Written by Oliver Rowe
While remote and hybrid working practices were already on the rise pre-pandemic, the events of the past 18 months have permanently changed the working landscape.
Research carried out by Fusion Communications found over 52% of businesses plan to adopt hybrid working long term post-pandemic, and 35% feel remote working is their biggest communications challenge.
Therefore, it’s clear businesses must carefully consider their technology investments to ensure they are able to maintain the same levels of productivity, customer satisfaction and cost effectiveness whilst working remotely.
Productivity and remote working
Whilst they offer many advantages, hybrid and remote working can bring a host of new challenges for businesses. Impractical workspaces and unreliable connections or software at home are just two of the barriers to effective communication between employees and customers that can have an impact on overall productivity.
Business owners are also faced with reduced visibility and direct control over employee workflow. It is crucial to ensure effective communication solutions are in place to not only mitigate these potential issues, but also to enable employees to carry out their work from home to the same standard as when they are in the office.
The changing needs of businesses
As businesses adjust to new working patterns, technology has become more important than ever in providing employees with the vital tools and infrastructure they need to make the most of their time and maximise productivity.
A growing reliance on telecommunications and platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams means connectivity solutions must provide an experience that can transition smoothly between multiple devices and platforms, while empowering business owners with valuable, actionable insight through real-time dashboards, reports and analytics that further increase productivity and ultimately, profitability.
Advanced communications and productivity
A robust unified communications system allows crucial business operations such as video conferencing and file sharing to be streamlined to one central hub, reducing the drain on productivity from managing multiple platforms and apps.
Advanced communication tools also allow for improved collaboration and communication between teams, boosting productivity and creating a greater degree of mobility and flexibility for employees, as well as benefitting business owners by enabling increased visibility and control over employees who are working remotely. Business owners can have access to valuable insight showing when calls are being answered and by whom, as well as the ability to see how data is being used and if employees are working as they should be.
The events of the pandemic have demonstrated the need for businesses to be able to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances, and in the digital age where technology powers almost everything we do, unified communications allow for seamless integration of additional technologies and cloud-based applications according to the individual needs of an organisation and workforce.
IoT and the hybrid working model
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of business communications, an expansion no doubt accelerated by the events of the pandemic and the rise of remote working.
Research from Vodafone found that 84% of businesses that had adopted IoT technologies found they had a positive impact on their ability to function during the pandemic, by helping them prioritise, free up their employees’ time and redirect it towards high-value tasks.
IoT provides a solution for those whose roles involve contact with people and systems in the physical world, enabling them to work from anywhere without sacrificing their ability to carry out vital tasks.
Not only do IoT solutions enable businesses to stay connected with employees, customers and suppliers, but the ability to connect nearly anything to the internet increases the volume and quality of data that can be collected to help drive a more accurate and timely decision-making process.
With hybrid and remote working here to stay, and with plans already in place for BT to switch off its ageing PSTN and ISDN networks by 2025, it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure they have the right infrastructure in place to support effective communication and connectivity both in and out of the office, as communication technology continues to move into an entirely online space.
By investing in the right communication technologies, businesses can provide their employees with the ability to work flexibility without taking a hit to productivity or efficiency and, with the potential to gather enhanced data and analytics from these systems, business owners can maintain oversight even when working remotely.
About the author
Oliver Rowe is founder and CEO of Fusion Communications