Let’s face it: it’s been a strange year and a half for us all. But it’s important to adjust to this new remote world and find as many positives as possible.
So, what’s the bright side?
The good thing about all of this is that communication is more unified than before. What this means is the divide between the in-person workforce and the remote one is smaller than it ever has been. It’s amazing how quickly businesses have been able to adapt to a largely remote cohort, and this is no exception.
But what exactly are unified communications? There’s a whole area of business dedicated to just such a concept. UCaaS, or “unified communications as a service”, is one of the hottest business trends right now, and it’s easy to see why.
This area is focused on closing that all-important gap between in-person and remote staff. In the spirit of this, UCaaS mainly involves products such as hardware for employees to take home, mobile apps for remote workers, and voice or video call services.
This article’s going to give you the low-down on how best to power remote productivity using unified communications. Read on to find out more.
1. Use unified communications to enhance flexibility
This is one of the hallmarks of unified communications and how they can improve your remote workforce’s productivity.
There are several types of remote workers, not just the ones made so by the pandemic. For example:
- Employees who travel for work
- Employees on long-term sick or parental leave
- Overseas employees
All these types of workers can benefit from unified communications. If everyone’s using the same software, it’s so much easier for your business to operate smoothly and remotely.
What’s more, unified communications enable your employees to have more flexibility in terms of the hours they work. Remote employees tend to spend less time at work because of the elimination of things like lunch breaks, commuting, and paperwork. When everything’s online, what’s the point?
That being said, it’s important to take breaks where possible to avoid the onset of virtual fatigue. Just because you can eat at your desk, doesn’t mean you should. Stay healthy, folks.
2. Use unified communications to make collaboration easier
Unified communications also makes collaborating with other employees a heck of a lot easier. If everyone’s using the same program to keep in touch, working together on projects is a breeze.
Here are some features of unified communications that benefit remote employee collaboration:
- Instant messaging
- Video chat
- Conference calling
- Shared documents
- Real-time document collaboration
Collaboration is one of the cornerstones of a successful business. It’s one of the areas hit hardest by the pandemic too. Remote working can be incredibly isolating in a lot of ways, so having a strong and unified collaboration process is key to driving remote productivity. Your employees are sure to thank you for it.
Not only this, but improved collaboration leads to better team task management. Having a unified communications strategy makes it much easier to assign tasks and check on employee progress. If you’ve got your sights set on a managerial position in the future, suggesting a unified communications approach is sure to earn you a lot of brownie points, so keep that in mind.
3. Use UC to promote better communication
This might be a very obvious-sounding point, but unified communication is a concept rather than a concrete process. Unified communications programs increase communication not only between employees but between staff and management as well.
Here’s an example. Your business uses specific software for conference calling. A unified feature (i.e. something that appears the same for everyone), such as a conference countdown timer, can iron out potential communication issues and keep the discussion moving.
There are a million other benefits to unified communications software, such as:
- Multi-functional messaging
- Integrated messaging and calling
- Interactive meetings i.e whiteboards, notes pages, slides, and spreadsheets
- Image sharing
- Video sharing
- Shared calendars and diaries
All of these can boost your remote productivity. At the end of the day, it’s about making sure every single one of your remote employees, wherever they are in the world, is on the same page and ready to work together.
4. Integrate unified communications into processes and platforms
This is one of the most pivotal ways unified communications can power remote productivity. Integration puts the unity into unified communications, because instead of having multiple types of software that each perform a different function, you can have one program that does it all.
This influences all the other areas mentioned so far: it makes remote working more flexible, improves communication between employees, and therefore makes collaboration simpler.
Integration can take many forms and isn’t always what you’d think it would be. For example, did you know that employees using their personal cell at work is a form of integration? We bet you didn’t.
It makes sense if you think about it. Letting your employees use their personal phones cuts down on the expense of providing a company phone with a whole new set of apps installed on it. Streamlining technology in this way definitely counts as integration and is something you should consider if you want to boost remote productivity.
Many remote workers handle social media and email accounts, so why not integrate those into your work platforms as well? The general idea is to fit as many processes and applications as possible into one compact software.
Integration can reduce the stress placed upon employees. Constantly switching between multiple platforms and devices can be confusing at best and a hindrance at worst, so having everything in one place makes the workload easier on your staff and reduces the likelihood of burnout. The result is improved productivity.
Ultimately, a unified communications approach to your remote working environment can make all the difference when it comes to boosting productivity.
This article has demonstrated the myriad of benefits that unifying your communications can provide: not only is it great for improving the collaborative aspects of your business, but it’s also a solid tool to improve employee motivation and general workplace happiness.
If you’re still unsure, look into it further or try it out for yourself to see the results of a unified approach firsthand.