So far in this series we’ve discussed how various tweaks to your company’s communications procedures can make things so much better for morale, productivity, operations and budget.
As you may have noticed, there is an underlying theme to this modern communications series: flexibility creates efficiency.
You can look at this concept from a few different perspectives: employee location flexibility directly results in an increase in productivity; company flexibility with how incoming calls and tasks are received, routed and recorded significantly increases efficiency across the board; and – this is a big one – being open to a virtual office or remote work environment proves to be a significant cost-saver and productivity enhancer.
Each of these perspectives represents a major economic trend that is growing every day…and in some industries where you might not expect to see it.
Take S.T. Wells Construction, for example. A construction company may not seem like the type of business that would be embracing tech trends like virtual, cloud-based office infrastructure, but take a closer look and you’ll see why it’s a perfect fit.
For S.T. Wells (and most successful construction companies), each job site is essentially a “remote office” at work.
Once a job site is set up, it is typically optimized to function independently for months to ensure that the project is completed in the most efficient and productive means possible. This means the on-site trailer sends and receives shipments, has internet capability, and often has desk phones set up (with Voice over IP) to receive calls from the home office and clients.
Due to the ease of their remote office setup and impressive cloud-based communications integrations, S.T. Wells and other companies like them are able to operate completely independent of the home office for months – and sometimes years – at a time.
Mobile extensions and manual call transfers
Rather than saying a superintendent is out on a job site every time a call comes in for them – and then giving out his cell number to someone who has to either write it down or memorize it and then dial again – receptionists can easily just transfer incoming calls to an extension that sends the call straight to the job site. This saves time, effort and frustration for everyone involved. The call could be transferred to a mobile extension (like the supervisor’s cell phone) or to a desk phone installed in the job site trailer, but regardless of the receiver the caller has no trouble getting through with just one call.
Automated call paths
Callers are given an automated recording when they call S.T. Wells and the receptionist is unavailable. They can hit “3” to reach the intended project, and the system auto-transfers the call to the same extension as above. And while everything tends to flow to superintendent on a job site, if he’s unavailable a “ring group” can also be set up that includes other project assistants who might help the caller, making voicemail less likely when an important client calls in.
Cloud-based project management
As more engineers and software companies begin to understand the the remote nature of these job sites, more and more technology is entering (and changing) the construction industry. Because of project management platforms geared specifically for the industry (like Procore, for example), formerly stubborn project managers and construction business owners are embracing the cloud and love what they see. Many are looking at hosted PBX for their voice communications, and the need for the home offices’ existing infrastructure (physical servers and phone closets) is hanging by a thread. Which is a good thing for business continuity, flexibility and productivity, among other things.
Like S.T. Wells, there are several industries that may have “remote offices” or “remote workers” already set up and they don’t even realize it. When they shift their mindset to remote operations as a more efficient way to do business, they understand that it all comes down to being better connected.