The challenges that businesses face differ according to their sector, industry, and target customers. For all companies, though, ensuring employees are productive is a continuing concern. Poor communication is a significant barrier to productivity.
A major 2019 study found that 63 percent of employees were so frustrated with company communication they were ready to quit. As a result, improving communication is an avenue lots of firms are exploring. Many are looking to Unified Communications (UC) to streamline interactions. That means both interactions within their organization and with people outside.
How, though, can unified communications boost the productivity of your employees? Getting the answer to that question starts by understanding what Unified Communications means.
What Does Unified Communications (UC) Mean?
Unified Communications (UC) refers to the idea of integrating all business communication. Today, professionals use many different channels to interact with staff, colleagues, and customers. E-mail, phone, social media, and more are all a part of day-to-day business communication.
When each channel exists separately, it’s challenging to communicate efficiently. Conversations and information stay segmented, and things are hard to manage. UC solutions exist as an answer to that issue. They’re platforms that integrate diverse channels under one umbrella. Users can interact via all channels from one interface.
Many businesses are exploring UC as a way to cut costs and streamline communication. What, though, does that have to do with employee productivity? The answer is: possibly more than you think.
3 Ways UC Can Improve Employee Productivity
UC solutions put a range of features at employees’ fingertips. They also streamline overall communication, making processes quicker and simpler. Together, those advances can make a real difference to productivity. Here are three of the principal ways UC impacts employee output for the better:
1. Greater Mobility
One key feature of UC solutions is that they allow users to access them from anywhere. Your employees can log in and access e-mails, make calls, and more wherever they are. Greater mobility in your workforce is a recipe for improved productivity, especially during COVID-19.
Staff who still travel into work have the option of getting things done during their commute. That can have a profound impact on their productivity. More important, though, is how the greater mobility allowed by UC can remove commuting entirely.
With a modern UC platform, employees are more often able to work remotely. Such platforms allow workers access from any device, in any location. As such, your employees can cut out that unproductive time spent in the car or on the train.
The pandemic aside, remote working is popular with a growing sector of the population. Being able to work from home fits with people’s home and personal lives. As such, employees powered by UC to work remotely will be happier workers. Happier workers are proven to be more productive.
2. Improved Cross-Organizational Collaboration
One of the central premises of UC is the better integration of separate channels. UC solutions exist to unify e-mail, phone, and other applications. Having a single, integrated communication platform makes collaboration easier and more effective.
UC platforms give workers and departments many more ways to collaborate. Videoconferencing is a prime example. With UC, the conferences and virtual meetings you run will be more productive. Team members can take part in them from their workstations or even from home. What’s more, most UC solutions offer a raft of features to make meetings more efficient.
Screen-sharing and speedy document dissemination are two such features. They make it far easier for your staff to interact and collaborate on ongoing projects. Such cross-organizational collaboration is a silver bullet for productivity. Many significant studies have established the link between collaboration and high performance.
3. Quicker, More Effective Communication
Speed is often of the essence in business communication. That’s especially true of communication with current or prospective customers. For sales teams, responding quickly to an inquiry can be the difference between making a sale or not. With all channels (e-mail, Instant Messenger, etc.) on one platform, it’s easier to react to all inquiries.
The speed at which customer service agents respond to complaints is also critical. Consumers expect responses from brands to be quicker than ever. Via some channels, such as live chat or IM, customers want an instant reply. UC makes it simpler to meet those expectations. Agents can track all channels, switch between them, and respond quickly.
That ability to communicate at speed aids customer satisfaction. It also helps productivity as agents can deal with more queries in a shorter time. Aiding productivity further is the efficiency of interaction UC allows. With speedy access to all channels, agents can get the information they need instantly. Customers no longer have to hold for an answer or wait for an agent to call them back.
Improving Productivity—Why UC Is About More Than Cost Savings
Many businesses are embracing the concept of UC. Bringing all channels under one umbrella delivers a multitude of benefits. Alongside cost savings, UC solutions help boost employee productivity across the board.
One integrated platform makes it easier to collaborate across your organization. It opens up remote working possibilities for a broader range of staff. What’s more, it can trim customer response times significantly. All those benefits can combine to make a vast difference to your team’s productivity.
Sam O’Brien is the senior Website Optimization & User Experience manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a global UCaaS systems provider. O’Brien has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for Websites such as Hubspot and IT Toolbox.