When and Why to Move to the Virtual Office?

January 26th, 2018 by ali No comments »

De-location (that is moving from a physical to a virtual workplace) is the new mantra for many digital and non-digital companies, like Zapier and Mozilla. But when and why is de-locating the right choice?

According to the Blog Flexjobs, telecommuting grew of nearly 80% between 2005 and 2012. The magazine Forbes wrote in 2014 that the percentage of remote workers ranged between 30%-45% in most US companies.  In the Zinc survey of 2017 upon customers, we read that mobile workers are expected to grow up to nearly three-quarters of the US workforce in 2020.

Remote work is then definitely all the rage today, despite the contrasting opinions of some managers like Yahoo CEO Melissa Mayer who decided to physically gather Yahoo employees again a couple of year ago.  This is not surprising at all, if we consider the advantages of the digital workplace both for employers and employees. These range from time and money savings (employees do not need to travel or commute anymore, firms can save on costs like offices, buildings, office equipment) to the opportunity for companies to hire the most talented candidates without geographical barriers.

However, moving to the virtual office is not always a good choice for an organization.  Some tasks, like signing a document or team projecting are almost impossible in a digital environment, and most old-economy industries (for example, automotive) still requires a physical location where to manufacture their products. Therefore, it is important to understand when and why to take the jump.

First, consider the kind of activity you wish to de-locate. De-location works great for services, IT, and in general immaterial activities. Marketing, accounting, human resources, some general management tasks, staff training are among the common business functions that can be easily given to remote workers or managed remotely.

Second, are you and your staff really ready for the virtual office? Remote work is not exactly Valentines and roses. The main problems are connected with the need of keeping consistent communication and building trust among the members of your remote team.

In other words, working remotely is more challenging than working in the traditional physical office.  Exchanging text messages through messaging apps are not enough; it is also important to periodically speak to each other through face-to-face video calls. As a rule of thumb, building a company culture and motivating people in a virtual workplace is harder than in a physical office.

Third, do you have the right technology? A digital workplace necessarily relies upon a sophisticated technology that supports all the multiple daily tasks of remote workers, from teleconferences to document sharing and virtual meeting recording.

Today there are many solutions that offer a total support to the virtual office, from Facebook to R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), an inexpensive suite of servers that can be used by remote workers to perform almost any task, from real time collaboration to remote IT support. Therefore, it is important to choose the right one.

In conclusion, if an organization wishes to move to the virtual office, it is basilar to make a plan that includes the detection of the business functions that is opportune to de-locate, the training and preparation of the staff, the careful choice of the right technological solution for the needs of the organization, and, last but not least, an accurate budget provision of the costs, profits, pros and cons of the whole operation.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

How to Work Effectively and Successfully with your Remote IT Support

January 23rd, 2018 by ali No comments »

Turning to remote IT support services has become a necessity for almost every organization that employs remote workforce. How to manage the relationship with your IT provider, in order to make it a success? Here come three basilar tips that can help you to make the relationship with your provider fruitful and helpful

More than a matter of choice, outsourcing IT services has become a sheer need for many organizations today. In facts, this solution is oftener and oftener the only way to get access to experienced and well-trained IT resources, because the increasing complexity of the fast-growing IT technology makes the costs of training internal IT teams unsustainable, especially for small organizations.

Statistics confirm this assumption. According to BDO’s 2015 Technology Survey, more than twice as many US companies have outsourced their IT services in the last few years. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, 72% of global companies outsource their IT services, with an increase of 31% in the use of outsourcing and a rate of satisfaction of 78%.

Therefore, developing the skills to successfully manage your remote IT support has become crucial for your organization. Luckily, this is not a difficult task.

1) First, think about your requirements.

Knowing your needs, especially your IT support needs, is naturally the first step. There is nothing like a kind of universal IT support service available out there; every provider offers a specialized IT support service (or a range of specialized IT services) that is targeted on a set of specific needs or technologies. So, it is important that your needs match the competences, capabilities and technological equipment of your provider. Window support is different, for example, from Apple support or Android.

It is also important to understand when, why and how your staff asks for support. Remember that the members of your team are the final users of the service in the end; Therefore, everything works if your collaborators feel at ease with the service and find it useful.

2) Train your staff to properly use your remote IT support service.

An IT support office cannot be deemed as responsible for everything. It is then important to set boundaries and manage the expectations of your collaborators. A good idea is to explain your team what kind of support they can expect and when, and to agree with them on what it is to be handled in-house. You will avoid misunderstandings, squabbles and quarrels that way.

3) Remember that staff training is still important.

Outsourcing IT support does not mean the end of the necessity to train your employees. Human errors are the main causes of IT issues, especially in the domain of data security, and your remote IT support can do nothing to prevent them. Therefore, teams must be always trained to a safe and correct utilization of the technology they get, despite of the engagement of a remote IT support service.

In conclusion, good communication with your remote IT support provider is king, like in any relationship. Be clear about your needs and expectations and speak up. Listen to what your provider can actually do for you and involve your team in the process, as your employees are the ultimate users of your remote IT support service.

Are you interested in remote IT support and the possibilities and advantages that it brings to an organization? You are going to find more resourceful posts and articles on R-HUB`s Blog at http://www.rhubcom.com

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

How to Choose the Right Web Conferencing Provider for your needs in Seven Easy Steps

January 20th, 2018 by ali No comments »

When equipping a digital workplace, the ability to detect the right web conferencing provider for your organization is crucial, as the members of your team will necessarily have to use video conferences to work together. In order to make the choice easier for you, we have created this simple scheme articulated in seven steps

Sooner or later, any organization grows and faces the problems connected with remote working. One big problem is to choose the right web conferencing provider: today, it is difficult to think of a virtual workplace without this fundamental tool because video conferencing mergers the advantages of audio calls and video conferences in one at affordable costs. This is the reason why this service is so much in demand. But how to choose the right provider?

1 – Set your budget. There are web conferencing services available for all budgets. Small organizations should consider the free versions that many provider offer, or, alternatively, cutting-edge solutions like R-hub’s TurboMeeting servers (http://www.rhubcom.com) that combine high quality and efficiency with inexpensive prices. Scaling up to more powerful (and expensive) versions is then generally possible with almost every provider.

2 – How is your team going to use web conferencing? From webinars to demonstrations, there are multiple possible uses of web conferencing.  It is important to understand the functionalities that your team need with a glance on the future, in order to be able to choose a product that really satisfies your organization needs without having to scale up almost immediately after its installation.

3- What kind of contents are you are going to share? Audio and video are not enough. A team usually needs to perform some basic operations like the sharing of documents in several formats, from PDF to Words, and other media, typically YouTube videos. Does the provider you are choosing assure these services?

4- Find the solution that accommodates the larger number of people. Especially for organizations that offer webinars, it is important to be able to host the largest possible number of guests during their virtual events.

5-Is session recording included? Web conferencing sessions can be recorded for several purposes, for example to make webinars available on demand on your organization website, or to allow your team members to review the record of a conference later and take notices. Unfortunately, session recording is not provided for free by every provider. Therefore, you had better check for that.

6- Solutions that are independent from a specific operation system are better. Remote workers use a wide set of instruments to connect that ranges from Apple to Huawei and Windows. Multi-platform solutions are thus crucial in this kind of scenario.

7- Consider the necessary encryption requirements. Data encryption is essential to protect your data, as sensitive information and documents are often exchanged through a web conference. Choose a solution that assures a strong protection, for example the 256-bit encryption.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

Telehealth: When Video Conferencing helps Medicine

January 9th, 2018 by ali No comments »

Telehealth, alias video conferencing applied to medicine, enables doctors to reach the patients that are dispersed on a wide territory at acceptable costs. In this way, it becomes possible to provide efficient health care services to rural communitie, despite ofthe funding cuts on hospitals

Imagine a scenario when a hospital with shrinking financial resources has to take care of a population widely dispersed on the territory and with a high percentage of children with heart diseases.  In the past, this meant to spend a lot of time and money on promptly dispatching ambulances, doctors and health personnel kilometers away to rescue someone that was about to die in a remote farm or hut; today, telehealth makes everything simpler and – last but not least – less expensive. In fact, in a world where babies learn first to use a tablet, than to walk, the application of video conferencing to healthcare can really make miracles.

In the given example, the necessary ongoing monitoring of the young patients with heart diseases has been made through Telehealth, anything else then a system of video conferencing. A video conference can be also helpful to alert the doctor when a patient shows worrying symptoms. In this way, the doctors working for the local hospital can take a close eye even on distant patients, without any need to physically bring them to a medical facility, and – the main important point – with substantial money saving.

Health diseases are not the only ones that can be managed through telehealth. Telemedicine schemes can be applied to a wide set of illnesses, as the power of modern video conferencing technology enables doctors to recognize symptoms even through a video conference.

More, this technology has been proved to be really effective on promoting cooperation among doctors and hospitals. Video conferencing solutions like, for example, R-Hub`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), enable health-personnel to exchange important information like scans, exams, and  medical records in a video conference without any impairment of the privacy of the patients or any risk of data leaking. This aspect is particularly relevant, as in many countries the Law wants patient information to be kept confidential and health personnel are responsible for that.

Does telemedicine really work? According to many doctors’ opinions, yes, it does. It has certainly helped to save lives because video-conferencing allowed rapid action that couldn’t have been possible without. This is another reason to adopt this technology, apart from the usual financial considerations.

However, budget is important. According to a research published by the blog “Fierce Healthcare”, through telemedicine patients are able to save about 50$ in travel costs per visit and hospitals 25$. Then, it should be added the savings in terms of fewer days of hospitalization. In a world of decreasing financial resources for healthcare, video conferencing could thus become a strategic asset for any health facilities: Consider that only in the US cuts in health care are over 1.8 trillion dollars in 2018 (source:https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/26/16526458/2018-senate-budget-explained) , and Europe is going to follow soon.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

The 3 most Important Parameters to consider when configuring a Video Conferencing service for Virtual Workplaces

January 8th, 2018 by ali No comments »

Bandwidth, audio quality and room assessment are the three fundamental variables on which the effectiveness of any video conference service for virtual workplaces depends

As almost everybody knows, video conferences have become one the most important components of any virtual workplace, as they contribute to enhance workforce productivity, decision making, team building and customer support. However, like any technology, video conferencing meets the expectations of business organizations only when it has been properly configured.

What are the crucial parameters of which to take care, in order to have an effective video conferencing service for your business? The answer is quite simple: they are audio and video quality, bandwidth size and room assessment. Let’s see why.

1) Audio and video quality. The more powerful the audio and video quality is, the most similar to the real world the experience of the participants to your virtual events will be. This means much, especially in terms of communication. Consider that human communication is mostly non-verbal, and a significant part of the message gets lost during its transmission through a virtual environment.

The idea behind video conferencing is exactly to preserve the contents of the exchanged messages as much as possible, so that the experience in a virtual workplace resembles the one in a real office. This decreases a lot the risks of misunderstandings and makes the virtual office a quite comfortable place where to work with consequent increases in productivity and speed.

Poor video and audio quality will inevitably make your collaborators slower (they have to make up for the loss in communication) and the virtual environment uncomfortable, with the result to loose most benefits of video conferencing.

2) Bandwidth Size. We can compare bandwidth to the capacity of a pipeline. If the pipeline is large enough, data stream fast and without obstacle; if the pipeline is too narrow, data slow down with subsequent hassles, like image overlapping and lack of synchronization.

The result is that the quality of the video becomes so poor that it is impossible to keep attending the meeting for participants. The solution usually taken by users is to fall back to text chats, with the loss of the benefits of real stream collaboration through video conferencing.

This is the reason why it is so much important to optimize the bandwidth size when your organization plans to install a video conferencing service. The operation is not complicated in itself (there are some helpful formulas available to reckon how much bandwidth is necessary), and it can be made by any technician.

3) Room Assessment. The physical place where your team stays during video conferences must be conveniently arranged, in order to avoid the participants of your video conferences some common and annoying issues like, for example, data security threatens (people that spy passwords), noise  inconveniences  and incorrect backgrounds. A good practice is to devote a special room to video conferencing with white walls, minimal furniture, good insolation, proper enlightening, comfortable layout and microphones and cams already adjusted, so that to minimize inconveniences.

If you are interested in virtual workplaces and their problems, you are going to find further helpful resources and posts on R-HUB`s blog at http://www.rhubcom.com

  • Share/Save/Bookmark