Isolation. When you work from home, it’s likely that you’ll experience less contact with other professionals in your field — especially for, but not limited to, individual contributor roles. You won’t have a daily commute, so you won’t encounter other people on your way to and from the office. You won’t bump into other workers at the water cooler for a casual conversation, or have lunch with your coworkers a few days a week. With fewer encounters with other people — and other professionals in your field — it’s easy to feel isolated, which can lead to a slump in progress or even depression.
A collaboration and community platform. Virtual workers need a virtual office — a place where they can meet online and hold conversations. It’s easy for virtual workers to become isolated, so a central hub to communicate with colleagues is a benefit. Skype, Slap, HipChat, and Pie are all popular choices. The best collaboration and community platforms connect employees, give them a place to chat and discuss projects, leave feedback and suggestions, and more.
Drift provides conversational marketing and sales software powered by both automation (rule-based) and artificial intelligence (NLP). According to their website, "Drift's conversational AI is trained on over 6 billion conversations to identify the patterns that engage and convert visitors into qualified pipeline." This means the machine learning that the chatbot comes with is already pre-trained and ready to go.
Even with the right tools and adequate planning, virtual teams in the workplace can pose unique challenges for global companies of all sizes. An experienced talent development firm can help companies navigate the trials that come with virtual collaboration across cultural boundaries. Choose to work with a firm with a validated inventory in the market and a proven record for success.
Personal Assistants are there to support the work of managers, company directors and who they are employed by to undertake a variety of tasks that the manager would normally partake in to help the business. A personal assistant is required to do any task that the managers requires, whether personal or professional. You will also find Personal Assistants often act as the manager’s first point of contact. Personal Assistants can be flexible to adapt to your style of work. It’s up to you to mold your PA into perfection. See below a Personal Assistants duties and attributes that will help your piece of mind, keeping your business successful.
HubSpot has an easy and powerful chat builder software that allows you to automate and scale live chat conversations. Your customers will be able to get answers to frequently asked questions, book meetings, and navigate the site. At the same time, their answers are saved in your CRM, allowing you to qualify leads and trigger automation. Keep in mind that HubSpot's chat builder software doesn't quite fall under the category of "AI chatbot" because it uses a rule-based system. However, HubSpot does have code snippets, allowing you to leverage the powerful AI of third-party NLP-driven bots such as Dialogflow.
Working in an office carries a lot of secondary expenses. For instance, you have to pay for your transportation costs (gasoline, bus/train tickets, etc.), professional attire (suits, business accessories), and other related costs (lunch, makeup/deodorant, etc.). These costs can quickly add up, although they’re rarely considered. For business owners, who must lease or rent a space, the costs are much greater. When you use a virtual office, you can end up saving a lot of money.
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Level of interaction and communication. Analytics make it easy to determine which employees are interacting and communicating. Managers can track whether or not remote workers are engaging, and use that information to determine whether remote work is right for their company. Besides time tracking software to monitor employees’ time spent working, managers can use project management software to ask for updates and view communication between team members. Intelligent software offers employers a way to digitally monitor employees’ behavior and discover patterns about their progress, or lack thereof. For example, sociometric analysis measures how social relationships affect productivity.
The conversation is twofold: Employees who work from home help companies reduce overhead costs, experience greater satisfaction in their jobs, and they’re more productive, but companies ultimately have the discretion to not offer work from home policies — or revoke them — if company leaders believe that managing a virtual workplace decreases speed or hinders collaboration.
Watson Assistant Pricing: IBM Watson Assistant’s Free plan allows 10,000 API calls per month, 5 chatbots, 100 intents and 25 entities. The Standard plan has unlimited API calls at a cost of $0.0025 per call. You can have up to 20 chatbots, 2,000 intents and 1,000 entities. IBM also offers a multiple higher-level plans, which you’ll need to contact IBM for a quote.
A time zone converter. Teams that include members from different time zones often struggle with finding the best times to collaborate. A time zone converter can assist virtual workers in planning the best times for meetings, and it can remind employees to remain conscientious of the time in their teammates’ zones. Every Time Zone is a web-based, aesthetically pleasing app that converts time zone differences in a simple, easy-to-comprehend format.
A file-sharing service. Virtual teams need a place to share files. A file-sharing service will allow employees to store, access and share files in a secure location. Dropbox is one major platform for file sharing, but there are plenty of other popular services available, such as Google Drive and OneDrive. If you have highly regulated IT guidelines, it may be worthwhile to invest in your own IT-approved system.
Using a virtual office allows for greater work-life balance. Working long hours in the office environment can be a major source of stress for employees. With a virtual office, employees can have a greater work-life balance; they are able to more quickly transition from work back to their family life. Working remotely allows for less of the stress associated with office environments.
Use varied channels of communication. There are many ways to communicate virtually. Lean methods include emails, chat messages, and texting. If you have a simple message to share, a lean method of communication is usually fine. If you have something deeper or more complicated to share, it’s better to opt for a richer method of communication, such as video conference or telephone call. These methods add more contextual information like facial expressions and body language, which can be very telling in a conversation.
And besides, you’re going to get quite a few of the perks of being rich without being rich anyway, provided you know how to name drop. Want to have dinner in a Michele star restaurant but don’t have reservations? Come right this way, sir. Want to buy that new Chanel bag? I just happen to have one behind the counter. The benefits can be truly tremendous.
Commuting to work each day can eat up a lot of your time. Getting ready for work (grooming, putting on professional attire, etc.) and commuting to your office (and then back home again later) typically take up hours of your day. By using a virtual office, you can instantly eliminate your daily commute, saving time that you can put towards more useful things.