Inclement Weather: Balancing Liberal Leave, Telecommuting, and Productivity

One of the hardest personal decisions a business leader makes is whether to allow telecommuting or liberal leave when snow and ice make commuting dangerous. The need to keep employees safe and in some cases able to care for children home from school is weighed against the needs of the business operations and clients. Working from home can mean employees are not readily able to communicate and collaborate with the rest of the team as they can when they are in the office. As a result, productivity and service delivery can suffer.

This dilemma does not exist for companies with Skype for Business.

Skype’s Unified Communication tools and tight integration with Microsoft Office allows team members to communicate and collaborate just as easily from home as they do from the office. Presence allows team members to see the availability of their coworkers while not being in the same physical location.

You can see where they are listed as Available, Away, Off Work, In a Call, In a Conference Call, In a Meeting, Do Not Disturb, etc. This gives you the same level of transparency as if you were in the same office with the ability to walk over to their office and see if they are in or on the phone.

You can still make and receive work calls from your work number from home.

With a typical office PBX phone system, when you are working from home you might have the option to forward your work number to your cell or home phone but placing outbound work calls will show your home or cell number which might be an issue in dealing with clients and customers and giving out numbers you want to remain private.  With Skype for Business you can make and receive work calls from your same office number from any location.  The phone system is hosted in the cloud and tied to your Skype for Business application which can ring to your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.  Outside parties would have no idea that you are calling them from anywhere other than your office.

You can still collaborate and work with your team in the same way with live collaboration.

From Skype for Business you can live share your computer screen with team members and share control over the desktop for live collaboration on documents.  From an IM, Phone Call, Video Call, or Conference Call you can share your desktop to the other participants and even give control over your screen to others.  With your organization working from home during a snow store, they can still complete work together as teams by sharing screens and live collaborating on whatever they are working on.  This avoids emailing multiple iterations of the same document back and forth with edits and changes.

Productivity doesn’t change with your organization working from home.

With the ability to see presence of other team members, and the quick access to be able to IM, Call, Video Chat, and Screen Share and Collaborate with a single click, you will have full access to communicate and collaborate with your entire organization working from home in the even of inclement weather. Most importantly your clients, customers, and other outside parties will not be able to tell that you aren’t at the office since all calls both inbound and outbound will behave exactly the same as being in the office.

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Author: Andrew Saah
<p>Andrew is a Skype for Business, Office 365, and Windows Technology Evangelist for TecFac.</p>

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