Note: The following is a combination of excerpts from our guide on productivity in the modern workplace. If you haven't checked it out yet, just click the link.
Workplace productivity relies on effective collaboration between employees. A team’s ability to delegate tasks, form established processes, and work together to make decisions is important to its success. By creating opportunities for open and frequent communication between employees, companies give their teams a better chance to succeed.
While the need for effective business collaboration isn’t a new concept, the ways in which we collaborate have changed. While phone and email are still popular, businesses are embracing different modes of communication like instant messaging (IM), video, and cloud-based task management applications. This allows employees to choose the most effective communication channel depending on context – for example: rather than sending an email to let your team know that you’ll be a few minutes late to a meeting, it’s easy enough to send an IM so they know ahead of time. The need for contextual communication has opened the door for new companies like Slack and Trello to offer software solutions that improve team communication and task management.
This has been a largely positive shift in the way teams collaborate, but it hasn’t come without its own set of side effects. Having access to a variety of communication channels has also led to information overload – because employees can be contacted in numerous ways, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything.
Communications company Dynamic Signal conducted a survey to dig into this a bit deeper, and found that over half of workers say they’re overwhelmed by the use of multiple platforms. Even more concerning is the fact that two-thirds of employees said they waste between 30-60 minutes per day looking for important information.
The result? A negative impact on the bottom line. 52% of surveyed senior level-executives said that ineffective communication had negative financial implications for their companies.
In recent years, cloud-based technology has helped to remove many of the traditional barriers associated with employee productivity and business collaboration. For example, we can now leverage cloud storage applications to collaborate on projects, make changes in real-time, and access shared resources regardless of where they are or what device they’re using. The ability to work together without being face-to-face allows for more flexibility and efficiency, which ultimately makes teams more productive.
As the above trends have emerged in business, communications providers have looked for ways to deliver value that go beyond the basic ability to make and receive phone calls. This initially led to the rise of IP telephony, which refers to the practice of running calls as packets of data over the internet as opposed to using traditional landlines. By utilizing VoIP, companies have been able to mitigate some of the traditionally expensive elements of telephony including usage charges, long distance costs, and monthly maintenance fees.
The focus has now shifted to providing communications solutions that cater to the way we work today. Cloud providers have built features that have allowed for more flexibility, mobility, and performance management. Because of that, the decision to switch to a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) model allows companies to not only impact the bottom line by saving on infrastructure – it’s a way to drive workplace productivity by improving business collaboration.
While facilitating open communication is a must, there is a point that employees can feel overwhelmed by the number of channels they need to monitor. It's important to provide different communication options based on context, but doing so indiscriminately can lead to information overload and lost productivity for workers.
UCaaS is a technology that focuses on integrating communication channels – companies that adopt this model connect voice, email, IM, and more using one application. The benefits of this are two-fold – employees no longer have to manage several communication channels, which can be a time-consuming and hinder business collaboration. Additionally, technology administrators only have to monitor and maintain the performance of one platform, which frees up their time too.
Today, meeting business goals requires employees to work effectively in teams. Companies who facilitate open communication and the free exchange of information between workers improve business collaboration, which gives them the best chance to achieve desired business outcomes.