Procurement · 24 February 2020

How to drive productivity through cloud communications

Attracting skilled workers is a key focus of any business looking to expand its talent pool and accelerate growth and revenue. However, attracting talent is easier said than done, with organisations needing to tout their benefits in the hopes of gaining a competitive edge in the recruitment market.

The ability to offer employee perks is of increasing value, as supported by a survey, which found 55% of candidates want “Work From Home” days (WFH) and 77% desire flexible hours. With an estimate that 50% of the UK workforce will work remotely by the end of 2020, effective means of communication should be at the forefront of every company’s objective when offering work-life balance options.

Yet, between instant messaging, video conferencing, text messages and the old fashioned telephone, a relatively simple task becomes a maze. With 1.3 million people now taking advantage of a ‘WFH’ option, how can businesses feel confident in their ability to offer these attractive benefits, without risking company productivity due to ineffective communication? 

How to help WFH employees stay productive

cloud communications.
No place like home: remote working is a growing trend.

It is often argued that those who work remotely are less productive than staff who are in the office.

However, a survey showed that 65% of people believed they would be more productive working from the comforts of their house. This is for many reasons, including fewer distractions, interruptions and the removal of a stressful or lengthy commute, which all help to increase activity output.

A key aspect to keeping productivity high is to ensure that all remote workers are still able to access and set up meetings, whether client-facing or internal, in a convenient, fast and hassle free-way.

While this may seem like an obvious point, when working with a remote team it’s important to make sure all potential channels of communication are available at any one time to avoid delayed responses and prolonged periods of decreased activity.

One way to ensure all team members stay connected is through a cloud-based communications platform, which has built-in flexibility that you may not achieve when using disparate services to communicate and collaborate.

Blurred lines…

Often, lines of communication within a company are disjointed, and frequently businesses have several platforms spread across departments. For example, some companies carry one form of software for instant messaging, a separate phone service and then a special video conferencing system, all employed to essentially facilitate the same task – communication.

With so many different systems in place, it becomes easy to waste time figuring out which system you need to join, and how – dial-in details, links, and pins – all adding confusion and causing delays.

Today, companies no longer need to deploy a number of separate systems to be able to communicate. Alternatives exist with everything in one single cloud‐based application, including voice, video, chat and more that can be easily accessed 24/7. This generates greater flexibility and maintains high levels of productivity.

Diversity across devices

Cloud communications.
Tech-heavy: today people possess more tech devices than ever before.

It’s estimated that by 2020 an individual will own on average six connected devices, between smartphones, laptops and tablets, so Flexi-workers will need to be reachable no matter where they are and no matter the device.

With the struggle for IT departments to keep up with the latest advancements in technology, there has been an ongoing trend for ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)’ in the workplace, with 52% of employers offering this as a work perk.

Regardless of whether you work remotely, or just bring your preferred device into the office, organisations will need a communication system with an agility that can work across several devices.

An individual’s personal preferences for communication and type of device they host meetings on should also be considered when promoting flexible work. Across the workforce, some staff may prefer chat only through a laptop, while others enjoy a video call from their phone so they can talk on the go, which creates an incredibly diverse network of potential communication lines.

For companies to drive effective communication and employee collaboration, utilising a cloud-based communication software may provide the best solution. By linking all operations, businesses can ensure continuity over every channel and a steady flow of information between teams.

The future of flexible working is NOW

Several industries are moving away from the rigidity of a 9-5 office job. Instead, there has been a steady move towards flexibility and transient styles of work that has been driven in part by the advancements in technology, communication needs, and our ‘have it all’ lifestyles that require greater freedom.

As we move into the new decade, organisations of all sizes must adapt with the times in order to attract new talent and ultimately thrive. Taking advantage of the cloud communication solutions available in the market can ensure your employees have the tools at hand is key to easy collaboration across the company and maximum productivity across teams.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Samuel Wilson is responsible for sales, operations and delivery globally for small business and eCommerce, as well as US mid-market, with an aim to accelerate growth and productivity in these markets. Based in London, he also manages 8x8’s strategic business initiatives and expansion into the UK and Europe. Wilson joined 8x8 from MobileIron where he was instrumental in taking the company public and part of the team that grew annual billings from $26 million to $200 million, including building and leading their eCommerce business. Prior to MobileIron, he spent 14 years in technology banking, both as an analyst covering communications and as an institutional investor. Wilson has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Seattle University and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

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