The trend of working from home offices or remote locations has definitely been gaining speed over the past few decades. According to a recent Gallup poll, 37% of individuals work from a location outside of the corporate office at least once per week. This is a significant gain from the less than 10% two decades ago. If you consider the number of people that work solely from a home office, the number of remote workers jumps up to a staggering 50%. Given the increased momentum of the remote worker trend, cloud providers are taking a closer look at unified communications and collaboration tools to enhance the productivity of mobile workers and the businesses they serve. With the constant innovation and enhancement of the technology and applications available to the remote workforce, unified communications is paving the way for remote collaboration and productivity.
UC is More Cost Effective Than Ever Before
In the past, unified communications and the full range of features that fall under it’s umbrella were reserved for enterprises with a large IT budget and “think outside the box” decision makers. However, as more UC providers enter the market and collaboration tools become a mandatory business functions rather than a nice-to-have feature, the cost of deploying and managing a UC solution is within reach of even the smallest of companies. Remote workers are reaping the benefits of years of improvements to communication and collaboration tools.
Face-to-Face Collaboration from Anywhere
One of the biggest challenges with remote teams is the lack of personal interaction between members. But as the cost of unified communications comes down, the number of price competitive video collaboration tools continues to rise. In years past, the only way a company could truly leverage a video conferencing solution was to invest thousands of dollars into large telepresence systems. As with the rest of UC, the latest options for video communication no longer require you to be connected to a particular room system to enjoy face-to-face communication. Instead, UC providers are shifting video platforms to accommodate mobile devices and internet browsers which opens the door to a more collaborative and easy to manage opportunity for remote workers.
Integrated Apps for Better Team Collaboration
Until a few years ago, email threads with multiple people and seemingly endless back and forth conversation were the norm in remote collaboration. We can all agree that while email certainly has a solid place in the world of business communications, it doesn’t effectively facilitate team collaboration. Take that a step further and think about the Word documents with endless versions for revisions or the painstaking process of saving files in various formats to accommodate for employees using older versions of a particular application. Apps like Google Drive, Box and Dropbox allow teams to collectively share files and collaborate on documents in real-time. Chat, IM&P and calendar sharing tools are also integrated into UC solutions, giving team members the ability to quickly engage with other members based on availability.
The future for unified communications and its effect on the remote workforce is guaranteed to bring about even more technological innovation and integration. As the cost of the technologies become more manageable across the board, it stands to reason that we will see a dramatic uptick in businesses of all sizes shifting from antiquated, disparate systems to a more unified way of working – even with teams scattered across the globe.