See the new digital tools that are trying to address the worker communication gap.
Remote Workers Feel Lonely
According to recent survey results reported in smallbiztrends the remote work revolution that has been taking place in American businesses has resulted in an unexpected increase in worker loneliness.
While 32% of these workers appreciate the flexibility in their schedules, communication and collaboration are the two main struggles that remote workers say need to be better acknowledged.
Firstline Workers Feel Disconnected from Management
Another communication issue identified by Forrester Consulting in 2018, is that Firstline workers--defined as employees who are the first point of contact between organizations and their customers, feel disconnected to their managers.
This communication gap is further revealed by this result : less than half of the Firstline workers surveyed agree that the tools they use do a good job of allowing them to be mobile, whereas 75 percent of managers feel the tools they provide do a good job of this.
The fact that there is a disconnect in the reported results of the survey should be concerning to operations managers at small to mid-sized businesses.
What Tools Can Help Remote and Firstline Workers Feel More Connected?
While the work environments and demands of remote workers vs. Firstline workers differ greatly, both work groups need to be able to create and access information in a streamlined, mobile-first way.
One solution that Microsoft has proposed is its new Teams configuration called SMB Firstline. A few of the benefits that make this especially attractive to workers who aren't behind a desk in an office are:
1. The ability to use a phone number to sign-in (no email address needed).
2. Mobile-optimized secure chat experience.
3. Remotely share photos and access handbooks and training materials securely.
4. Simplified file storage and sharing.
Outdated paper processes no longer work for remote workers or Firstline workers who are out in the field or constantly on the move.
Teams and Office 365 for SMB Firstline seeks to connect all employees--especially the ones who only require a mobile phone or tablet to stay productive.
For remote service workers requiring email, there is an upgraded SKU that includes a 2GB mailbox with a seamless calendar experience.
Here's what the breakdown of the offer looks like:
Working with a partner like PTG will enbable SMBs to mix and match between these two SKUs, depending on your organization's needs.
1. Microsoft Teams for SMB Firstline:
$1.00/user/month Ideal for Task Workers Microsoft Teams, including:
✓ Phone # sign-in (no email address needed)
✓ Mobile-optimized chat experience
✓ Shift scheduling and clock-in/clock-out
✓ Allocate and track tasks/to-dos
✓ Remotely share photos and access handbooks and training materials
✓ Integrate line of business apps or build simple workflows with Power Platform
✓ Read-only access to Word/Excel/PowerPoint
✓ 2 GB cloud storage per user + 1 TB shared storage
2. Office 365 for SMB Firstline:
$2.50/user/month Ideal for Services Workers Full Microsoft Teams for SMB Firstline capabilities plus Outlook and Exchange Online
✓ 2 GB mailbox
✓ Seamless calendar and contact experience
✓ Create and edit Word/Excel/PowerPoint on the web
Workers who aren't as connected as they could be are not productive and can really end up hurting a company's bottom line.
This is one solution (available now) that doesn't compromise security like other third-party apps (WhatsApp), is easy to manage, and--when implemented properly--provides an affordable solution that increases worker loyalty.
If you'd like to take advantage of this new technology for your remote or Firstline workforce, reach out to us today. Demo sessions are available.
To view Part 1 of this blog series, click here.