Unified Communications: Five essentials in the hybrid workplace
As organisations continue to adapt post-pandemic, a new mode of work is emerging as the new normal — the hybrid workplace. While remote work has its advantages, many businesses are transforming their offices to cater to this shift. RingCentral APAC vice president sales, Peter Hughes, writes in an Article for IT Brief Australia that many organisations in Australia and New Zealand are developing their own hybrid workplaces, with offices now featuring shared spaces for greater flexibility.
This goes to show that the office will keep being relevant in the future of business operations. But why is that? Two words: Social connection.
According to a 2021 study by Mainstreet Insights, 70% of Australian workers are more likely to experience meaningful and regular social connection and community in their workplace.
With social connection more important than ever, unified communications (UC) — particularly Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) — have become a major point of strategy in ensuring remote workers stay connected.
So the question begs, what essentials should a UC platform have as organisations move forward with this new business model?
In his article, Peter Hughes lists these five must-haves:
The era of real-time communications has also created a flood of communications channels, creating a unique challenge within the moden workplace. A pre-pandemic study by RingCentral revealed that 69% of workers spend an hour just navigating between communication apps, which amounts to a whopping waste of 32 days every year. With the pandemic, that figure has likely swelled.
Integrating all apps into a single platform will allow workers to obtain simplicity and a sense of productivity with their tasks, which results to better business workflows. Additionally, integration prevents video fatigue; the simple option to switch off video and just connect through voice already brings a huge benefit to employees, and ultimately the whole business.
Last but not the least, integration casts a much wider net of transformative opportunities. Hughes said that a close integration of UCaaS with your CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) customer experience (CX) platform will bring more focus on improving CX and enable your remote or distributed contact centre agents connected with their colleagues and the rest of your business.
Organisations must now prepare their business functions to be pliable to a ‘work from anywhere’ paradigm. This entails an investment in technologies that support this, like SD-WAN, which increases application performance and user experience. 5G is also a game-changer in allowing employees to have greater mobility, meaning uninterrupted virtual meetings even as you move from different locations.
Due to the current blurred traditional boundaries of a corporate network, maintaining visibility in a hybrid workplace may become more challenging. To ensure that individual user experience for both your staff and customers remain positive, Hughes said it is crucial to invest in a platform that provides a consolidated, single point-of-view of your whole UC environment.
While video conferencing is an important facet of modern communications, mainly due to non-verbal cues, this is only complementary to a high-definition voice quality. As many remote workers can attest, nothing is more frustrating, exhausting and time-consuming than trying to piece together broken audio in a virtual meeting.
That being said, you do not need ultra expensive equipment to achieve good voice quality. Nowadays, there are noise-cancelling apps that do away with any background noise and echo to prevent distractions and boost productivity.
Inspiring employee autonomy is becoming more crucial within the hybrid mode of work. In this new normal, micromanagement is not going to work, which isn’t really effective in the first place. In his IT Brief Australia article, Hughes said that your unified communications solution must provide access to a management portal that allows users to make any moves, adds, changes and deletes (MACDs) on the system and instantly carries these out.
With rapid digitalisation in the workplace enviroment, flexibility and responsiveness become the name of the game for both users and businesses.
Unified Communications: Five essentials for a platform in the hybrid workplace
The large-scale shift to hybrid working has put an emphasis on unified communications, not just through the IT network but through the lens of management. These five essentials provide a way for employers to manage their communications in an agile and adaptive way — a strategy that can future-proof businesses in a world shaped by digitalisation and the need for real-time communications.