The modern workforce puts a premium on flexible working conditions, be it in hours, or location, or both. In fact, several studies asserted that employees who have flexible working conditions were both happier at work and less prone to burnout and psychological stress.
Traditionally, according to Harvard researcher and workspace expert Jennifer Magnolfi, people defined work by being in a physical space called the office. In the near future, however, companies might just get rid of work desks and replace it with an “office” in the cloud.
The desire to have greater mobility will shape the office of the future. Unified communication (UC) solutions will make this happen, where people can work when needed, regardless of location. UC refers to voice, video and data services that use software applications to improve business processes. It can mean video conferencing, unified messaging, smartphones, presence technologies and instant messaging.
With UC, employees will be able to perform their tasks online as much as they do in person. Here’s how:
Internet Telephony vs. Traditional Landlines
In the absence of better alternatives back then, offices had to use landlines for business calls and were willing to deal with the constant upkeep required to maintain them. In addition, traditional phone lines also tie employees to the office, making flexibility and mobility difficult.
Today, however, we have the option to use better tools that support dynamic business needs, such as cloud-based systems for calling. The service provider hosts, maintains and upgrades all of the PBX technology for businesses. You can set up and configure the system for your business, all from your computer. It’s in the cloud, so employees can use it even if they’re in different locations.
It allows small and medium-sized businesses to easily add new lines and provide quick access to new features. Users can quickly access the phone system features, even if they are in multiple locations, because their system is all on one platform.
An Office Suite in the Cloud
Hundreds of companies operate from different locations; and now, more than ever, the demand for cloud-based services is increasing. Remote work setup means team members should have the ability to collaborate through audio and video conference and cloud-based office suites.
Today, there are unified communication solutions that allow social collaboration, communication, sales and management tools for companies. Colleagues can be in different cities, but can collaborate on one document in real time.
Having an office suite in the cloud breaks down barriers and opens up collaboration with other staff members in different departments and locations. With unified communication, businesses can shift to Internet-based voice and data communication and allow employees to utilize real-time chat and voice call features for better collaboration.
Mobile Apps for Working on the Go
Unified communication solutions come with mobile apps that can work on any type of device. Users can access their data not only on their desktop computers, but also on their tablets and smartphones.
In fact, it’s entirely possible to work using mobile devices, especially now that faster networks like 4G and LTE are becoming widespread. Faster connections allow employees to run data-heavy applications and exchange large files easily, regardless of where each team member is located.
Real-time communication, even when working in varying locations, is essential in conducting key business processes with ease. Software-based unified communications enables employees to make use of all the information and capabilities they need from any device, anytime, anywhere.
This allows them to be just as productive at home or on the road as they are in the office.
Cloud Collaboration Platforms
Cloud collaboration platforms, such as Trello, Slack, Wrike and Bitrix24, allow companies to keep track of the productivity and workload of employees at a glance.
These cloud collaboration platforms add broad social networking capabilities to work processes in a business. They allow employees to exchange information and solve issues more efficiently by incorporating knowledge management into business processes.
For example, different generations prefer different ways to communicate. Older employees may prefer phone calls and conferencing, while millennials prefer chat and messaging above all others. These platforms allow employees to pick the kind of communication channel they are comfortable using.
The Office of the Future
For employees to feel comfortable with working remotely or at home (and for employers to feel comfortable with their ability to work remotely), employers must provide them with ways to connect to the office easily, whether by phone, email or video, regardless of the time or location.
Having a newer software-based approach allows companies to offer their remote employees all the communication channels they need, from VoIP to video to email and messaging. They can use any device to conduct work, and the company doesn’t need to invest in costly and complex hardware and infrastructure.