The Future of Work Will Remain Flexible, but Keeping Employees Properly Connected is Key

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The past two years have changed the world, making a lasting imprint on every person around the globe. The one mainstay has been technology and the way it has empowered businesses to keep their employees safe and connected from anywhere while continuing to serve their own customers and communities during an incredibly challenging period.

Now, just as many companies have announced or even implemented their official return to office plans, COVID rates continue to fluctuate, leaving a question mark on what the future of work looks like. The truth is, the future of work can and will remain flexible and a hybrid environment will become table stakes in the new modern workplace. In fact, 73 percent of employees want flexible work options according to research by Microsoft.

Hybrid work structures offer many benefits to both employees and their employers. In a hybrid work environment, a workforce is able to achieve productivity by working in the environment that best suits the individual’s work style, whether in office or at home or a mix of the two. In fact, an IWG Global Workplace study found that 85% of business respondents reported that flexible working has made their business more productive.

Additional benefits include the ability to achieve a work-life balance by enabling fluidity between priorities at work and in one’s personal life, the ability to manage work-related stressors like commuting to the office and ultimately, increased employee satisfaction.

Proper Technology Implementation is Key

Employing a successful hybrid work strategy, though, has been one of the biggest challenges impacting leaders this year now that some employees have returned to the office and others remain remote. To ensure successful collaboration no matter where employees are physically located, while not losing culture, communication must be more deliberate and requires proper implementation of technology. Many businesses are turning to the following technologies to ensure communication is seamless in a hybrid world:

Unified Communications

Many businesses get caught in a cycle of using a variety of siloed apps, asking employees to toggle back and forth between those apps and creating a management nightmare for IT departments. Unified communications (UC), however, provides a single platform for key communications technologies like calling, messaging, video conferencing and faxing, while Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) enables enterprises to integrate all of these communications tools within a single platform via the cloud.

UCaaS is an important tool for businesses employing a hybrid approach as it allows for quick scalability as teams grow or change. Not only does UCaaS enable businesses to easily connect both onsite and remote employees, but it also allows for seamless connections with partners and customers. With a UCaaS solution in place, employees can easily access and share information no matter where they are or how they’re connected.

Video Calling

As it has become abundantly clear, video calling is another important enabler to effective communication among hybrid work environments. Video conferencing provides face-to-face context to conversations and reduces miscommunications that can happen over messaging or email. Additionally, video allows remote employees to build a rapport with their colleagues and feel close to onsite employees without having to travel to an office. And for employees that need to communicate with customers, recent Vonage research found that 43% of Americans are regularly video chatting with businesses.

APIs

Finally, application programming interfaces (APIs) provide businesses operating in a hybrid work environment the ability to create their own communications integrations to match their unique business requirements and embed them into the applications they are already using. APIs also make it easy for businesses to share data between communications applications and other important tools like a customer relationship management (CRM) or ecommerce platform to ensure all employees have access to key data points.

Hybrid Communication in Action

Headsets.com is a great example of a company that has successfully deployed a hybrid work environment. Customer experience is paramount for Headsets.com and the company understands that successful customer engagements begin by providing employees with communication tools for productivity and collaboration. But with a legacy, on-premise communication solution, until this year, employees were only able to make phone calls from their physical desk phones. That made operating in a remote or hybrid work environment impossible.

By implementing a UCaaS solution, employees were able to communicate and collaborate from anywhere, with intelligent call routing, the ability to make and receive calls from a cell phone, and messages and voicemails housed in a single location. This flexibility has allowed employees to communicate with customers, resolve issues and deliver enhanced customer experience no matter where they are.

With ever-evolving pandemic conditions and employee preferences, companies have the opportunity to reimagine what the future “office” will look like. Those that implement strategies and technologies that support a hybrid work environment will be best positioned to drive employee engagement and business outcomes.

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