UC – Essential for Utilising Remote Working

The productivity and employee engagement benefits that remote working can bring to businesses can only be realised with strong unified communications (UC) tools in place. This is according to cloud UC specialist Outsourcery.

According to a new study by mobile network provider Vodafone, 75 per cent of companies worldwide have now introduced flexible working policies, enabling employees to vary their hours and working locations. Respondents believed that employee performance had increased as a result of flexible working, with 61 per cent saying that profits have increased and 83 per cent reporting improvements in productivity.

However, the productivity and efficiency benefits promised by remote working policies can be further enhanced by businesses that utilise UC tools, like Skype for Business. Skype for Business enables organisations to have employees working outside of the office yet still effectively collaborating with other colleagues, regardless of their location.

Jon Seddon, Head of Product at Outsourcery, commented: “As this survey found, businesses who enable their employees to work from multiple locations experience great benefits to their efficiency, employee satisfaction and industry reputation as positive places to work. With the rise of millennials in the workplace, remote working and flexible hours are becoming more commonplace and suitable systems need to be implemented in order to ensure the benefits are realised.

“The effective collaboration and teamwork between employees working remotely is one that an integrated UC tool can greatly benefit. With voice and video calls, instant messaging and conferencing all enabled in a UC solution, workers are contactable regardless of their location, ensuring the business still runs efficiently. The ease of contact that a UC solution brings can also address the concerns of some managers who would prefer their people to be in the office. Team collaboration can be maximised with easy conference call set up across video, voice and mobile devices with powerful screen and document sharing built in.

“In addition, features such as ‘presence’ that enable office based employees to see the ‘free / busy’ status of colleagues working remotely, mean that managers can maximise team engagement to ensure everybody is working productively. Modern UC products such as Skype for Business can record calls for customer facing employees, allowing performance to be measured from any location. Businesses are also able to manage contact centre staff in remote locations now that these features can be integrated.”

Seddon concluded: “Vodafone’s survey was telling, demonstrating how mainstream remote working practices are becoming for modern businesses. It’s clear though some businesses are still a little nervous about jumping into a remote working environment due to fears of performance loss. However, effective UC tools like Skype for Business can go a long way in promoting a strong collaborative and transparent culture, maximising teamwork between far-flung colleagues. In fact, any remote working programme is destined to fail in its goals without a robust UC system supporting it.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine