You, your team and subscribers can help stay connected at a distance with communication apps.
Tech advancements make working from home commonplace. Even before “Shelter in Place” orders, more employers and employees leveraged tools, including communication apps to work from living rooms and kitchen tables all over the U.S. A 2017 Gallup poll indicated that in 2016, 31% of Americans spent 80-100% of work hours working from home, up from 24% in 2012.
Then, it became essential to work from home. Forward-thinking organizations were early adopters — Microsoft and Chevron sent their workforce home to work in late February. Unfortunately, as of November, states are reporting escalating numbers and there are more calls for masks and social distancing
WISPs around the country have been operating even as their states issue shelter in place orders. To keep team members and their subscribers safe, WISP leaders have discovered ways to continue to stay in touch at a distance as they operate.
Sure, cell phones keep you in touch with employees — but, they don’t organize messages, automate follow-ups, etc. This article examines communication apps that will improve the process of communication, increase organization and make it easier to keep to a schedule.
- Connectteam – This app manages employees from a central location (your home office or auto) while techs are in the field or admin staff work from home. Teams remain in communication to schedule installs and repairs, track time and even train staff on new processes. Create checklists and offer feedback on employee performance. Customize chat options with individual employees or set up a group chat. The subscription cost for Connectteam is $29 per month for up to 200 employees.
- Twist – Heralded as a better remote team communication than Slack, Twist has a collaborative space for team members to review, edit and create documents. One of its prized features is how well team communication is organized. In many team communication apps, employees interrupt their work to look at new comments from co-workers just to stay in the communication loop. Twist ensures that the communication won’t move on without key team members, so they can focus on important work and keep up with the discussion thread.
Digital Signature App
- Docusign – in this time of social distancing, subscriber signatures for new installations and completed repairs aren’t possible. Digital signatures through apps like Docusign track completed repairs, upgrades and keep new installs going. The cost for the eSignature package is just $10 monthly.
Communicate and Assign Customers to Team Members
- Facebook Messenger – This reliable, free social media platform can be one of the most reliable channels to track subscriber repairs, upgrades and installs. Facebook Manager Inbox allows you to assign subscribers to a specific team member, so they can get answers to questions fast and feel as if they’re taken care of.
Two Bonus Apps for Efficiency and Focus
With the necessity of new procedures and ways to work, it’s hard to maintain focus. You and your key employees can create a way to prioritize tasks and remain focused even in a distracting environment.
- ToDoist – If you’re typically rushed during your workday, these times may expand and accelerate that feeling. ToDoist is a list app that tracks your tasks – even delegating them – which makes your busy day manageable. It’s only $3 a month for the premium app.
- RescueTime — Uber-productive people stay in control of their time to focus on tasks that give them a big return on their investment. RescueTime is a free app that tracks time and helps users build powerful habits, do away with distractions and become more focused.
Even during uncertain times, the WISP community is generous in sharing best practices so they can safely deliver the internet to customers. Facebook groups WISP Talk, Everything WISP and WISPA Group are ideal places to keep up with current practices, safety information and to ask questions.
As you continue to work, it’s important to take time for self-care. A short walk in the woods, even sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air, can do a lot to reduce stress and reset your mind.
It’s essential to rely on each other and take care of ourselves. #WISPStrong
Thank you to Kiefer Likens and Charles Deluvio for providing the images for this article. Find more of their work on unsplash.com.
- Mann, A. & Adkins, A; America’s Coming Workplace: Home Alone; March 2017; Gallup; online: https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/206033/america-coming-workplace-home-alone.aspx?utm_source=link_wwwv9&utm_campaign=item_236222&utm_medium=copy
- Hadden, J., et.al., Companies Asking Employees to Work from Home Due to Coronavirus 2020; March 2020; https://www.businessinsider.com/companies-asking-employees-to-work-from-home-due-to-coronavirus-2020#googles-dublin-office-is-working-from-home-to-over-growing-concerns-about-the-coronavirus-1