Now that hybrid and work-from-home environments have become commonplace, businesses are looking to maximize their remote employees’ productivity long-term. But among all of the different approaches, processes, and technologies available to help with this, one thing stands out: access to effective technology and appropriate collaborative solutions is the greatest factor in maintaining productivity. The ability to seamlessly collaborate, access tools and data, and even bond with colleagues are all named as top criteria for success in home-based environments.
A company’s business communications infrastructure has great bearing on its ability to support these virtual scenarios. Specifically, cloud-based unified communications platforms allow employees to access tools that put them in touch with their colleagues from anywhere with an internet connection. The ideal cloud-based platform will also integrate richly-functional video and pervasive chat functions, empowering the staff to not just communicate but also collaborate and mesh as a motivated team via a single interface.
Collaborative functions like screen sharing (ideally simultaneous screen sharing, so employees don’t have to pass control back and forth), “always on” virtual rooms, sidebar conversations, presence, and other capabilities give far-flung team members the ability to share work with nearly the same fluidity as colleagues who are working face to face (or cubicle to cubicle). Add in chat & SMS messaging, soft phone capabilities, and more, and it creates a comprehensive user experience where employees can work in the platform for extended periods and perform tasks without juggling multiple applications.
Since many of these new telecommuters still have part-time duties at the brick-and-mortar office, a superior cloud-based solution will also include mobility tools that allow team members the same access to messaging, chat, call forwarding, directory management, and other features as they switch from their homes to physical office spaces.
The ability to provide a more unified environment to these dispersed hybrid workers has tremendous benefits to the employee as well – which will serve to make them more satisfied and productive in their positions, no matter where they are situated.
We hear that many variables contribute to a workers’ ability to perform at their peak in work-from-home surroundings. For instance, an article asking business owners to assess their remote workers revealed that introverts seem to thrive better in isolated environments like home offices. In addition, employees were found to be more productive at home if they had access to quiet, private workspaces. This is compared to at-home workers who were subject to frequent interruptions from ambient noise or had to contend with family members working or learning in the same space.
In a survey from the major employment service Indeed, a majority of remote personnel said that a “flexible work environment has improved their work-life balance (75%), reduced stress (57%), reduced absences (56%), and improved morale (54%).” 40% of respondents claimed they would trade lower wages for the opportunity to telecommute. Judging by these results, not only does remote work make employees more content, it can also serve as a draw for companies looking to hire better talent culled from wider geographic areas, and at more reasonable salaries.
That said, the benefits to employees can be quickly undone without the right communication tools in place. Even as employees are more comfortable and engaged, if they’re not able to effectively communicate and collaborate, those gains are wasted. That’s where an effective cloud-based solution comes in: it gives team members the tools they need to stay effortlessly productive, whether they’re working from home or in the office.