Recreate the Water Cooler: Staying Connected to Your Staff When Working Remotely

By QuickBooks Canada Team

2 min read

Thanks to advancements in mobile computing capability, Canada has an increasing number of mobile workers – people who rely on notebook computers, tablets, and smartphones to connect with their offices while they spend nearly all of their time meeting with customers, suppliers, and prospective clients. Studies by International Data Corp. Canada and Ryerson University forecast the final 2016 mobile worker population total to reach 73% of the total Canadian workforce. The number of telecommuters is also increasing. As a result, there are fewer opportunities for team members to bond with their co-workers or to establish a meaningful rapport with management. Videoconferencing software can help overcome that void by providing face-to-face communication.

Connect With Employees by Videoconferencing

When you or your team members are away from the office for significant periods of time, it is worthwhile to have a system for videoconferencing so your business can maintain the levels of teamwork and the unique culture of the office situation. Schedule your staff videoconferences so you can accommodate team members who are working in different time zones or provinces. If possible, try to schedule these conferences so that they take place at a set time on a particular day of the week. You might find it necessary to have these meetings more than once per week, especially as projects begin ramping up. Include enough time in each meeting to include some small talk and casual conversation, allowing for jokes and discussions about entertainment, sports and random topics of interest.

Videoconferencing Ideas for the Canadian Small Business

Consider focusing particular videoconferences on different themes, with some being work-related and others with a significant recreational focus. For example, you could assign each employee a meeting to discuss the toughest customer of the year. From the recreational standpoint, you and your team could take turns sharing your own movie review with the group. You might want to schedule videoconferences to follow a roundtable format, where team members interactively discuss particular topics. Choose a videoconferencing platform offering multiple-participant capability and take advantage of it.

Software and Technical Considerations

Although there are many videoconferencing platforms available, you might find only a few that are suitable for your company’s needs.

  • The most familiar name in videoconferencing platforms is Skype, particularly Microsoft Skype for Business. Upon comparing videoconferencing software, Skype offers many features, except operator-assisted meetings and toll-free number capability.
  • RingCentral is another videoconferencing platform that is available to users in Canada. RingCentral is available as an app for use with a smartphone.
  • Cisco WebEx is also available in Canada. Although WebEx has a number of desirable features, it does not offer cloud storage.
  • Use virtual private network connectivity for encrypted communication across the internet to protect confidential information. Among the many virtual private network platforms offering secure communications, Free Canada VPN is available at no cost.

References & Resources

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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