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Telecommuting perk: You control the thermostat

Telecommuting has its benefits.

When you work from home, you can:

✓ Avoid the morning and afternoon commutes
✓ Make your own coffee instead of sitting in drive-thru for too long
✓ Get some benign household tasks, like laundry, done while you work
✓ Wear your jammies for conference calls
✓ Duck out of office gossip and politics
✓ Direct your nutrition better by not feeling like all you have time for is a fast-food burger and fries

Isn’t it easy to tick off the great parts of remote work?

Now think about this one:

Have you ever been too cold or too hot at the office?

cold employeeHave you sat underneath the air conditioning vent in the summer, only to freeze your butt off if you forget a sweater?

Have you never been able to get warm in the office and yet building rules dictate you are not permitted to have a cooling fan?

When you telecommute, you get to set the temperature yourself.

And this isn’t just a perk to remote work, it’s also a boost to your productivity.

The Undercover Recruiter Andrews Sykes recently cited a study that shows office temperature has an effect on worker productivity.

Of the workers surveyed, 80 per cent complained about their office temperature.

The study also learned:

✓ Men waste 6.4 minutes per day adjusting the temperature; women waste 8.5 minutes
✓ 50 per cent of offices are considered too hot in the summer
✓ 22 per cent of workers leave the office in the summer to cool down
✓ 52 per cent of offices are considered too cold in the summer

That seems like a lot of wasted time complaining and trying to be comfortable.

Meanwhile, those of us in the telecommuting world enjoy the ability to turn the heat up or down as we see fit.

So if you haven’t asked the boss to start working from home — even for a day or two a week — what’s stopping you now?

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Conference calls: Are your telecommuters asleep on the job?

Did you ever feel like you were talking to an empty room?

Like everyone on your conference call is asleep or away from their desk to fill up their coffee cups?

You may not be mistaken.

Conference calls are a great way to stay in touch with your remote team, but they can also get long and boring. If you lose your audience, your telecommuters might find something else to do.

(I long ago mastered the art of “uh huh” and “you bet” on regular phone calls with my mother.)

conference call

A 2014 survey by one of our friendly competitors revealed more than a quarter of respondents have fallen asleep during virtual meetings.

Others said they make other phone calls, snack, exercise or play video games during conference calls.

Almost half of them (47 per cent) go to the bathroom. Ugh.

Keep your telecommuters entertained

When we talk about keeping your conference call guests entertained, we don’t mean you have to tell them jokes.

It can be as easy as keeping them engaged.

Here’s how.

Send an agenda

If your remote workers know what’s going to happen during a conference call, they can prepare to provide input and participate in the discussion.

Make the call matter

Don’t hold conference calls for the sake of holding conference calls. Ensure each one has a purpose and isn’t a waste of your employees’ time.

Stay on track

It can be easy to let the conversation derail once others start injecting their thoughts and ideas, and that can lead to decreased attention by some listeners. Make sure you stick to the point as the conference chairperson.

Invite selectively

Think about it this way: does the entire team need to attend? Some members of the team may better spend their time working on their daily tasks. Don’t interrupt their productivity with a wasteful meeting.

Ask questions

Call upon the expertise of individuals by specifically asking for their input. If everyone thinks their thoughts are valuable and could be called upon at any minute, you should inhibit anyone from wanting to nod off or stray from their phones.

Follow up

Few things about meetings irk me more than realizing nothing is going to happen afterward. Send everyone a followup email, assign action items and ensure everyone is accountable for those tasks.

Stay on top of your account

Conference calls are a great way to stay connected with your remote team, whether for major meetings or weekly updates.

Your OnConference account lets you track your account charges, so you know where your minutes are going and who’s been chairing what conference calls.

As an account owner, you can assign Project/Department Account Code to each call, or have a default account code for each chairperson you enter into your account.

Charges will be summarized and broken down by project department code on your monthly invoice.

Here’s how it works:

✓ Each chairperson account you create can be assigned a Project/Department Account Code. That chairperson’s conference calls are grouped together under that code and summarized on your bill.
✓ You can be prompted at the start of each call to enter a numeric project account code. To enable this function, you need to contact us at the 24/7 Operator Support Conferencing Centre (1-800-804-8608).
✓ Codes can be assigned after each call on the myUsage section when you access your account details online, via myAccount.

OnConference also sends a daily email with summary details of your audio use. This email does not show any charges incurred.

Check your recent usage now.

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FCC Registration No. 0018147173       Industry Canada Corporation No. 85439 3139