In a globalized world, businesses live and die on the strength of their internal communications.
As business leaders around the world call for a return to the office, questions are being asked about the future of hybrid working. Businesses are looking to recapture the buzz of the office, to drive up productivity and encourage creative thinking. But the days of remote work are far from over. There’s no getting the genie back in the bottle.
Hybrid working offers myriad benefits, from improving agent experience, to saving on office space and bills. Removing the option for flexible working entirely would seriously damage your organization. Instead, you need to strike a balance.
A successful return to the office is defined by how you balance work from home with time in the office.
This balance hinges on how easily your employees are able to communicate. How convenient is it for your in-office employees to contact those out-of-office?
The key to striking this balance is Unified Communications (UC), which fully integrates your different communications channels and applications through a single, seamless interface.
In this blog, we discuss why the future of work is flexible. We go into detail on what a UC solution is, what it can offer your business, and why, moving forward, it will be indispensable.
Want to learn more about the long-term improving employee experience? Download Content Guru’s whitepaper, A Day in the Life: The CX Tech Helping Agents Beat Software Bloat to discover the power of Unified Communications.
Work from Home or Return to the Office?
The pandemic changed the way we work. And there’s no going back.
Still, many organizations are looking to recapture some of the pre-pandemic working culture. Return-to-office mandates are becoming increasingly common, with organizations from Amazon to Meta requiring that their employees return to the office for the majority of the working week.
Returning to the office has its benefits:
Having your organization in one location serves to build relationships. Employees can meet one another, develop meaningful relationships, and overcome problems together.
An office culture can build community. A sense of community inspires great work. Bringing teams together makes them stronger.
By giving space for employees to ask questions and learn from others, you create a dynamic training environment. Employees can be brought up to speed much faster than in an online space.
A single location makes providing support easier. Whether that’s technical or personal support, having easy access to your employees lets you solve problems quickly.
But this doesn’t mean that working from home is defunct:
Surrounded by the comforts of home, your employees benefit from improved well-being, leading to overall higher quality work.
Employees save money and time spent on commuting – you can afford to downsize the office. Not to mention the overall reduction in carbon emissions.
Flexible working is a powerful incentive, letting you effectively compete for top talent.
Both working from home and returning to the office have their benefits. What your business needs is a flexible working strategy. That is, a plan to balance office and home. And at the core of this strategy is your communications.
The Return to the Office Begins with Unified Communications
A Unified Communications (UC) solution is a cloud-based communications platform, which brings every channel of contact into a single, unified interface.
Multiple communications platforms can be integrated into the UC solution via API, allowing every channel of communication to be visible from within one, browser-based application. This has a number of key advantages:
Efficiency – Employees waste 32 business days a year switching between different communications apps. Some use as many as six different programs for internal communications every day. Bringing all those channels into one location creates new efficiencies.
Resilience – A UC solution takes advantage of cloud-based reliability. This means less downtime, and more reliable communication between employees.
Flexibility – Accessible from any internet-enabled device, accessing a UC solution is as simple as logging in via a browser. Whether at home or at the office, your entire organization gets consistent access to your entire communications estate.
A UC solution, then, is indispensable to your flexible working strategy. Here are just a couple of ways UC can enhance your return to the office.
UC Makes Flexible Working Possible
A UC solution delivers value in a host of different ways. No matter your policy on the return to the office, UC has something to offer.
Connect hybrid and office workers – UC is the bridge between home working and the return to the office. Office workers can instantly contact home workers and vice versa.
Omni-channel communications – UC brings all communications channels into a single interface. Whether instant message, voice and video call, screen and file sharing, all communications are accessible from within a single interface.
Unify front and back offices – UC allows back-office workers to interact with customer-facing employees. Complex customer inquiries can be resolved easily with access to back-office expertise.
Oversee your entire communications estate – A UC solution allows you to see the statuses of your entire organization, and to gain a detailed insight into their activity through custom reports.
Support employees from any location – A UC solution incorporates Workforce Engagement Management (WEM), incorporating intelligent scheduling and detailed analytics, letting you provide effective support, no matter where your employees are.
Once your UC solution is in place, you can start planning for your return to the office.
Planning for your Return to Office
A UC solution may be powerful, but it’s only the foundation for a successful return-to-office strategy. If you don’t have a concrete plan, you risk alienating and confusing employees, damaging relationships, and reducing the overall productivity of your organization.
Here’s what to recognize before you begin:
Both home and office have their advantages – sometimes working from home will be advantageous, but sometimes getting the whole team together in one location is a must. Identifying which moments require which strategies is important. Make sure your moments in the office matter.
Deliver real value – If your employees would rather work from home, give them reasons to come into the office. This could be as simple as team lunches or could involve nudging absent employees to return soon. If your office culture is toxic, mandating a return will only alienate employees and could drive up attrition.
Build for flexibility – Giving your employees choice is essential. People with accessibility needs, for instance, will probably always prefer to work from a space they can control. Appreciating what is in your power to change and what is not is a good rule of thumb for your return to office.
Of course, these rules mean very little if you can’t contact your employees conveniently and reliably. That’s why a UC solution is so essential.
Unified Communications with storm®
storm® UC™ is Content Guru’s Unified Communications platform. By integrating all your channels of communication in the cloud, storm UC makes flexible working easy. With instant disaster recovery, integrating reporting and analytics, and a library of hundreds of integrations, storm UC is tailor-made to support the communications needs of your organization as you make your return to the office.
Want to learn more about the long-term improving employee experience? Download Content Guru’s whitepaper, A Day in the Life: The CX Tech Helping Agents Beat Software Bloat, to discover the power of Unified Communications.