By most measures, the pandemic-triggered shift to work-from-home operations has been a great success. In a variety of studies, business leaders say remote work has allowed them to increase productivity, control expenses, reduce absenteeism and recruit from a larger pool of talent.
Employees often tell a different story, however. While most say they enjoy the personal freedoms remote work enables, recent studies indicate they also are feeling increasingly disconnected from their work and colleagues.
In a September survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers, ResearchGate found that nearly 60 percent feel isolated, cut off and undervalued. About the same number said the lack of in-person information sharing with colleagues is limiting their ability to innovate and be creative. More than half said their employers need to improve collaboration tools and systems.
Breaking Old Habits
While organizations recognize the need for robust communication and collaboration solutions, they don’t always use them effectively. Ninety-five percent of business leaders surveyed by Workplace by Facebook said they understand the need for advanced collaboration tools, but only 56 percent use them. Instead, they tend to rely on familiar tools such email and text messages to communicate with their teams.
Modern unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions enable so much more than that. By tightly integrating several distinct communications technologies into a single platform that’s accessible from a multitude of devices, UCC makes remote work a far more collaborative experience.
Even basic telephone communications become much more versatile. UCC solutions seamlessly integrate landlines and mobile phones with shared access to contacts across both devices. Stay-at-home employees can use the company phone and conferencing systems as if they were in the office. Calls can be forwarded to the worker’s home or cell phone, or a PC-based softphone utilized to serve as the worker’s extension. Voice mail can be managed through an email client.
Advanced video and web conferencing features keep the remote workforce connected and engaged by bringing colleagues together for face-to-face communication. Easy-to-use conferencing solutions support spontaneous, ad-hoc meetings among dispersed teams, boosting productivity, cutting costs and enabling faster decisions.
The continued reliance on email for file-sharing is one of the chief collaboration mistakes companies make. When multiple recipients have the ability to make changes to a document, it can become nearly impossible to keep track of the correct version. In a Harris Interactive survey, 83 percent of employees said they waste time each day tracking, sharing or finding the correct version of a file.
Integrated file-sharing services embedded in UCC solutions simplify the process and improve workflows by ensuring that team members always have access to the right files at the right time. These services enable users to share big files easily, store them in the cloud, sync them across multiple devices, and collaborate on them in real time.
Screen-sharing capabilities also help remote workers remain connected. Rather than emailing documents, slideshows or large graphics to multiple recipients, they can be opened and shared with dozens of people on a variety of devices. Users can even maintain some confidentiality by choosing to share only portions of their screen.
Cerium has extensive experience designing and implementing robust communication and collaboration solutions for clients across a variety of industries. We work closely with industry partners such as Cisco, Avaya and Microsoft to build solutions that help remote workers remain connected, engaged and productive. Let us show you what we can do for your organization.