We are a technology company that works with clients all over the Midwest, including Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Michigan. Travel is a natural part of our business flow; therefore, we have adopted some proven applications and services that help us stay productive and less stressed while on the road and in the air.
Stay Productive Everywhere
Office 365 + Skype for Business Phone System
It’s no secret that we’re big advocates of Office 365, but we’re also Office 365 users, and it’s the main reason our team can stay productive when they’re outside of the office (whether it’s traveling, working from home, or accessing information from a client site). Having access to our emails, files and Office programs in the cloud allows us access to anything we need from any device, as long as it’s connected to the internet.
As part of our Office 365 plan, we use Skype for Business for our phone system. With it, our employees can send and receive calls from their office phone - no matter where they are. This is a significant benefit for our sales team since it eliminates the need to worry about potentially missing a call from a customer because they’re away from the office (and our clients don’t have to try calling multiple phone numbers to get in touch with them).
Want try out a Skype PBX? Interlink has a pilot Voice offering - Skype PBX Energize - that is designed for Office 365, which will get Skype Voice in your environment quickly! It allows you to test the Skype Voice PBX phone system and take advantage of voice-over-IP (VoIP) calling over your network, along with the features you need to eliminate traditional PBX systems and associated costs.
DocuSign is an app made to digitize the process of signatures. For us, the biggest selling point of DocuSign is the integration with Office 365 programs. You can create and send documents for signature directly in Word. As Office 365 users, this saves us a lot of time.
DocuSign works especially well for travel since it eliminates the need for printing and scanning signed documents. Everything can be done directly from your computer or phone with effective security and compliance features.
Office Lens is a mobile scanner app from Microsoft that scans documents, pictures, whiteboards, and business cards. When scanning, you have a few different saving and sending options including saving directly to your phone, saving to OneDrive or sending it to an app like Outlook.
If you’re scanning a business card, it can convert it directly to contact information in your phone (really nice for conferences where you get a ton of business cards).
Part of staying productive while on the go is using your time wisely. Some of our employees use travel time (and even commute time) to skill up with podcasts and audio books. This isn’t exactly ground-breaking advice, but it works well for us. Finding the time to learn new skills can be difficult, so this is an excellent place to fit it in.
Make Travel Easier
These apps aren’t necessarily going to make you more productive, but they certainly take some of the stress out of travel. And a happy (or at least a non-frantic) traveler is a more productive traveler.
TripIt keeps track of your travel itinerary like flight information, hotel information, and rental car information. It can be connected to your email account to automatically add this information to the app as you receive your confirmations (or you can forward your confirmations to a particular email).
App in the Air tracks your flight information and puts them in timeline form and tells you how long you have for each stage (e.g.: check in ends in 15 minutes, take off will be in 1 hour). One of the nice features of App in the Air, especially if your flight is delayed, or you have a long layover, is the Airports tab which has incredibly detailed maps and information about airports (including user tips – most of these are helpful information like where you can charge your phone and which restaurant is the best).
Waze is a navigation app similar to Google Maps. Waze will find the fastest route for you and alert you to upcoming obstacles (like an accident or a car on the side of the road). You can send your ETA via text, and the recipient can check for real time updates.
A Note About Security
It’s easy to get lax about data security when traveling, especially when it’s in the name of convenience and productivity. The free airport and hotel Wi-Fi may seem nice, but they’re notoriously unsafe. The cost of providing your employees hot spots (or hot spot enabled phones) or 4G enabled devices so they can work on a secure connection is much less than the cost of a data breach. Travel can be stressful enough as it is – doesn't add the stress of dealing with a data breach on top of it.