In today’s globalised 24-hour world, workplaces are changing. The traditional 9am – 5pm work-day is becoming increasingly obsolete, with employees transitioning to a more flexible working pattern that suits their work-life balance.
Whether employees chose to work from home, or work varied hours whilst on the go, businesses must ensure their digital infrastructure is equipped for tomorrow’s workforce.
The ‘work from anywhere’ culture in the UK is fast becoming the norm in the UK. A recent study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) revealed that 96 per cent of workers in the UK that have the option of flexible working utilise this opportunity, whilst eight in ten would do so if made available to them.
When you consider that flexible working practices could save commuters £7.1 bilion, it is an attractive option for employees - as commuting costs and time spent travelling are reduced, However, flexible working not only benefits the employee’s lifestyle, it also has a significant impact on the UK economy as the study also revealed it could potentially add an extra £11.5 billion per year through the more productive use of available working hours.
The requirement to support this growing mobile enterprise workforce is increasingly being met by shifting from premise to cloud-based unified communications (UC). Deploying UC services via the cloud to any number of employees offers considerable advantages to businesses over premise-based UC solutions.
What is cloud-based UC?
Cloud-based UC is a hosted software solution that integrates enterprise communication services – such as voice, email, web and video conferencing, secure instant messenger (IM) and VoIP – bringing work teams closer together wherever they are in the world.
As the solution is based in the cloud mobile workers are empowered to instant message, check presence status, and easily initiate and participate in video meetings from any location at any time. While these capabilities are possible with a premise-based system, they come at a cost to IT and require regular hardware maintenance, eating into budgets and resources that could be put to better use elsewhere.
Further, with cloud-based UC, there’s no need to connect to the ‘work network’ to check emails or access calendars. This information is available at the touch of a button, ensuring that clients get the lighting quick turnaround they’re seeking, while underpinning a more efficient workforce all round.
For example, a salesperson may be about to start presenting to a number of key potential clients but he has forgotten a key statistic around the global uptake of his product in their marketplace. Rather than just gamble on the number – and without alerting those to the situation by making a phone call – he quickly instant messages a colleague through UC and receives the information in seconds. Panic over. Without access to a speedy IM app synced to the company’s network, he may not have received the information in time and could have lost out on the potential revenue.
As a company that has recently surpassed 750,000 mobile unified communications (UC) lines deployed globally, we understand the needs of an evolving and increasingly mobile workforce - and cloud-based UC meets these needs – delivering speedy and agile communications for enterprise employees.
Alongside supporting staff to work on the go, cloud-based UC also takes home-working to the next level. Gone are the days where workers are forced to set up conference lines in order to conceal that they’re on their smartphone, as opposed to the office line.
With a cloud-based UC solution, employees can dial out or receive calls to their work line, while actually using their mobile device in a remote location. This ensures that maintaining a professional image – or screening a mobile phone number – is easy, while also ensuring that employees still have access to their work phone calls wherever they are.
With workforces increasingly turning to flexible working, businesses are facing a challenge to ensure that they don’t face losses in creativity and collaboration due to blocked or delayed communication channels.
With features allowing staff to come together into virtualised ‘war rooms’ and send messages or share screens in quick succession, small groups can come together to collaborate on projects to achieve rapid results, no matter where they are.
This stimulates creativity and forward-thinking, enhancing business growth and improving services – super powering the potential of ambitious companies of all sizes.
Mike Wilkinson is VP of Market Offers at BroadSoft (opens in new tab).