Remote working solutions – what your business really needs
In times of uncertainty, the need for remote working tools has become glaringly obvious. In a rush to capitalise on this new, urgent interest, many video conferencing vendors are offering special deals such as 3-month free trials or temporary discounts.
In the rush to equip themselves for remote working, many businesses are making a strategic mistake; rather than simplifying operations for remote workers, they’re making things more complicated and escalating costs in the long run. By adopting technology platforms that serve isolated channels e.g. video, businesses will end up with lots of siloed products and – when the promotional periods are over – you’ll be spending far more than you need to.
You need much more than video calling
Video conferencing allows you to make and receive video calls and participate in online meetings. Some systems may also allow you to send text-based messages. Obviously, this functionality is useful for keeping in touch, but it’s also quite limited for business purposes.
The solution? Adopt a unified communications platform. UC systems provide video calling, and a lot more besides – users can access company documents and files from the same application, for instance. And they can collaborate with colleagues in real time on the same file, even as they work from different buildings.
Unified Communications allows you to recreate the office experience anywhere in the world. With properly configured profiles, your users’ settings and preferences follow them wherever they go – in the office, at home or on the road. Their office extension number is also available everywhere, including on their personal mobile.
A good Unified Communications tool will enhance oversight capabilities too. By automatically recording an audit trail of communications, calls and activities, managers can see who is doing what and identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies or the need for additional resources.
Not just for emergencies
Unified Communications are not merely a stop-gap measure for times of crisis. The ability to extend your workspace on the road, in the field or out to a remote worker’s home provides an opportunity to maintain productivity regardless of location or situation.
Hosted Unified Communications (those services hosted in the cloud) have the added benefit of fully flexible infrastructure. Billed on a per-seat basis, you can scale up to accommodate your entire workforce in times of emergency or during a seasonal boom. As demand falls, you can scale downwards again, ensuring you’re not paying for licenses and systems that aren’t being used.
You probably already have a collection of tools in place to do some of these jobs, but that’s actually the problem. By consolidating apps, your employees have access to key productivity tools in one place and gain access to more functionality. This not only helps to simplify their workload – research published by the American Psychological Association consistently shows that switching between tasks negatively affects productivity. So, by simplifying things, you get more out of people!
Consolidating communications also reduces the pressure on your IT team who have to support every user and tools remotely. And that’s before you factor in the licensing costs of each separate application.
In this challenging climate, channels such as video will prove invaluable and no doubt your firm will consider how this fits into your operational strategy long term. However, if you simply add more platforms to your existing toolset, you will not realise the full productivity and cost benefits of opting for an integrated Unified Communications system.
Learn more about the benefits of Unified Communications and how to meet future challenges in our free eGuide: Enabling a Remote Workforce.