How Technology Impacts Communication In Remote Environments

A few weeks ago, we featured a two-part series on telecommuting and how that option can open new opportunities for employers. We talked briefly about how the importance of communicating with telecommuters, but this week we wanted to take it further and share how IT developments make communication with remote workers easy, effective, and productive.

At EDGE, our corporate staff is entirely remote, working from locations in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Georgia and Illinois. We also work with clients and consultants spread across the country.

“In the 17-year history of EDGE, our focus has been on hiring the best and brightest from the banking industry, regardless of their physical location,” said Kevin Clark, EDGE president and CEO. “Yes, initially, it took more concentrated effort to work that way, but in the last few years, as new technologies have emerged, we work together daily as if we are all in the same location.”

Today, we want to highlight three of the communication avenues we use to work together:

Go To Meeting (

We use GoToMeeting to host online, real-time meetings. The web conferencing tool allows us to share visuals, from the host’s computer screen. We support the visual side with audio conferencing on voice over IP lines setup for each employee.

“We don’t have to travel to host a complete meeting. Between the audio discussion and what everyone can see on one screen, our meetings communicate effectively and cost little,” said Clark.

Microsoft Sharepoint

One challenge facing EDGE three years ago, was a comprehensive, consolidated way to store and share documents. Much of the document sharing was occurring via email, which left gaps in communication.

EDGE chose a Microsoft Sharepoint solution hosted by a third party. The site is secure, but accessible to corporate staff regardless of computer or physical location.

“This technology really revolutionized how we communicate shared documents and work together on projects,” said Joyce Lopez, chief operating officer. “If an employee’s PC goes down, we send out a new PC and our employees can access everything online and not miss a beat. We can work on documents together, without losing track of different versions, and we can access archived information quickly.”

EchoSign (

One issue recently addressed was the productivity time lost and communication gaps occurring during the contract signing process.  EDGE now uses EchoSign, an online service that provides access to electronic signatures, tracking, and storage, for contracts and other critical documents.

“EchoSign allows us to increase our efficiency with contracts and communicate more effectively with our consultants. Our turnaround time from offer to completed paperwork has decreased dramatically and our consultants have responded favorably,” said Larry Carter, EDGE staffing manager.

Those are just three highlighted technologies EDGE uses to communicate with our audiences, both internal and external. The one commonality is that these technologies allow EDGE to communicate and work with anyone, regardless of physical location.

But, some questions do remain - how does working remotely change an employee’s behavior? Or, how can I make sure employees are behaving in a way that is productive and positive for the organization?

Hire the right people. Because of the communication tools, such as the ones we just talked about, employees have the ability to communicate and work together, regardless of their physical location or time restrictions. When you hire professionals, with demonstrated track records or productivity, give them a mission, provide them with tools, and trust them, you will see productivity beyond what you could imagine.  

Give employees control over their environment. By utilizing telecommuting, we allow our employees to set the boundaries to balance their work and professional lives. Who knows an employee’s needs better than the employee himself? We hire the right people and they know their goals. The right combination produces behavior that delivers results to the organization.

If you have any questions about working with telecommuters or how EDGE can serve your organization, please contact us. We will take the time to talk through the challenges you are facing and possible solutions.





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