Keep Workflows Moving While Traveling with these Productivity Tools

Traveling has a way of disrupting workflows for both employees on the road and colleagues awaiting their return. But thanks to new technologies that are allowing people to work from nearly anywhere in the world, it no longer has to be this way. Whether you’re sailing the Pacific or at a conference out of town, you can minimize disruptions to ensure tasks are completed and projects progress in your absence.

Here’s how:

Keep on top of emails

If you’re sneaking a glimpse of your work messages while out-of-office, you’re not alone. A Stasista study found that nearly half of U.S. workers check their emails at least occasionally while on vacation. Rather than giving into the temptation of opening that work mailbox, leave it to technology to ensure your messages are sorted.

We’ve all heard of auto replies, but artificial intelligence takes it further with intelligent virtual assistants. The Massachusetts-based software company Pega has created an email bot that sorts, triages, and answers emails. It utilizes artificial intelligence to respond to queries in natural, personalized language.

If you’re not keen on leaving your email duties to a robot, you can preemptively prepare for your return to office by setting up a filtering system and grouping emails into priority-based folders. When you return, you catch up on those unread missives in order of urgency.

Automatically reschedule missed calls

Having a cell phone can be both a blessing and a curse. While it’s a convenient way to remain connected to the world, it’s easy to feel tethered to it when you’re supposed to be enjoying an unplugged holiday. A recent survey found that 70% of Americans answer calls from clients or colleagues while on vacation.

Artificial intelligence is once again here to help during a time when a missed call can mean a missed opportunity.  When you miss a call from a new client, platforms such as Grasshopper will automatically send texts to the caller, letting them know you’re unavailable and giving them an option to reschedule the call. You can also use the software to have the call forwarded to a colleague or virtual receptionist.

Don’t miss a beat with CRM

More than half of American workers forfeit at least some of the vacation time they’re entitled to on any given year, research shows. Despite the many benefits of carving out personal time, some are hesitant to request PTO over fears of missing out or appearing dispensable. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions like Salesforce and can help employees in certain sectors remain productive, even when they’re away from the office. Sales teams can use them to automate tasks, generate leads and better manage the sales cycle. With the right CRM, you’ll hardly miss a beat.

Simplify scheduling

Scheduling meetings among colleagues and clients can be a challenge in the best of times, and can be even more chaotic during periods of high travel. Luckily, tools are available to simplify the process. Calendar management tools Calendly, Meetingbird, and HubSpot offer more visibility when penciling in meetings, and allow you to block out days to avoid being booked while away.

Internally, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Calendars are good options for blocking out vacation days while giving colleagues transparency into your work schedule. You can also block out space on your calendar on the day ahead of your vacation and on the day of your return, to focus on pre-vacation prepwork and post-vacation catchup.

Keep the contract process moving forward

Docusign eSignature has become an indispensable tool for modern professionals who can use it to send and sign documents on practically any device, from almost anywhere. You can keep contracts moving even when you’re out-of-office by delegating a colleague to sign on your behalf with delegated signing.

To do so, go into your Docusign settings and choose who you want to delegate and for how long. If an agreement comes through while you’re away, the delegate will receive the email to sign on your behalf, and can sign to keep the agreement process moving forward.

You can also reduce bottlenecks by giving a colleague permission to send and manage agreements on your behalf with shared access for eSignature. Shared access allows your colleague to draft, send and edit agreements, without the security risks of simply sharing your login.

Sign up for a free Docusign trial to learn more.

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