Distributed workforce: Understanding a new way of working

Posted by - Tom Allen on the 12th August 2020

For many businesses a distributed workforce has been in place for a while.

However, for the majority of companies, the concept of a distributed workforce model has been rapidly accelerated by COVID-19 and the urgent need for remote working.

With office spaces shut around the globe and workers having to juggle both home and work life in a single space, the desire for flexibility in order to promote productivity has increased ten-fold.

With companies now having to adapt to remote working and doing new business deals via video conference instead of face-to-face, we wanted to give you a breakdown of what a distributed workforce is, how this is affecting communications, and what your business can do about it.

If by the end of this article you think that your business can benefit from implementing a premium communication tool such as a telephone answering service, please contact an experienced member of the Cymphony team today.

What is a distributed workforce?

Quite simply, a distributed workforce is one that is not concentrated in a single physical space. Often this happens quite naturally, with home working in recent years becoming a big selling point for prospective employees.

However, in the last few months, thousands of businesses that may not have thought a distributed workforce was feasible, have been forced into trialing the model in order to stay afloat.

This has found to be hugely successful for many businesses that plan to continue to develop ways in which they can distribute their workforce beyond pandemic restrictions.

A distributed workforce offers staff the flexibility to work where they want and even in compressed or extended hours.

With the COVID-19 pandemic proving that many businesses can function productively without the need to turn up to an office day-in, day-out, it’s a popular model of working that will likely continue beyond this current crisis.

The future of communication

In order for a distributed workforce to run effectively, businesses need to ensure that their IT infrastructure is cloud based, with employees having access to whatever they need regardless of their physical location.

This can be a huge project for companies still relying on hardware.

Similarly, removing face-to-face interaction and physical meeting space means businesses must prioritise methods of communication in order to maintain productivity and customer service levels.

The use of ‘soft’ phones provides huge advantages in terms of availability, accessibility to information, and personalisation of calls.

Use of platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype have skyrocketed as much as 900% since the start of the pandemic showing that not only can businesses adapt to a different way of working; but the need for in-person communication isn’t fading with the advancement of the digital age, it’s evolving.

Just as the internal processes are moving to cloud-based and instant messaging solutions, so are customer relationships and buying journeys.

A communication tool such as live chat is a way in which your business can communicate in real time with a website user and help them with a query and direct them to the right place or person to answer it.

Businesses for this reason are adopting live chat as due to the pandemic businesses have closed their brick and mortar doors and are now operating digitally with a distributed workforce.

If you’re interested to see how live chat can help your business, whether your business is operating on a distributed workforce or not, you can read ‘5 ways live chat is improving is improving businesses customer service‘ to give you some tips on why it can be a great communication tool to implement.

Missed calls

However, ensuring a consistent response to a customer mainline outwith the traditional office-based model is hard to achieve.

In a standard office, if someone’s handset rings – the whole office can hear it. Managers can monitor phone calls and ensure that inbound calls, regardless of their subject matter are consistently answered professionally.

With remote working, this is not always the case.

Calls can be ignored in favour of more pressing tasks without anyone else knowing. Similarly, without an intelligent call routing system in place – if someone is away from their laptop and the phone rings, a potential lead can be lost as no one else is around to hear the telephone.

With instant, verbal communication more important than ever it is vital for every single call to be answered in a timely, appropriate, and consistent manner.

Premium communication providers like Cymphony offer a tailored telephone answering service which is an efficient way to ensure every call is answered no matter where in the world your workforce is.

By having a trusted and valued premium communications provider on board, you can expect your business to build relationships with your customers while making everyone feel valued and not losing your business branding.

Whilst a distributed workforce reduces opportunities to micromanage every aspect of your business communication, it shouldn’t cause customer relationships to suffer as a result.

A telephone answering service is therefore a great way to stay in control, focus on what’s important, and maintain exceptional levels of customer service. 

A distributed workforce that combines both remote and in-office working will likely be the future of SMEs indicating that it’s important you get your business ready to adopt the new practices and processes coming into place to ensure you can keep adding happy customers to your client roster.

You can read the article ‘How a telephone answering service can get you leads 24/7‘ to find out in more detail how a telephone answering service can help your business while not losing the branding or communications of the business.

Does your distributed workforce need a premium communication tool to help?

You should now have a better understanding of what a distributed workforce is, how your business can excel during the pandemic, and what tools are available to you to keep growing your business in the long term while not affecting your customer service.

Are you now wondering how a premium communication tool such as a telephone answering service, managed live chat, or virtual personal assistant can help your specific business?

We’re here to help you and we encourage you to contact an experienced Cymphony team member today to discuss your business needs and create a tailored plan for your business.