As telecommuting starts to be more and more time consuming, business owners have realized the advantages of allowing their team members to work from home. It’s also true that there can be downsides to this approach. Productivity might be lower, because of various temptations that could prevent a person from doing their job in a timely manner. However, for companies that choose to allow their staff to work from home, conference calls are a must, in order to stay connected and to make sure everybody is on the right track with their work progress.

Why conference calls? Because, like in real face-to-face meetings, there are situations when input from the team members is required, and all other members need to be able to hear it and to give feedback right on the spot. I work from home myself and I can tell you a conference call is better than an exchange of emails with everybody on cc. Of course written communication is also needed, just in case people forget what has been agreed during the meeting, but it can’t replace direct dialogue.

In order to organize a conference call, you need somebody to provide you with the service. I know Skype does provide the possibility to have voice calls with more than two parties involved, but video is not available unless you buy the premium subscription, which I don’t know the cost of off hand. Maybe it’s more convenient to go with companies that have in their offer pay-as-you-go plans or monthly minute plans. I haven’t studied the offers in detail, but I can tell you such services come pretty cheap, at only a few cents per minute. If you have to organize a conference with thousands of people at the same time, like a launch event or a business presentation, you can choose an operator assisted conference call. The operator will make sure all the technical details are in order. She will handle the call for you, so all you need to care about is focusing on your message.