capabilities via Hangout (which you can also access via your smartphone), you can easily get in touch with anybody this way even when you are away from your computer.
For file sharing, there are quite a few options for you to choose from. One of the most often used avenues for this is the Google Drive. This allows you to not only share files, but to also create collaborative sheets and trackers that everyone can use to check and coordinate timelines, deadlines, tasks, and whatnot. You can also use your email to send files directly to those who require these, but when you need to send bulk files, or huge amounts of data in one sitting, apart from compressing these before sending, you can also choose to use Dropbox.
Of course, mobile phones can also be used to keep communication lines open. For emergencies, using your mobile network to call your virtual workforce is your saving grace. This can cost you a lot though, so make sure that this is used only as a last resort. If everyone has a data plan on their phone, and has Viber installed on these (or any other free-call app for that matter), then you can cut costs by calling your staff with the use of these data-based calling apps.
In the end, keeping communication lines open is only a matter of you knowing what other alternatives your team has for keeping in touch with one another. Establish a protocol where more than one medium is used to get messages across, so that what needs to be said, seen, and heard is indeed said, seen, and heard. This will ensure that no missive gets lost in transmission, and work moves forward without a hitch.