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5 ways to improve conference calls with your remote team

Remember when Yahoo banned telecommuting, calling all its remote workers back to headquarters?

CEO Marissa Mayer said everyone needed to be working side-by-side and in-office to maximize output on communication and collaboration.

We later learned some employees were abusing their work-from-home privileges. Some were even using their Yahoo-paid time to launch their own startups.

business meetingWe know trust between a manager and his employees is necessary to the success of a telecommuting program.

We also know communication between a manager and his employees is necessary to the success of a telecommuting program.

Communication can be accomplished in a number of ways, from email to instant messaging and web conferencing.

Pick up the phone

Managers prefer face-to-face meetings.

A 2009 Forbes.com survey revealed executives believe in-person meetings are better for achieving persuasion, leadership, engagement, inspiration, decision-making, accountability and more.

A conference call — executed with everyone’s best interests in mind — is the right way to accomplish those objectives with your remote team. The technology allows us to meeting in the virtual space, saving time and money and offering flexibility in location and timing.

“Think of the lingering aroma from your colleague’s garlicky lunch, your boss’ pen-tapping or the two “besties” who giggle through meetings,” writes FlexJobs CEO Sarah Sutton Fell in Entrepreneur.com. “Those distractions don’t exist in a virtual meeting.

“It’s not to say that teamwork and collaboration can’t benefit from in-office interaction, but they can also suffer. Telecommuting is a helpful alternative where just as much can get done.”

I’ll take a conference call over someone’s garlicky breath any day.

Here’s how to make a conference call with your remote team work to everyone’s advantage:

1. Keep it short

Let’s not bore everyone to tears with corporate updates and policy changes and what-not. Send that information in an email (with bullet points for easy reading) and refer to the document to make your points.

Use your conference calls to help your telecommuters leap over obstacles, hash out ideas and help each other out.

2. Have a plan

Plan an agenda and email it to everyone. It doesn’t have to be formal, but everyone should be aware of your discussion topics and prepared to contribute to the conversation.

3. Engage

Ask your teleworkers question, use their names and make them feel involved. The more they feel like they belong to the discussion, the more they’ll feel like offering ideas.

4. Take action

You know what sucks? Hanging up on a conference call and feeling like your hour was wasted because you feel like nothing was or will be accomplished.

Before you leave your telecommuters to their to-do lists, ensure everyone knows the tasks that are expected of them and the courses of action you’ll be taking to move the team and its projects forward.

5. Use the right platform

You are responsible for making sure your conference call goes smoothly. Part of that is using the right technology. OnConference.com’s conference calling platform is user-friendly, packed with great features and comes with 24/7 customer support and a 100 per cent guarantee.

Learn more about it!

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