Earlier, our Kinetic Business by Windstream team told you about how mobile workers are on the rise. And, to get ahead of that curve, businesses will need to ensure that they’re giving their employees the tools they need to get the job done.
The key among them? Collaborative tools.
Collaboration’s Role in Today’s Business
Many would argue that business success hinges on whether employees can collaborate, or work together to achieve a common goal.
Seems pretty obvious, right? Besides the sense of camaraderie, collaboration allows businesses to tap into your employees’ strengths, find their hidden talents or areas of expertise, foster creativity and inspiration, and solve problems quickly.
But, how do you get the most out of collaboration? Technology — yes, email, messaging, video conferencing and other applications — can help accelerate business efficiency and productivity, according to a Harvard Business Review report. It’s even more so the case when those applications are cloud-based and accessible from anywhere on any device.
That’s starting to show as more companies are beginning to offer flexible work schedules and as others are starting to recognize that the workforce is slowly evolving in favor of the always-connected employee.
Yet, one study shows that about 80 percent of time at work is spent either in meetings, on the phone or responding to emails.
Consider Colin and Kayla, thirty-somethings at a mid-level, white-collar office. Colin pops into Kayla’s cubicle to relay a quick update about a project their teams are working on, but she’s not there. So, he sends an email or a text, unsure if she will actually receive the message before she even finishes her portion of the project. If she does, she’ll adjust as the team expects. But, if she doesn’t, she’ll have to redo much of the work, delaying the project and, ultimately, costing the company time and money.
Business collaboration tools improve the chances for success the first time. Colin would have seen when Kayla was available to collaborate and reached out via video conference, instant message or in person to update her on the project. In fact, greater efficiency is one of the main reasons businesses have adopted collaborative technologies, the Harvard Business Review survey found.
The Link to Communications
Research has found that collaborative groups “interact often, update one another, discuss issues openly, and convey all necessary information to one another and to people outside the group.”
And, there’s more to it than internal communications. Today’s businesses are on the clock when it comes to responding to customers or clients, and doing so can depend largely on new collaborative technologies.
Take, for example, a customer service representative who will need to know the status of a client’s upgrade or will need to send the customer along to someone else in sales. Collaborative communication tools can ensure that the service representative has access to the folks who can provide up-to-date and accurate information and can then relay it to the customer.
To work together cohesively, coworkers must be able to articulate what the goal is, how each team member will be contributing, what issues there may be and how to solve them. In short, collaboration doesn’t exist without communication.
Unified Communications and Collaboration
The good news is that most businesses may already have some of the tools to allow for collaboration. But those can always be better, especially with unified communications (UC).
In the early years of UC, providers just offered a communications solution, according to Gartner, but recently, they have delved into the collaboration market, blurring the lines between the two.
Today’s UC brings all business communications — such as cloud-based VoIP solutions, faxes, emails, chats, audio and video conferencing and more — under one roof. Unified communications and collaborations, then, merges orthodox and cutting-edge communication and collaboration technologies that today’s worker increasingly comes to rely upon.
That’s why many of the feature-rich unified communications platforms include the collaborative tools that you’re seeking. Take, for example, our award-winning OfficeSuite Cloud Voice solution. Of its hundreds of features, here are a select few that can help your employees work more cohesively:
- OfficeSuite HD Meeting® — This feature provides high-definition audio, video and web conferencing for up to 100 people on any of your devices. HD Meeting allows users to share any application, document, computer screen or blank pages for “virtual whiteboards” (enabling brainstorming and annotation) for real-time collaboration. Need a quick huddle with only a few coworkers? Split up participants in up to 50 different sessions and switch between them as needed. All conferences can be recorded, saved and made available for download for future reference, and each is protected through end-to-end encryption, giving users the utmost security.
- Company-wide chat and presence — Company-wide chat allows users to message an individual or group from any office location while using any device. Pair both chat and meeting functions with presence to instantly see who in your business is available.
- Third-party integrations — Enable your unified communications and collaboration tools within your most critical applications, including Salesforce, Google, Microsoft 365 and other customer relationship management software. Integration features will let you see who is calling, automate call logs and click-to-dial customers, among other things.
With these resources at hand, employees can cut down on time wasted trying to reach coworkers and easily share and work on documents simultaneously. Neither distance nor device matters!
In fact, companies that have used unified communications and collaboration tools have reported at least a 20 percent increase in employee productivity, and one study found that UC helps mitigate soft costs, such as the 1.5 hours an average employee spends each day looking for files and other information.
Ready to give your business this competitive advantage? Contact us to learn more about the benefits our unified communications and collaboration solution, OfficeSuite Cloud Voice, can bring to your business.