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unified communications for small business

Unified communication holds the key for successful hybrid work

When the pandemic struck the world suddenly, many companies were forced into remote working. During this period, many businesses accidentally discovered the benefits of flexible working.

Now, even as many companies are planning to ask their staff to return to the office, many employees are reluctant to give up the benefits of remote working. Employees are willing to change their jobs or even settle for a lower salary in exchange for remote work. Consequently, organizations are trying to retain staff by offering a balance between remote and in-office through “hybrid work.”

Unified communication is the perfect solution for small and big companies that wants to adopt hybrid work model. It allows companies to connect all their employees, irrespective of their location and choice of device.

Unified communication ensures that all employees have the tools they need to collaborate effectively with team members, reducing the potential silos between in-office and remote teams. No wonder, investment in unified communications tools has skyrocketed over the last couple of years, with a projected value of $59.51 billion by 2027.

The future of hybrid work lies in implementing a unified communication system. Unified communication has the capacity to affect your businesses’ day-to-day operations, making it easier and more seamless for your employees to interact with each other, customers, and partners.

Why should businesses switch to unified communications?

1. Enables to work from anywhere

To make the hybrid model successful, companies must create an environment where the employees could log in from anywhere on their preferred devices like desktop or mobile devices and get to work. Unlike traditional on-premises communication tools, unified communications tools are essentially location-neutral. You don’t have to be in the office to make calls or have team meetings.

Unified communications provide a consistent working experience, whether you’re in the office or home. Since most of the unified communications are hosted on the cloud, they can deliver more uptime when compared with legacy solutions. Most of these tools will be hosted on top-tier data centers that can keep your data safe and secure.

2. Enhances employee engagement

Many organizations are relying on cloud-based audio/video calling tools to replace in-person interactions. In a hybrid organization, this type of dynamic, real-time participation is a must.

Unified communication provides more than just video conferencing capabilities. You can also call, chat, group chat, screen share, share files and host impromptu meetings from a single application. Unified communication not only increases productivity, it also boosts employee engagement, participation and collaboration.

3. Simplifies IT Management

In hybrid work setups it is important to keep your communication systems up to date. For on-premises applications, a lot of planning is needed for software, hardware upgrades. When you are managing many legacy applications, obtaining and renewing licenses for all the tools can be daunting.

But unified communication provides all end-users with instant access to new features as they become available. It provides flexibility and scalability and helps organizations to quickly respond to any changes.

4. Helps to control cost

Hybrid work is all about flexibility where employees use a device & location of their choice. Unified communication is device and location-agnostic. Unified communication tools can be accessed from anywhere from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone.

Unified communication also supports the “bring your own device” model which reduces upfront hardware costs and new investment in communication tools.

5. Provides portability

Unified communication provides the portability that hybrid work needs. Unified communication allows everyone on the team to be connected to the same cloud-based app, regardless of their location. Portability allows all employees to share data and information in real-time.

6. Improves productivity

Unified communication improves productivity by eliminating the need for multiple communications platforms or pieces of software.

With a single application as the central hub for all communications, you don’t need to keep switching between multiple tools for file sharing, group chatting, audio conferencing, screen sharing etc. It allows all employees to collaborate and communicate better, saving significant time and money in the process.

7. Reduces administration time

Unified communication eliminates the need for multiple applications. Fewer applications mean less time spent on managing the hardware and software. You will not need a huge IT team to manage your applications which will reduce labor costs for system administration.

8. Eliminates communication silos

One of the main issues with hybrid work is it creates communication silos as you end up using multiple applications to manage your remote workforce. When you create silos, information is lost and communication breaks down.

This can have an adverse effect on service delivery. Unified communication consolidates all communications so that everyone can connect through the same application. When all conversations happen in the same place there are no silos, and teams are aligned which improves service delivery and employee engagement.

9. Improves customer experience

Companies with the hybrid work model can leverage unified communication helps to deliver better service to your customers. Unified communication removes all the communication barriers and enables your dispersed teams to collaborate and solve customer problems and deliver better services.

Recalling the words of Richard Branson, “If you enable your employees with the right tools and create a healthy work environment, it will empower them to provide a better customer experience to your customers.”

10. Improves work-life balance

Unified communication is key for hybrid work success as it makes it easy to work from home, helps workers take more breaks, stay off social media during work hours and create reminders to keep them focused on deadlines.

11. Helps to deal with isolation

Remote work often results in isolation which is its biggest drawback. Companies that are serious about their employee wellness should provide unified communication that provides multiple options for communicating with co-workers in the office and at home.

Unified communication combines asynchronous channels, like email with synchronous such as video and voice calls. These tools are good proxies for being with others in person. So unified communication tools go a long way in countering the isolation that comes with remote work.

12. Improves collaboration

Unified communication enables employees to access documents wherever they are. This means work can be completed quickly without having to wait for it to be sent over email or chat.

Because there is no delay in exchanging documents for collaboration, productivity will be higher whether you work from the office or home. It also gives equal opportunity for all team members to contribute to the work at hand.

13. Makes communication efficient

Constantly exchanging emails back and forth to send and receive documents and other information takes up valuable time and reduces productivity. Unified communication makes information available instantly to anyone who needs it, eliminating the delay and needless back-and-forth communication.

Team members can also benefit from seamlessly switching between modes of communication, which makes the communication more efficient.

Conclusion

Irrespective of the size and geography of the company, unified communication is quickly becoming a necessity. Unified communication has already proved its worth to millions of companies worldwide. Some examples of unified communication include tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Clariti etc. Companies with hybrid work model have embraced all-in-one communications due to the proliferation of remote and hybrid work models.

Unified communication is not only good for emergencies such as pandemics but provides much-needed ability for organizations to maintain operations via the cloud even when the main facility is unavailable.

If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic in the recent past, it is the need for business continuity. Unified communication removes geographical barriers and increases productivity by allowing employees to work using any device from anywhere.

The future looks much different for businesses today than it did a year ago. According to various reports, 55% of employers expect their workforce to split their time between home and office. In future, the quality of workplaces will be judged by their flexibility. Unified communication combines all the tools employees need to collaborate, enhance workflow, and get their job done more efficiently.

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