Communication can conquer virtual team challenges

SMB Expert, Denise O'Berry, Advises Businesses on the Best Way to Maximize Productivity of Teams That Span Different Locations

BEAVERTON, Ore., Aug. 1, 2010 -- Whether a small business has employees in different offices or working from home, communication barriers are far more complex for those facing time and distance challenges in the absence of face-to-face contact. Fortunately, these obstacles are surmountable with the help of proper communication techniques. Small- to medium-sized business (SMB) expert, Denise O'Berry, provides her list of "Do's and Don'ts" to help educate small business managers on maximizing their staff regardless of geography. Small businesses can visit for O'Berry's advice and learn more about communicating with their employees.

"In this digital age, there are a variety of tools to help companies bridge time and distance, so that the virtual workforce can be just as productive as the traditional business office," said O'Berry, SMB blogger and author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success. "Communication is crucial for any business, especially one that has employees spread across different locations. Virtual teams need to tap into the simple tools that are easily accessible."

Dress Code: Pajamas

There is a definite trend in the tech-savvy work environment to trade in long commutes, and work remotely instead. Employers are offering the ability to work remotely and enjoy the comforts of home (e.g., flexible child care, working in casual clothes or enjoying less frantic mornings) as an incentive benefit. Flexible commuting policies also enable employers to draw from a larger pool of talent, regardless of proximity. The right tools, such as the telephone and email, are a great place to start to equip a virtual team, however it is how those tools are used that is important. For example, email is effective, but not as the only method of communication, especially if there is an issue that needs to be resolved quickly. The following is a glimpse of O'Berry's tips regarding how to maximize virtual teams:



  • Make sure everyone has an email address
  • Use email as the only form of communication
  • Create an intranet or online portal
  • Slap up a site that has no value
  • Conduct regular scheduled calls
  • Have one person dominate the call
  • Pair up team members on projects
  • Always pair up the same team members
  • Pick up the phone for pressing matters
  • Rely on voicemail for urgent issues.

This article addressing virtual teams is part of a series that Advanced American Telephones has planned to help small businesses communicate. Advanced American Telephones, which manufactures AT&T-branded home and office telephones under a license agreement with AT&T Intellectual Property, will be posting these resources on AT&T's site dedicated to SMBs (

It Starts with the Right Equipment

AT&T telephony products meet the needs of SMB customers across multiple industries, enabling advanced communication solutions that provide higher value than competing devices.

Synapse™ Business Phone System: Providing up to 50 extensions with easy installation and management, this system is scalable from one to 16 outside lines, expanding as the business grows, without adding unnecessary expenses. Plus, it offers the option to add accessory cordless handsets, so employees can enjoy mobility in larger work environments.

SynJ™ Extended Range Phone System: SMB employees work in a variety of places -- from small offices to large warehouses. The SynJ extendable range phone system provides cordless handset extensions, Push-to-Talk functionality, up to a half mile of extended range* (using DECT 6.0 repeaters) and mobile page and conferencing.

Cordless Headsets: It is easier than ever to go hands-free at work with AT&T's light and comfortable cordless headsets. Ultra-convenient with multiple wearing styles, these headsets allow employees the opportunity to multitask and go farther from the base than most headsets.

About Advanced American Telephones

Advanced American Telephones (AAT) designs, manufactures and distributes AT&T-branded telephone products in the United States and Canada under a brand license agreement with AT&T Intellectual Property II, L.P. AAT is owned by VTech Holdings Ltd. VTech is a widely recognized leader in corded and cordless telephones.

Synapse and SynJ are trademarks of Advanced American Telephones.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates - AT&T operating companies - are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest 3G network. AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse(SM) and AT&T|DIRECTV(SM) brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at and as part of an RSS feed at Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATTNews. Find us on Facebook at to discover more about our consumer and wireless services or at to discover more about our small business services.

© 2010 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. 3G service is not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other ATT-related marks shown here are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

*Open range test was performed by Wyle Laboratories, an independent commercial test facility. "Up to 980 feet" repeater range and "up to 500 feet" cordless headset range refers to the maximum open field range. Actual range may vary depending on intervening obstacles. Maximum operable range distances are based on all-indoor use.

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