How Take Your Business Remote with a Virtual Business Phone Number

What is a Virtual Business Phone Number?

Virtual business phone numbers are work numbers that operate seamlessly across multiple devices, including – office phones, cell phones, computers, & landlines. Each team member can link various devices to their own virtual phone number. Or, a group of team members can link together to share a single business line.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the ability to work remotely was more of a perk than a common workplace benefit. You had to work at a certain kind of company with a certain kind of job, or run your own kind of business which allowed greater mobility. Now, after the lessons learned from the whole world experiencing a sudden and unexpected transition to remote work, it has become normalized, if not expected by many workers and entrepreneurs to be able to work from home.

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If you’re starting a new business, or struggling to manage the transition to remote working, we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide for how to take your business remote, using virtual phone numbers for business and other tools critical for remote working success.

Increase Happiness and Productivity with Remote Work

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, their colleagues and employers all consistently report higher job satisfaction and personal happiness when given the option to work remotely. According to a study by Global Workplace Analytics, 82% of employees want to work from home more often. However, not every job can be done from out of the office, or not all the time at least. Some businesses require a physical location, such as restaurants or retail. But for those who can, having a choice about whether to work from home can make a huge difference in their work and personal lives.

For entrepreneurs, working from home is often a necessity. For many, keeping their personal number private is important to them so as to not mix personal and business communications. If you’re doing a start-up, or your business is relatively new, maintaining a physical office space might not make sense, either for your budget or for overall flexibility. You might be juggling another job, freelancing on the side, or handling family needs while getting your small business off the ground. In that case, having the right tools for remote work is essential.

Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why entrepreneurs, business owners, and employees all love having flexibility over their working environments.

Reasons Employees Love Working Remotely:

1. Working From Home is More Comfortable, Convenient, and Healthy

Many people dislike having to go to an office every day, and love being able to just roll out of bed, get dressed, make some coffee, and walk across the house to their comfortable, familiar working spaces. No long commute, no worries about forgetting something at home, and when the work day is over, they’re already at home. Not to mention the convenience of getting more exercise, or preparing healthy, home-cooked meals right there in your own living space.

2. Save Money on Transportation, Meals, and Clothing

Commuting is one of the most significant expenses for the traditional worker. Having to drive from the suburbs to the city, for instance, consumes a huge amount of time, not to mention money spent on gas, parking, and increased frequency of repairs. Public transportation is cheaper, but not free, and carries the added burden of subjecting you to transit schedules.

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Also, many people spend an inordinate amount of money on restaurant or takeout lunches during the work day, much of which is saved by eating at home or cooking for yourself. Or the added expense of maintaining a whole other wardrobe just for office-appropriate clothing.

3. Not Having to Commute Saves Time and Increases Scheduling Flexibility

All that time saved on commuting means more time for yourself before, during, and after work hours. If you’re working from home, it’s also easier to adjust your schedule to hours which make more sense for your own life. Working on a remote team often means maintaining shared hours, but it can be easier for people to maintain flexibility around how they spend those hours.

4. Easier to Deal With Personal or Family Issues

Ever had to run to the bank in the middle of a work day? How about picking up a sick kid from school? Or your landlord calling to say a pipe broke in your apartment? If you’re stuck at a work location, sometimes hours away from where you live, those situations can be difficult or impossible to deal with. If you’re working remotely with a flexible schedule, all those little errands can end up being much less of a hassle.

5. Increased Happiness and Morale

Just having the option for remote work, or the flexibility to choose a day or days during the week, can greatly improve job satisfaction, motivation, and overall morale. All the factors we listed, among others, mean that people experience a greater sense of control over their own lives, rather than just feeling like a slave to one particular job.

Reasons Employers and Entrepreneurs Love Remote Work:

1. Increased Productivity

Studies such as this late 2020 report from McKinsey & Company show that work-from-home productivity actually increased during the pandemic. That shouldn’t be surprising with so many normally-productive people being forced to work remotely, but the statistics defied expectations that sending employees home, for instance, would lead to productivity loss.

2. Lower Overhead

Entrepreneurs already know that remote work means not having to pay for office rent, phone, internet, and so on. But many established businesses and larger companies that were forced to close their offices during the pandemic discovered that they were still able to conduct business at or near their former levels without the additional costs of maintaining a physical location.

3. Control Over Hiring

When your business isn’t tied to a physical location, you have more control over who you can hire and where they can work from. With the ever-increasing availability of top-tier freelance and remote talent online, you have better access to the best possible hires than ever before. Even if you return to a physical location post-Covid, you might find yourself managing a mixed team of physical and remote workers. Also, if someone you want to hire is located in another city or even another country, relocation becomes a non-issue.

4. Lower Turnover

Although less of a concern for solo entrepreneurs, employees leaving their jobs is a constant issue for companies who maintain any kind of staff. Losing a great employee is always a blow, and even getting rid of a poor performer means having to fill a vacancy. When people have the flexibility to work when and where they want, it can lead to greater job satisfaction and overall company morale, making workers far less likely to go looking for greener pastures.

5. Flexibility in Service Offerings & Schedules

Similar to being able to hire someone in a distant location, working remotely means that you can have much greater flexibility in what you offer, who you offer it to, where you offer it, and when. Going remote untethers your business from physical limitations, and enables you to expand your hours, go on the road, or expand your offerings in other geographical locations.

How to Succeed at Taking Your Business Remote

Not every company succeeds at going remote. Famous examples include Yahoo!, which in 2013 experimented with allowing employees to work remotely, then quickly reeled them back in. In 2014, the social forum site Reddit closed its branch offices and gave employees two months to relocate to its main office in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other major companies like Best Buy, IBM, and HP all gave up on remote work initiatives.

Lack of planning, or failing to dedicate adequate resources or the right tools to teams working remotely can easily lead to failure and a return to the traditional work model. Although solopreneurs and business owners managing a remote team have different considerations when it comes to working environments, there are several useful tools and techniques which can help to make remote work easier, whether working alone or with others.

Take a careful look at your entire operation and what day-to-day activities entail. How do you interact with customers and service providers? What sort of communication channels do you regularly use? How do you supply products and receive payments? A top-to-bottom assessment will tell you what can be done remotely, and what cannot.

Lots of business owners jump into remote work without having adequate tools to get the job done. Make sure you get a virtual business phone number so you can still be reached via phone by customers, colleagues, and suppliers. Get team members connected via Slack, Zoom, or other messaging apps, and consider renting shared warehouse space or an on-demand service if you provide physical products.

Also, don’t overdo it. Having too many apps and tools to manage is almost as bad as not having the right ones. Keep it limited to as few apps and platforms as possible so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Having one central, unified source of information for your business is essential, even if not working remotely. In the past, reams of documents, filing cabinets, forms and folders were the inevitable detritus of doing business. Now, it’s easier than ever to use a single cloud data storage and application provider like Microsoft Teams or Google Workspace to store and share documents and get work done. Productivity tools like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp help organize tasks, meetings, and calendars, and keep all your activities on track.

Many companies use knowledge base software like Atlassian Confluence to store all the relevant information about operations, human resources, client and project notes, and more that team members need in order to get their jobs done. As part of any streamlining initiative, consider building your own unique internal knowledge base to help you and your employees answer simple questions about day-to-day operations.

If you manage a remote team, having clear guidelines and policies regarding remote work is critical to maintaining a shared sense of unity and continuity. This will depend on how you organize your responsibilities or team, but could include things like making sure everyone is reachable between certain hours, or rules for how people schedule their remote working time. Flexibility is important, but keeping business focused and on track should be your first priority.

If you have people working from home or on the road, staying in touch can be a challenge. People might not respond immediately to messages, or a critical question could come up and the person with the answer might not be reachable. To help moderate any potential problems, make sure to schedule regular check-ins and team meetings to keep everyone connected and up to date with what everyone else’s tasks and responsibilities are.

Lots of potential challenges with working remotely can be circumvented with adequate onboarding. If you have a given set of project and time management tools that need to be used in a certain way, create comprehensive guides along with simple step-by-step instructions for new team members to follow. That way, they can get onboarded and integrated with their new role as soon as possible.

Not everything is going to work well the first time, right away, or maybe even at all. When trying out different methods and tools for remote work, don’t expect them to work perfectly. If something doesn’t work, don’t get frustrated. There might be a better tool for the job, or a different, more efficient, or easier way to accomplish what you’re trying to do. Ask questions of other business owners and learn from other people’s experiences.

Every successful business owner knows that assessing how well business processes are working is critical to knowing whether to maintain course or make adjustments. This is even more critical for teams that work remotely. Shared physical workspaces provide lots of opportunities for gauging performance and work engagement, but when teams work in remote locations it can be hard to assess performance other than through specific deliverables. Careful and continuous assessment of your efforts is essential to achieving success.

Last but not least, don’t forget the personal side of things. When everyone works remotely, it can be easy to feel disconnected from group efforts, or like you’re not really part of the team. Besides staff meetings, hosting online gatherings like pizza parties or cocktail hours, even having supplies for said gatherings delivered to your employees so everyone can share the experience at a given time can go a long way towards boosting morale.

Virtual Business Phone Numbers Make Remote Work Possible

Getting a virtual business number with a platform like LinkedPhone adds a level of functionality, ease, and professionalism to any business. Many start-ups and entrepreneurs start their business working off their personal number on their own cell phone. Giving out your personal number to vendors and customers is something we do not recommend. These days, it’s easy to add a virtual phone system to any smartphone via mobile apps. These platforms are far more affordable than a traditional business phone line, and work across a multitude of devices, including office IP phones and landlines, making a virtual phone number the perfect solution for the modern business environment.

Some of the many benefits of a virtual number include:

1. No Additional Equipment

Use the smartphone you already have, and manage your phone system via the mobile app or web platform on your laptop.

2. Go Mobile or Stay in the Office 

Your virtual business number will still ring no matter where you are, so you don’t have to worry about missing any calls, ever. Set business hours so that you aren’t disturbed when not available.

3. Works Across Multiple Devices

Mobile calling apps work equally well on your smartphone, tablet, desktop computer, laptop, office IP phone, and can be configured to ring landline phones as well.

4. Reduce Costs

Virtual phone apps cost a fraction of traditional business phone systems and calling plans, and tiered pricing is available to meet your budget, no matter the size of your company.

5. Professional Calling Features

Get the features you and your customers are already familiar with from any big company’s phone system, including automated greetings, calling options, voicemail, and more.

6. Scalability

Your business phone system can be scaled up to the size of your team for however many lines and extensions you might need

7. Brand Visibility

Having one easy to remember phone number for your business makes it easier to give that number out, print on marketing materials, publish online, and anything else you want to do with it.

8. Professionalism

Having a centralized business phone number and professional calling options for customers and suppliers not only ensures that they can always reach you, but will let them know that you take their calls seriously.

Set Yourself Up for Success When Taking Your Business Remote

Working remotely might seem like a big challenge, especially when you have to manage a remote team. With the rapidly advancing pace of modern communications technology, we have more and better tools than ever before to enable entrepreneurs, business owners, managers and employees to work remotely. Make sure you’re prepared for the new way of doing business with a virtual number business phone number, and the other tools and techniques which can help make your business a success.

Small Business Resources

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Small Business Podcasts
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Small Business Mobile Apps
Top Entrepreneur Forums
The 30-Second Elevator Pitch
Perfect Voicemail Greetings
Add Click-to-Dial To Your Website
What is VoIP? How Does it Work?
Guide to Small Business Software
What is a Virtual Phone System?
How to Share a Team Phone Number
Toll-Free vs. Local Business Number
Learn the Parts of a Phone Number
Inspirational Small Business Quotes
Mastering the Art of the Cold Call

A special high five to Miles Burke for his outstanding research and contributions to this article. We love working with and supporting like-minded entrepreneurs. Thank you Miles! ❤️

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