COVID-19 has meant remote working has moved from being a niche requirement for a small subset of employees to a mainstream operational necessity. Most businesses have been investigating potential for remote access and connectivity while trying to find ways of reducing inefficiencies to maintain or grow profit margin while the economy struggles after lockdown.
But even before the pandemic, it had been noted that remote workers had notably higher job satisfaction than office-based staff. They are 48% more likely to rate their position as “10/10” for job satisfaction*.
Remote working is also recognised as a powerful tool for growing the geographical reach of a business or developing new ways of working, such as making use of short-term contractors or gig workers. A centralised communications platform allows businesses to quickly expand into new areas.
There are hundreds of tools available, designed to help a business communicate and collaborate more easily. But that can be a problem. The more systems businesses use, the more complicated and costly it becomes to manage IT and comms estates.
Most businesses will have already acquired several isolated technology solutions – CRM, phone system, finance, helpdesk, etc. – to deliver against the changing demands of customers and business processes. Historically, most businesses allocated just 20% of their IT budget for investment in new solutions to drive their business forward, while the other 80% was spent maintaining existing legacy platforms.
This problem is not restricted to mature businesses either. Agile start-ups that rely on software as a service (SaaS) subscriptions, cloud platforms and mobile apps can fall into the same trap very quickly.
Yes, they may have an application for most eventualities, but the cost of operating them all can quickly spiral. Consolidating and reducing the application estate will help to bring these costs back under control.
Here are our top 4 tips for using modern communications solutions to support your remote workforce and your profit margins:
1. Consolidate communications
Landlines, mobiles, phone systems, video, texts, chat, video, social media...there are thousands of apps and technologies that can connect your business to your clients. Look at consolidating and streamlining them all using unified communications to deliver a consistent service to customers no matter how they make contact.
2. Simplify collaboration
Empower your employees anywhere and everywhere by giving them tools that support collaborative working. The ability to share information and work on data together allows them to be more productive.
3. Think outside the office
The modern workforce is becoming more remote and you need reliable ways to stay connected with your team. Unified communications allows you to seamlessly communicate using the most appropriate channel at any given moment, no matter where you are working. It will also help you to meet employee demands for increased flexible working.
4. Free up IT budget for strategic projects
Take the opportunity to consider how much of your current IT spend is “dead money” propping up systems that frustrate your employees and limit productivity. What is the cumulative cost of IT spend and lost productivity? This will help you properly quantify the benefits of future investment in communications and collaboration tools.
Your business is facing fundamental challenges from both inside and outside the organisation. Staying competitive in this constantly evolving environment will require change or, more specifically, the ability to embrace and support regular change in line with shifting consumer demands and priorities. The backbone of any such system the ability to keep communication flowing wherever it is needed and to help your team to work more effectively.
If you wish to consolidate your communications apps to support remote working, promote productivity and increase profitability, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me.
You can also read more on this topic in our guide: Creating the modern workplace
* Work-life 3.0: Understanding how we’ll work next – PwC: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industry/entertainment-media/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/assets/pwc-consumer-intellgience-series-future-of-work-june-2016.pdf