The year 2020 has seen a profound shift in when, where and how people are working. Organizations have adopted flexible working schedules, made up of employees who work either entirely from home or partially in the office.
In fact, a Gartner CFO survey earlier this year, found that 74 percent of businesses intend to shift at least 5 percent of their employees to remote work permanently after the pandemic. 25 percent of participants said they will move 10 percent of their workforce to remote working permanently and 4 percent plan to have about 50 percent shift to a remote workforce post-pandemic.
This new trend means it’s absolutely essential that employees now have the IT solutions that enable them to work from anywhere. Staff will be in and out of the office at random (or scheduled) times, working from various locations, and that means Ontario’s small and medium-sized businesses must improve their communication strategies.
Work is no longer refined to a specific desk. Companies must find a way to empower their employees to be effective from wherever they are working, with nothing more than the right device and an internet connection.
Many organizations, however, are still struggling to adapt their IT strategies to support this new normal. This leaves employees unable to collaborate effectively with their peers and others unable to efficiently talk to their clients - for example only being able to respond to client calls after checking their voicemail in the office.
If this sounds familiar to your business, then unified communications (UC) can help.
What is unified communications?
Unified communications is the unification of your company’s business processes with real-time communication tools such as instant messaging, VoIP and video conference, as well as non-real time communication tools such as email, integrated voicemail and SMS.
UC isn’t just one product. It’s the use of a range of products in one single platform, to provide your employees with a user interface and experience that is consistent, efficient and effective across multiple devices.
Unified communications has been specifically developed to break down silos between remote teams, ensuring that no matter where you work, or what device you work from, you can access systems that enable you to communicate, collaborate and work effectively with your peers and clients.
Common unified communication tools include:
- Instant messaging
- Team collaboration technologies
- Video conferencing
- File sharing
- Voice and video calling
- And much more!
How unified communications can benefit your business
The workforce is now digital. Water cooler chats take place in the form of instant messaging, company meetings take place through video conferencing software, client phone calls are performed using VoIP systems and files are shared securely using file sharing websites.
Many companies are using these technologies as individual solutions, but combining them all into one complete unified communications solution will ensure they are fully-integrated into your business processes.
That brings a range of benefits for your business, from cost savings, saved time, better collaboration, more efficient remote workers and much more. Here are just a few of the top ways a unified communications strategy will benefit your organization:
Hypermobility for your business
Unified communications support your employees, no matter where they are working from and what device they are using. All employees need is a mobile device and they can access important tools that allow them to communicate with their peers and securely share files they have been working on.
With employees now working in different locations, communication and collaboration tools have never been more important. Technologies such as video conferencing, instant messaging and VoIP phone services allow real-time interaction between team members, as well as between employees and clients.
Streamlined processes, from anywhere
Unified communication platforms provide real-time access to a variety of products from phone communications, instant messaging, video conferencing and data sharing. No matter where your employees are located, they will have immediate access to the tools they need and the further benefit of being able to seamlessly move between them. Empowering employees to communicate and collaborate in an instant, drives up productivity and optimizes your processes.
Better customer service
Customers demand good experiences with your business. They don’t care where your employees are working from or how they are doing their job, they just want to reach a particular person or department when they have a question. Unified communications means that even when employees are away from their physical desk, they are still available to customers on their mobile devices - no matter where they are.
Unified communication platforms use VoIP technology to integrate various communication platforms into one system and operate on the cloud. This is cheaper than traditional communication methods, and the effective use of digital communication will even help your business save money on travel costs for physical meetings.
Are you interested in learning more about unified communications and how it can be integrated into your current business processes? Contact OT Group today. Our team of Ontario-based technology experts would love to answer your questions.