Mobilising your Workforce From Home with Unified Communications
Unified Communications can help you move beyond the 9-5. As usual, modern technology and connectivity seems to be progressing at a faster pace than society, so flexible working has still yet to be adopted by the majority of businesses. This article will explore some of the ways unifying your communications can enable flexibility, mobility and a better work-life-balance among your workforce.
Now, we’ve got to preface this by saying that, for the vast majority of businesses, an office or physical location is still indispensable and will remain so for the foreseeable future. However, with all the benefits that Unified Communications bring to your workforce, we’re confident that the days of packing yourself into a train at the same time as hundreds of other commuters are numbered. So let’s go through a few of the traditional obstacles to flexible and remote working.
1. How do I know who’s available?
It’s understandable to be concerned about allowing people to work from home – after all, if you can’t physically see them at their desk, how can you be sure they are available for a call or chat? One of the keys to enabling remote working is the presence and status features included in our Unified Communications platform. Logging in in the morning automatically updates your presence so that everyone else across your organisation can see that you are available. This works on whatever device you’re using, and wherever you’re logging in from.
2. Will it be harder to work on a project with a colleague if they’re at home and I’m in the office?
There was a time not so long ago when this fact was inescapable; without being in the same room as someone, it’s simply not possible to collaborate effectively. With the advent of the cloud, remote collaboration technology has come on leaps and bounds. Of course, there’s the ubiquitous Office 365 for all of your documents, but that doesn’t quite fill the gap between your office and your colleague’s home. UC can plug that hole; give your staff webcams and they can video chat with colleagues in the office. Video chat a little too forced or formal? Well, there’s also voice chat, instant messaging, file sharing and screen sharing included in our UC app. This guarantees that, no matter what you’re working on, you’ll always be able to get input from your co-workers and collaborate effectively on projects.
3. I’m worried about the amount of work people will get done from home.
You cynic. There have been several studies into flexible working hours, and they have almost universally found that flexible working policies give benefits like “an increase in productivity, profit-sales growth and organisational performance.” (section 4.2, page 14).
Your workers want to work. Leaving them unattended doesn’t mean the work stops – try to remember that they want the business to succeed every bit as much as you do. The best approach to flexible working is to implement a set of ‘core hours’ for your business; i.e. between 10am and 4pm everyone must be working, but outside of that it is left up to the workers to set their own hours. In the same study linked above, a public sector employee is quoted as saying:
“The positive side is he [my boss] knows that I’ve done everything I can with my family. I’ve come into work and I’m a bit more relaxed and he knows I can just get on with my work. When you come into work, you’re not stressed, thinking about your kids. ‘Oh what’s happening, this and that’, because you deal with most of that when you’re flexible, and then you come into work and you’re relaxed and you can get on with your work. So it gives you a better, positive, I think, outcome in the end”
Doesn’t that sound great? Flexible hours give workers much more autonomy than they’ve had previously, and that extension of trust from employers is rewarded by a happy, productive and relaxed workforce. Technology is only making it easier for employers to make that first leap from an ‘input-based’ to ‘output-based’ mindset; it’s not about the amount of hours you put in, it’s about the amount of work you get out.
4. Won’t my home workers incur a lot of expensive call charges from their mobiles that will get charged back to me?
Working from home does mean an increased use of mobile phones, that’s undeniable. But with UC on your side, your home workers can simply install an app on their smartphone or desktop PC to replicate their desk phone. Our app gives huge benefits to businesses and home workers.
Firstly, there’s no need for your workers to take any hardware home with them – they can install the app on their smartphone and use it over their own WiFi connection.
Secondly, any numbers that ring to your workers’ desks will automatically route to the app, so their customers and colleagues can always get in touch.
Thirdly, and for your Accounts department, the most exciting benefit, is that all outbound calls placed from the app are routed via your UC or phone system, and not out of your workers’ mobiles. This means that you’ll pay no more for calls your workers make from home than you would from the office.
It’s pretty clear to us that flexible working improves morale, productivity and efficiency, while decreasing stress at the same time. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a UC system with Berry Technologies today and start moving towards a more flexible future.