During this time of year most people are focused on celebration, and a well-deserved time away from the office. If you are not in the retail industry then chances are your business will slow down over the holiday and many employees will be asking for time off. Managers and business owners are faced with the challenge of balancing the need to give employees time to enjoy their families, travel and holiday activities while still having resources available to respond to customers, internal teams and vendors to serve the daily needs of the business. While there are limited options available for some types of business that require employees to do tasks that necessitate you to be on site there are options for service related business like insurance, healthcare, real estate, legal firms and software companies. Here are a few ways to soften the workload and make it a happier holiday for all while staying connected:
- Un-tether your employees from the office – To do this there are several tools available to make it easy for employees to stay connected from home or in their car while making the trip over the river and through the woods.
- Call Routing from your business lines – This feature allows you to route calls to mobile phones, home phones or other business locations. Some providers like EarthLink Business can even provide options to try multiple numbers simultaneously or sequentially. To make it easy for employees and business administrators they can also build rules ahead of time to pre-schedule the routing options.
- Auto-attendant – whether it is a traditional premise based phone system or a cloud-based auto attendant this front ends the incoming calls with a system generated greeting that provides the caller with options. You can provide options for callers to get routed to a live person via re-routing to a mobile number or alternative phone number even for holiday or after hours if required. You can also have callers leave a voicemail for critical issues and forward those messages auto-magically to an email distribution list for visibility by your employees on any email platform. There are also options to set a schedule for the greetings and call treatments in advance of a holiday to make it as easy as turning it on when needed.
- Voicemail – Don’t forget to have your employees change their voicemail to notify callers of the business hours during the holiday and have an alternate contact if they will not be responding during certain times. Once again a schedule can be set up ahead of time so they don’t have to change it on every holiday.
- Soft phone or soft client access – If your employees must stay “online” during the holiday these software based phones can be loaded on their laptop and taken home and remain active on home DSL or cable based networks. Most software based IP providers offer the same functionality as if the user were in the office. Coupled with network access to get to key applications like work email and key business software programs this makes a powerful way to stay connected without having to leave their homes or while on the road.
- Lastly, make sure whatever tools you use to stay connected have web based portal access to allow for employees and office administrators alike to give you the ability to make changes on the fly without having to drive back to the office to make changes.
Here is wishing you and yours a happy, carefree and connected holiday season!