Looking back a year ago, we shared how remote work programs have grown 159% over the last 10 years as employees had increasingly placed a priority on a good work/life balance, and how businesses were tapping into unified communications to enable remote work. While this statistic is still true and relevant, it’s probably safe to say that now, this percentage is significantly higher. The significant change in the workplace environment that was thrust on businesses unexpectedly has been shown to bear fruit, and some of the largest corporations in America, including Facebook, Twitter, Okta, and Box have released plans to make remote work permanent.
Even before society was thrown, ready or not, into remote work, we knew that the old way of thinking was no longer working. UC Today reported last year that:
✔️ 70% of professionals work remotely for at least one day each week.
✔️ 39% of people working from home complete their tasks faster than those in fixed workplaces.
✔️ 48% of remote workers say that working away from the office helps them to improve their motivation levels.
✔️ 30% of remote working employees said that telecommuting helped them to accomplish more in less time.
✔️Companies of all sizes report large reductions in operating costs when using remote working strategies.
Even if businesses were not thrown into remote work, ready or not, it’s safe to say we would have gotten there eventually anyway. The events of this year simply accelerated the already impending shift. Unified Communications enables remote work thanks to the built-in mobility. With features like voice calls, chat/instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, mobile applications, and business SMS, it is possible for your business to shift to remote work and work the same way you did in the office building.
5 Ways Unified Communications Enables Remote Work
Voice calls – The spoken word is the key method of how humans communicate. The most basic of business communications was responsible for turning local business into international conglomerates as the ability to instantly communicate across the state and country lines and even oceans. Even with the significant growth in email, chat, social media, and texting, voice will still be a pivotal part of a business communications toolkit. Cell phone usage has become the de facto way people communicate outside of work. How many people do you know who still have a separate landline home phone? Not many, I’m sure. With unified communications, either VoIP or PSTN based, features such as call forwarding and find me/follow me, your team can collaborate, even if they are away from their desks by using the features to send all phone calls to their cell phone.
Voice and Video Conferencing – In the office, you could all gather in person in a huddle room and easily collaborate on a combined project. With Unified Communications, you can still just as quickly facilitate collaboration on the same level. Audio conferencing, where each member of the group calls into a specific conference bridge or “room” enables these necessary collaborations and allows everyone to participate even if they are not in a location where using a video phone is feasible. Video conferencing has spiked in popularity over the recent months, and for good reason. A Viewsonic report found that only 7% of verbal interpretation is done through purely the words that are spoken, with the majority coming from visual cues, such as facial expressions and body language. These are missed during a phone conversation where the only messages that are able to be sent and received are those of the words and the tone of voice.
Mobile Applications – With the proliferation of cell phones into our everyday lives, many businesses like yours have considered or implemented a bring-your-own-device strategy, or BYOD. As a result, some businesses have begun to rely on mobile applications that turn a cell phone into an endpoint on their communications platform, essentially turning an employee’s cell phone into a “desk phone.” A mobile application will essentially turn your employee’s personal mobile device into an extension within your network, meaning that the same number you call to reach a desk phone (should they have one) can be used to reach their personal cell phone – without the need for your employees to share their private information with customers.
Instant Messaging – As we have said in previous posts, we shared how “Instant messaging makes asking questions and sharing ideas easy and instantaneous, and promotes more frequent communication between workers.” And this statement is still true, even more so today. But instant messaging was not easily available for communications between employees and consumers, as, in order to participate, all users had to be on the corporate network.
Business SMS or Texting With 90% of consumers preferring to communicate via text message than voice Business SMS or Texting (internal AND external communications with co-workers and customers) has become a critical part of all business communications. The reality is as the world becomes more digital, and users become increasingly comfortable with using mobile devices and text communications, businesses need to have the option to respond to customers’ questions with this ‘new-age’ communications tool.
Unified Communications is Essential to Successfully Work Remotely
In conclusion, for a business to truly be successful migrating to a full-time remote work strategy, Unified Communications is essential. As life slowly begins to return to normal, employees will want to take advantage of the ability to work from home, from the coffee shop, or even on the plane. By allowing them to work how, when, and where they want, you will create a work atmosphere that boosts productivity and employee engagement and reduces employee churn. With cloud-based Unified Communications, it is possible to have all of your disparate sites up and running within days. Learn more about how MIX Network’s UCFone and Unified Communications enables remote work for your business.