Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, freelancers were projected to make up the majority of the workforce by 2027, as more companies embrace flexible work schedules, according to a study conducted by the Freelancer’s Union.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated remote working and many company have continued to adopt remote policies even as some employees return to the workplace. Although remote workers are not necessarily all freelancers, many management issues are the same. Effective communication with freelancers and remote employees can ensure many management issues are resolved before they escalate into business disruption.
The rise of remote work prior to the COVID-19 pandemic can be attributed to many different factors, including recent studies showing remote employees can be more productive and engaged in their work, how IoT is merging living and workspaces, and the ability to keep an employee on-call for customers due to flexible scheduling, according to Fast Company. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown employers that remote work is an effective option that can be continued even as some return to the office.
In order to manage employees working in remote locations, office managers must create an open and effective communication system. The system should include safety protocols, and when attempting to reach a remote workforce during an emergency, a mass notification system can be a powerful tool.
Companies hoping to prioritize employee safety while taking advantage of a remote workforce should begin with a comprehensive remote work policy. The first step in creating a remote work policy is determining who on your team can benefit from remote-work, and if those individuals will need additional training or resources for success. Before establishing a remote workforce, be sure to consult with human resources, as well as legal and finance teams, to create an official policy to ensure that remote workers will know who to reach out to with any questions or concerns.
It’s also important to consider how remote work will impact collaboration, and which tools can continue to ensure that all employees are capable. Finding the appropriate tools for communication is often a priority for remote workers, as being out of reach is one of the main issues managers struggle with for remote teams. These tools can include video conferencing software or hardware, equipment to maintain a home workspace, meeting spaces in-office where remote workers can be seen or heard, and of course, a mass notification system to keep employees informed of any emergency or important company news.
Manage cybersecurity concerns by providing workers with a VPN or any other relevant technology in case their system needs an additional layer of security to protect data. In addition to virtual security, it’s important for employees to be included in standard workplace safety procedures and training. Emergency communication is critical – in an era where workplace concerns can include a variety of issues, from a hurricane evacuation to an active assailant on- campus, all workers will appreciate the extra layer of physical security a mass notification system can provide.
What is a Mass Notification System?
A mass notification system is a method of communication that sends instant, simultaneous messages via multiple channels to individuals or groups in an emergency. Mass notifications can alert corporate employees, college students, community members, healthcare workers and other groups of people in an organization immediately — and potentially save lives.
They keep remote employees informed
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated remote working, and many companies have continued to adopt remote policies even as some employees return to the workplace. Although remote workers are not necessarily all freelancers, many management issues are the same. Effective communication with freelancers and remote employees can ensure many management issues are resolved before they escalate into business disruption.
Corporate managers can leverage mass notification to communicate with workers throughout a variety of potential emergency situations, from dire situations such as an active assailant onsite or a severe weather emergency, to smaller incidents such as power outages at the corporate office or routine facilities management.
If there is any health or safety concern in the workplace, remote workers must be included to avoid confusion or prevent a worker from interrupting emergency response. During a severe weather event, it’s also critical that remote workers are contacted, keeping these employees informed of any changes in scheduling or evacuation orders.
They can target specific groups
In a versatile mass notification system, the employee database can be segmented into groups by role, location, department or specific interests. Employees can choose groups they belong to and how often they receive alerts via a company-branded web portal, helping to prevent alert fatigue and desensitization.
Location-based alerts are particularly useful in an emergency situation. Location data is tracked and collected by GPS satellite through a mobile network or smartphone service. If an employee’s location services are turned on in their device, their location will be transmitted via GPS.
This can be a life-saving tool if severe weather threatens your company headquarters. It can also help you track and check in with remote employees or traveling employees caught in a natural disaster or public health issue in another location.
They are difficult to ignore
While phone calls can be dismissed and emails can be disregarded, texts are not so easily ignored. In fact, the open rate for SMS text messages is high at a 98% average, compared to email at 42%. And because the vast majority of Americans own a smartphone today (85%), it’s clear that SMS text alerts are more likely to be opened and read than other types of alerts.
However, organizations must take care not to overload their audience with text alerts. Information overload is a new and very real challenge that many businesses face when they are inundated with messages, conversations, news or social media.
A mass notification system that has an SMS opt-in feature makes it easy for employees, as well as contractors and visitors, to sign up for temporary or long-term notifications. This way, critical information can be communicated during emergencies, but important information regarding visits or safety procedures can be sent to guests or community members, too.
They’re valuable in non-emergencies, too
Finding appropriate communication tools is a priority for remote workers since being out of office is something remote teams and managers may struggle with. While mass notifications are a powerful tool for emergencies, they come in handy for non-emergencies and everyday operations as well.
A mass notification system can provide newly remote employees with updates from the office, such as company-wide meetings or holiday office closures. It can also keep all employee training up to date and assist with onboarding new employees.
Furthermore, mass notifications allow entire organizations, whether remote or in-office, to build a sense of community and connection. This will be even more important in the future as the rate of remote work continues to rise.
Mass notifications are a necessity in your emergency communication plan
Is your business, school, agency or healthcare facility prepared for when disaster strikes? Do you have a reliable and secure communication system to protect your people? A mass notification system is not just a critical component in emergency response, it’s a necessity.
Rave Mobile Safety’s mass notification solutions are suited for and can be adapted to fit the needs of all sorts of organizations, from fire and police departments to universities to corporate offices.
Our mass notification solutions includes features such as:
- SMS opt-in for employees, visitors and community members
- A FedRAMP, SAFETY Act and FirstNet certified system, ensuring that your data is secure
- Training modes that allow organizations to run tabletop exercises and safety drills
- Anonymous text-to-tip tools to minimize crime and prevent threats from escalating
- Segmented alerts by location, role or other data
- And much more
Complete your crisis management plans and emergency response plans with Rave Mobile Safety. To learn more about what Rave’s mass notification system can do for your organization, or to learn about customizing your own communications solutions package, please schedule a demo with our team.