Remote PC Access & Creating a Virtual Workplace

by Yehuda Cagen 18. October 2010 08:28



As mobile computer services and remote pc access devices - such as smart phones, iPads and other tablets - proliferate, organizations and their employees are gaining more flexibility.

If you're looking to make your business more flexible, you need tools that will ensure your operations run smoothly in the absence of having staff you can monitor and oversee everyday. Having staff that telecommute as well as a virtual storefront may present unique challenges to the daily management of a virtual company. Here are five free or inexpensive tools you can use that we have found to be extremely helpful in training, management and operations.

1. Yahoo Instant Messenger (IM)

For a virtual company, IM is essential. We use both Yahoo and GTalk (Google) but some small virtual firms like to use Skype or other IM clients. With Yahoo IM, we are able to record and save the IM conversations. In addition, YIM allows you to share files such an jpegs, pdfs and Word docs, directly across the IM network while you chat in real time. IM is also helpful for training especially when it isn't possible for you to phone conference or train in person.

Yahoo PingBox

Along the same lines, Yahoo Pingbox is a chat client that is embeddable on a website or blog. Visitors to your website can chat with you via the embedded chat box. We've found that Pingbox can dramatically improve your website's performance in terms of its conversion rates and the stickiness of a website.

Free Conference Call

FreeConferenceCall.Com offers a powerful conference calling service, all for free. You can record conference calls, play them back at a later date and even have them transcribed into text (for a small fee). Also, the service is nice because it gives you a report of all call participants along with their phone numbers at the end of each call. A must have for virtual teams.

. Phone.com – Automated Phone Answering Service

If you have a virtual team and each member has h/er own phone number, then you know how challenging it can be to make sure all calls to your business are being handled efficiently and expediently. Phone.Com helps to solve this common problem by giving you VoIP (Voice over IP) services. You can record a professional-sounding voicemail by simply typing text in; you don't need a person to speak anything, and the software will convert it to an .mp3 voice message recording. And if a caller leaves a message, you can have the system send the message to you as an .mp3 in an email. Or, have the voicemail transcribed to text and sent via email.

In addition, you can set up sophisticated call handling rules and call forwarding rules. For example, you can have one number, when called, to ring a second line. Phone.Com even offers International Long Distance calling numbers, making international commerce easier. Rates start as low as $6/mo.

MediaWiki As An Intranet

Though it is a bit more complex to install and configure, the MediaWiki open source software is superb for use as an internal company intranet. We use MediaWiki - the same software the runs Wikipedia - for group collaboration, workflow management, standard operating procedures and other important internal documents. With MediaWiki, you can easily allow your staff to upload/download files, edit and contribute to each other's work and keep shared notes on sales prospects.

These five free or inexpensive tools that can really made a difference for your business have been provided by guest-blogger
Eric Bryant, Director - Gnosis Arts Multimedia Communications LLC.

We hope you have found this information helpful. If you would like to learn more about this subject, please feel free to contact us:

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