In today’s “new normal”, many businesses are allowing some or all employees to work from home. Some companies such as Facebook have even moved formerly in-office workers to remote work full time. This creates a need for new methods of communication, so that team productivity and collaboration can be maintained. Even prior to the massive work from home shift, maintaining communication between all departments and individuals within a company was vitally important for getting things done. Unified communications allow for seamless collaboration among team members. Read on to learn how businesses just like yours are utilizing unified communications and collaboration.
All data below comes from the 2020 I.T. Services Report.
Cloud services allow for ease of access to tools and information employees need to get their job done. If an application or information is hosted on the cloud, it can be accessed from nearly anywhere, including while working remotely. The year over year growth rate of hybrid technological environments from 2019 to 2020 was 44%. This indicates that while not all businesses are completely moving to the cloud, many are utilizing it for business operations, with some additional on-premise servers. These businesses are leveraging the advantages of the cloud – flexible, easy access for employees no matter their location. Whether on the road or working from home, employees can get their work done just as they would sitting behind their desk.
Web Conferencing Vendor Engagement
Web conferencing tools facilitate collaboration. Web collaboration can encompass web, social, and software tools that facilitate one-to-one or many-to-many employee and customer, real-time, internet-based communications. They can be accessed via phone, tablet, computer, or a smart watch. These tools are excellent solutions for meeting “face to face” when one or many individuals cannot meet in person, or are geographically dispersed.
In 2020, prior to the pandemic, the top two vendors for web conferencing tools among those surveyed was Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Skype for Business. However, this has likely changed some since businesses have adapted a new working style during the pandemic. For example, Microsoft Teams alone has had 75 million users per day in 2020.
Instant Messaging, Presence, and Group Chat
Instant messaging (IM) and group chats are a useful tool to communicate with quick questions or discussions, usually one on one, but sometimes in group settings as well. Presence refers to the fact that individuals can appear online, offline or “away” from their computers, so even when coworkers cannot physically see each other, they have an idea of their teammates’ availability. These tools can help support team collaboration even when all individuals are not in the same office space. Not surprisingly, Instant Messaging and Presence usage has increased by 11% since 2019.
The top two tools utilized by those surveyed in 2020 for IM and group chat are both Microsoft Tools – Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Skype for business.
Perhaps one of the technological tools for unified communications and collaboration that is most similar to meeting face to face is video conferencing. Those surveyed earlier this year have increased video conferencing usage by 14%. According to GetVoip, since the pandemic,78% of corporate companies now use video conferencing software.
Video conferencing allows employees and supervisors to connect even when they cannot meet face to face. From one on one meetings, to team huddles, to company-wide virtual happy hours, seeing some bright smiling faces allows the company as a whole to feel more connected.
Staying in Touch
In the modern business world, and especially since the pandemic, where so much is mobile and remote, having tools for unified communications and collaboration is essential. It allows for optimized productivity and flexibility, even in the face of adapting to a new way to work.