How Unified Communications & Collaboration Makes Remote Working "Work"

Taher Behbehani, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, BroadSoft
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Taher Behbehani, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, BroadSoft

The U.S. mobile worker population is forecast to grow from 96.2 Mn in 2015 to 105.4 Mn by 2020, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). With millions of individuals entering the “mobile workforce”-many of whom spend more hours working remotely than they do at a physical office-businesses must adopt and deploy technologies and tools that enable individuals to remain productive and engaged from any location, using any device and at any time.

The good news for business decision makers is that unified communications & collaboration (UCC) technologies have evolved and matured significantly. From HD voice and video, to presence, chat, messaging, and team collaboration capabilities, UCC empowers organizations to not only enable a mobile, dispersed workforce, but maximize its productivity. It integrates a plethora of real-time, enterprise communication services tailored to the needs of each individual worker. There are several reasons why UCC makes remote working “work.”

Prevents Employee ‘Disengagement’

A study from Common Sense found that 72 percent of teens and 48 percent of adults feel the need to immediately respond to messages, posts, and notifications. Employers are facing the same need for immediacy among employees, who must manage a non-stop flow of communication and information across variety of devices and locations, which is all the more compounded for remote workers.

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With a dispersed workforce, employee engagement is a challenge. Standalone tools that connect workers to one another (i.e. - email, messaging, video) are not the same as an integrated experience that fosters meaningful team collaboration and engagement. This includes persistent team workspaces that individuals both inside and outside the organization can easily create, join and manage, or tools that allow for rapid exchange of ideas and content. UCC delivers this level of engagement for remote workers and teams.

Provides an Integrated UCC Experience

Think about today’s remote worker who must communicate and collaborate with colleagues, customers, and partners through a number of different applications. This means that a remote worker often spends as much time hopping from one app to the next and trying to keep all communication and information in sync as they do actually using the apps productively. Unless workers can access these applications through a single, unified interface, productivity will be negatively impacted.

UCC can provide the remote worker with an intuitive user experience that integrates and provides quick access to his/her preferred applications-along with the ability to communicate in real-time, access and share files, and have contextual information pertinent to the conversation at their fingertips. And it’s also good news for worker health; a 2009 Stanford University study demonstrated that chronic multitaskers were shown to have worse memories and shorter attention spans than light multitaskers.

Recognizes that Millennials Work Differently

A large component of building a collaborative workforce with remote workers is contingent upon understanding individuals and their work preferences. Millennials are now the largest generation in America according to Pew Research, and accordingly are one of the biggest drivers of change when it comes to business communications.

Digital communication is second nature to millennials, and they have come to expect the same instantaneous communication in the workplace that they enjoy in their personal lives. Despite their propensity for mobility, a study from Adobe found that millennials actually value interpersonal interaction over digital interaction at work. UCC breaks down barriers inherent to the dispersed workforce, and lends itself to millennials’ preference for collaboration.

Embraces Flexibility

Today’s remote worker wants the flexibility to use the applications, devices and services that fit into their style of work. And while businesses rightly establish parameters and uniformity to avoid the complexity of managing, supporting and securing dozens of disparate apps, building in flexibility is important as well.

UCC tools embrace the spirit of a remote workforce by facilitating easy, flexible integration among various communications and collaboration apps-not only those used internally but also through open APIs that offer integration with third party applications.

It’s a mobile first world, and workers of all types—not just road warriors and executives—rely on mobile unified communications & collaboration (UCC) to increase productivity and efficiency. The ability to let employees connect and collaborate from wherever they are, with whatever device they have at hand, has gone from an option to necessity for organizations that want to remain competitive.

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