Let’s be honest, many UK businesses have been sceptical about the benefits and productivity with home-working. Many organisations have dipped their toes in the flexible work schedule without fully embracing and testing its viability. But we are where we are and its critical that Leaders adopt not just the tools but new behaviours.We are all part of a global stress-test on whether working from home actually works.Those who win at WFH will weather the storm and be prepared for recovery. Through necessity or choice, businesses have embraced a newfound flexibility, whether that’s employees working from home, dialling in from the road, or for teams with multi-national teams working from a different countries.
The benefits of remote working
Remote working can boost productivity: a two-year study from Stanford University discovered that ‘work-from-home employees work a true full-shift (or more) versus being late to the office or leaving early multiple times a week and found it less distracting and easier to concentrate at home.’
It can even help businesses to adapt in uncertain times and attract the best staff. A remote working strategy means businesses can hire the right employees regardless of location, as well as bringing together teams from around the world. For growing and large businesses, the chances are, staff may be located in different locations. Whether that’s two offices in the same city, or a series of branches across countries. With the right communications infrastructure, staff in New York can easily work alongside colleagues in London.
All of which sounds highly positive. However, this does mean that businesses are at the mercy of communications technology – because for remote workers and teams, it’s crucial that infrastructure works smoothly and seamlessly. But all too often, that isn’t the case.
Disparate tools create a disjointed experience
Having to use a mobile phone with no access to the desk-phone directory. Not being able to access internal email systems from home. Poor connectivity resulting in shaky, incoherent video conferences. All of these are examples of how outdated communications infrastructure can hold remote workers and disparate teams back from true efficiency, turning what should be a positive experience into a chore.
The problem tends to arise from businesses having updated their infrastructure piecemeal over the years – meaning they work well in isolation, but they’re not effective together. As a result, employees suffer from a disjointed experience. Numbers can’t easily be ported from device to device, services can’t be accessed efficiently from outside the office, and connectivity services aren’t reliable enough to support data-hungry applications like video.
Change is needed, if businesses are to keep embracing the benefits of remote working and get ready for future challenges. Fortunately, with the advent of Unified Communications (UC), an effective solution is here.
How Unified Communications can bring teams together
UC is a reliable infrastructure which enables businesses to integrate all of the ways they communicate, including voice, video and data. It’s easy to deploy and roll out to employees around the world, as well as being a cost-effective solution. And, crucially, it can help to facilitate remote working and communication between teams in different places.
For example, with a hosted phone system, staff can carry their number with them – even if they’re dialling in from a desktop in another location. UC solutions like Horizon Collaborate can give staff features such as instant messaging, presence and video conferencing, meaning they can stay in touch effectively regardless of where they’re working from. Finally, robust converged data and voice networks can make sure that tools like video conferencing always function as they should – helping teams to communicate, no matter where they’re based.
With such reliable infrastructure in place, businesses can count on their ability to communicate. In time, this means even more benefits, like reducing spend on different tools and platforms, and even minimising an organisation’s carbon footprint as a result. But most importantly of all, it can facilitate remote working and remote teams – helping businesses work effectively, attract the best talent, and get ready for our bounce back in the future, no matter where they are in the world.