Five Ways to Drive Up Productivity Through Collaboration

By Todd Carothers, EVP of Sales, Marketing and Product, CounterPath

“It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.” The words of this 80’s pop hit could be used to describe the quiet revolution that is transforming the workplace. While our jobs may look and feel as familiar as they did a decade ago, how and where we get that work done has changed. And this transformation is being driven by Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC).

Today, having the right tools to operate, communicate and stay connected are as critical for creating an engaged and empowered workforce as having the right company culture. We live in a digital age driven by consumer apps that allow us to juggle, organise and share our private lives, and we expect no less in the work environment. Here are five ways UCC can deliver that same joined-up experience and help power-up productivity:

1. Break down the office walls with anywhere communication

Staff who work from home or who travel regularly often experience poor communication firsthand. Not being plugged into the office network to share files, not sitting next to the hard-wired deskphone, and not having the ability to join ad-hoc face-to-face meetings, can make staying in contact and sharing work with the wider team a laborious and time-consuming exercise that is ultimately isolating.

UCC is changing that. As the name belies, UCC unifies office and remote workers with features like instant messaging, file sharing across any device, presence management and video conferencing. These dynamic communication methods are carried out in real-time, making it easy to communicate and keep workflows running smoothly regardless of work location.

2. Cut down on email interruptions with instant messaging

Communication is the key to a productive workforce, right? Well, that all depends on the type of technology we’re using. According to research, the average office worker receives 120 emails per day and sends 40*. Just checking, responding and tracking the threads of those emails can be a huge time-drain.

While email is still an effective means of communicating with clients and suppliers, it can be more effective to move internal team conversations to an instant messaging collaboration app; communicating in real time regardless of location, where the communication flows more like a digital conversation than a series of disjointed emails.

The added benefits include presence-checking – an easy way to see when colleagues are online; the ability to have direct and group conversations, and integration with existing platforms to allow file sharing across any device – a real productivity boost for companies that offer flexible working arrangements.

3. Keep apps and systems playing nicely

Seamless interaction and integration across all apps, systems and devices is essential for good user experience. But with so many disparate collaboration products being used in the office, the reality can be anything but seamless.

The key to creating a productive environment is interoperability. It’s essential for teams who work remotely or who are based in different locations. Being able to access and share files, share screens and launch video conferencing from any device simplifies collaboration and saves time.

With the plethora of new apps and services joining the marketplace, choosing a UCC solution that can work across other vendors and platforms, as well as up and down the technology stack, is more important than ever in this multi-vendor environment.

4. Don’t underestimate the power of UX

User experience is front and centre with UCC. A good UCC platform gives users an array of communications options at the tips of their fingers but if the flow between tools and the user interface is unintuitive or disjointed, the experience will no-doubt be a poor one. By using an end-to-end UCC platform, the full stack of features are housed within the same tool meaning users can move seamlessly from instant messaging to screen sharing or video call via a single, common interface across desktop, tablet and mobile. This seamless experience improves processes and increases productivity.

5. Move to the cloud for greater flexibility

Fixed-line telephony is fast becoming yesterday’s technology due to its inflexibility and geographical limitations. With more companies moving from hard-wired deskphones to cloud-based VoIP systems, workers are now reaping the benefits of being able to stay connected whilst travelling and working remotely.

By choosing the cloud, businesses can integrate new collaboration solutions with their existing on-premises infrastructure, allowing cost savings and easier integration for remote teams. Add to this the wide range of UCC features that compliment VoIP – video calling, screen sharing and secure file sharing – and organisations can quickly create an environment that increases productivity.

UCC offers any size and shape of company the ability to increase productivity by simplifying collaboration and streamlining workflows. In that sense, collaboration is less about the technology and more about getting work done with minimal friction and delay between systems, people and geographies.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine