Business Continuity, Connectivity

The Right Communication and Collaboration Tools Enable Effective Work-from-Home Strategies

April 2020
Remote Collaboration Blog Photo
By Raj Multani

Stay-at-home orders have organizations racing to implement work-from-home technologies and policies to enable continued operations. Communication and collaboration platforms play a key role in that effort.

Employees need the ability to communicate, conduct meetings and share information as they would at the office. With voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, and file-sharing capabilities, teams can maintain high levels of engagement while working remotely.

Trouble is, not all communication and collaboration platforms are created equal. If the various tools aren’t tightly integrated, users can’t move seamlessly from one communication channel to another. Setting up a video conference or voice call becomes a complex process that involves distributing access codes and PINs. When users are relying on technology tools as their primary means of communication, these inconveniences can sap productivity and hinder engagement.

That’s why it’s critical to think strategically when adopting a communication and collaboration solution. Unified communications (UC) platforms integrate enterprise-class features and call control capabilities to streamline communication and collaboration. The right platform will not only meet the immediate need to support work-from-home requirements but deliver business-enabling benefits well into future.

Remote Work Trends

The trend toward remote work arrangements was well under way before the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent survey by IWG, 83 percent of organizations said they have implemented a remote work policy or plan to do so. An earlier IWG study found that more than two-thirds of professionals worldwide now work away from the office at least once every week.

UC platforms — particularly cloud-based, UC-as-a-Service solutions, support and enable remote work arrangements. They also deliver other proven benefits, including increased productivity, improved decision-making, enhanced customer service and greater innovation. Not surprisingly, industry analysts expect the market for UC-as-a-Service solutions to see a compound annual growth rate of more than 25 percent through 2024.

By implementing an enterprise-class platform, organizations reduce the risk that employees will adopt “shadow IT” communication and collaboration tools without the approval of IT. Different departments and even individual users may use different cloud-based solutions, creating a fragmented environment that’s not conducive to effective engagement. It also creates risk — a recent survey conducted by Opinion Matters found that 38 percent of reported data breaches could be traced to employees’ use of unsanctioned collaboration tools.

Strategic Approach

A new report from Techaisle notes that organizations with mature communication and collaboration strategies focus on ease of use and a consistent user experience when selecting platforms. Employees should be able to access the features they need from any device, and easily connect with colleagues, customers and business partners in multiple locations. The platform should also incorporate security controls such as encrypted connections between locations and devices.

Best-in-class solutions, such as the Jive UC-as-a-Service platform, provide each user with a personal “meeting room” that can be launched with one click, and enable participants to join a meeting without entering a password or PIN. Customizable call routing, team-based call distribution, and time- and location-based call forwarding ensure that remote workers don’t miss incoming calls.

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting unprecedented pressure on organizations to implement work-from-home and collaboration strategies. Smart organizations are viewing remote communication collaboration as a long-term trend that can deliver significant benefits if approached strategically. Organizations should carefully evaluate UC-as-a-Service platforms and select an integrated, feature-rich solution that increases productivity and enhances employee engagement.

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