Gone are the days when employees worked their full eight-hour shift at their office desks. In its place? Mobility and flexibility. In some businesses, employees can set their own hours. It’s becoming increasingly common for employees to come and go as they please — working wherever they are, using whatever device they have on hand.
And, there’s one tool in particular that can give your employees the mobility they want, while ensuring productivity.
Hosted VoIP and unified communications (UC).
What’s The Difference?
Let’s start with basics. VoIP, short for voice over Internet protocol, is telephony by Ethernet network rather than a T1 (copper) line.
Hosted VoIP services, then, are those in which the physical hardware — servers and the such — are housed or “hosted” by a service provider rather than at your business location. As an example, Kinetic Business by Windstream's solution, OfficeSuite Cloud Voice, uses geographically diverse and redundant data centers to provide VoIP services that are accessible to customers anywhere they are.
Unified communications as a service, then, is an evolution. It brings business communications — such as cloud-based VoIP solutions, faxes, emails, chats, web conferencing and more — onto one integrated platform and makes these communication tools accessible from anywhere on any device. While that seems all too easy, your employees will enjoy the streamlined interface that helps enhance working on the go. And you’ll enjoy the productivity and revenue gains that come along, too.
Mobility Is a Must
For those of you thinking that mobility at work is a new phenomenon, you would be mistaken. The premise of telecommuting first cropped up in the 1970s, though the term has changed in meaning over time to include remote workers and, later, working on the go.
The 2017 Virtual Vocations Year-End Report had a few telling statistics when it comes to modern telecommuting. The report found:
- 20 to 25 percent of the U.S. workforce telecommutes at least some of the time
- 80 to 90 percent of employees in the U.S. want to work from home, at least on a part-time basis
- There has been a 115 percent increase in regular remote work arrangements among non-self-employed professionals since 2005
Taking a closer look into those interested in telecommuting, a little more than two of every five care for either children or a family member in their homes. Among professionals wanting this option, nearly 75 percent think it will allow for more flexibility and control over their work schedules.
And, for those who currently hold telecommuting work arrangements, about three-quarters say they’ve had better quality of life, and about four of every five say they’ve saved money, the report found.
Those perks will also extend to employees, who may feel more satisfied with their jobs and perform more efficiently and effectively.
But, that responsibility falls to the business executive or IT leader, who is duty-bound to suss out the optimal mobile UC, introduce it to staff up and down the chain of command and integrate it with little loss in productivity, or healthy energy lost to frustration!
It’ll be more important as mobile offices are only expected to grow. In fact, IDC estimates that mobile workers will account for 72.3 percent of the American workforce by 2020.
The Perfect Pairing
Among the most vital work employees do is simply communicate. Employees and executives alike must be totally comfortable with, and have ready access to, primary communications systems.
The lifeblood of businesses, communications systems affect everything from placing orders or scheduling appointments to managing your business’s reputation. The Harvard Business Review found that about 80 percent of an employee’s time is spent in meetings, on the phone or responding to emails.
If there is a common denominator to thriving businesses across an economy, it’s communication systems, and the future of these in the age of data is cloud-based VoIP services and/or unified communications.
Mobile work using a unified communication as a service solution requires employees to have some sort of connection, including, but not limited to, mobile devices, cellular data or Wi-Fi.
Kinetic by Windstream’s OfficeSuite Cloud Voice is the award-winning hosted VoIP and unified communications solution that any business keen on digital transformation must consider. OfficeSuite Cloud Voice includes a simple online management tool that allows employees to select, handle and prioritize the features they need most in an intuitive menu interface anyone who has clicked “Systems Preferences” would find familiar.
For example, employee Kayla Johnson would be able to set up mobile twinning to receive calls on both her office and cell phones at the same time. Or, if she knows she will be in a client meeting at 2 p.m. but is expecting an important call, she can reroute calls to a co-worker and direct this from her desk computer or mobile device.
This is unified communications, the platform for the modern team member who’s meeting today’s business challenges here, there — anywhere. Take a look at these six OfficeSuite features perfect for your on-the-go employees.