Effective remote working requires strong UC tools


Opinion by Jon Seddon, Head of Product at Outsourcery

According to Jon Seddon, Head of Product at cloud UC specialist Outsourcery, the productivity and employee engagement benefits that remote working can bring to businesses can only be realised with strong unified communications (UC) tools in place.

His comments come after a new study by mobile network provider Vodafone showed that 75 per cent of companies worldwide have now introduced flexible working policies, enabling employees to vary their hours and working locations. Respondents believed that employee performance had increased as a result of flexible working, with 61 per cent saying that profits have increased and 83 per cent reporting improvements in productivity.

However, according to Jon Seddon, Head of Product at Outsourcery, the productivity and efficiency benefits promised by remote working policies can be further enhanced by businesses that utilise UC tools, like Skype for Business. Skype for Business enables organisations to have employees working outside of the office yet still effectively collaborating with other colleagues, regardless of their location.

“As this survey found, businesses who enable their employees to work from multiple locations experience great benefits to their efficiency, employee satisfaction and industry reputation as positive places to work. With the rise of millennials in the workplace, remote working and flexible hours are becoming more commonplace and suitable systems need to be implemented in order to ensure the benefits are realized,” says Seddon

He adds: “The effective collaboration and teamwork between employees working remotely is one that an integrated UC tool can greatly benefit. With voice and video calls, instant messaging and conferencing all enabled in a UC solution, workers are contactable regardless of their location, ensuring the business still runs efficiently. The ease of contact that a UC solution brings can also address the concerns of some managers who would prefer their people to be in the office. Team collaboration can be maximised with easy conference call set up across video, voice and mobile devices with powerful screen and document sharing built in.”

In addition, he says, features such as ‘presence’ that enable office based employees to see the ‘free / busy’ status of colleagues working remotely, mean that managers can maximise team engagement to ensure everybody is working productively. Modern UC products such as Skype for Business can record calls for customer facing employees, allowing performance to be measured from any location. Businesses are also able to manage contact centre staff in remote locations now that these features can be integrated.

Seddon concludes: “Vodafone’s survey was telling, demonstrating how mainstream remote working practices are becoming for modern businesses. It’s clear though some businesses are still a little nervous about jumping into a remote working environment due to fears of performance loss. However, effective UC tools like Skype for Business can go a long way in promoting a strong collaborative and transparent culture, maximising teamwork between far-flung colleagues. In fact, any remote working programme is destined to fail in its goals without a robust UC system supporting it.”

About Author

Gary Eastwood

Gary Eastwood has over 15 years of experience as a technology and business journalist and editor. He has held editorship positions on customer magazines for Microsoft, CSC, and EDF, as well as on B2B magazine Mobile Enterprise. He is the former Deputy Editor of Computer Business Review. In a freelance role, Gary has contributed numerous features and articles to a broad range of publications, including New Scientist, Computer Weekly, MIS, Marketing Week, Corporate Financier, Real Business, Wireless Business Review, and driven marketing communications projects for clients, such as Intel, the Confederation of British Industry, IBM, Logicalis, the Department of Trade & Innovation, and many others. Gary has written many white papers on a range of ITC subjects for Datamonitor. He is also an editorial photographer and business videographer, and has authored and ghost-written four books on photography. He is the Co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, which provides contract/customer magazines for a growing list of clients, and publishes the B2B magazine for business leaders, Strategist.