In just about every sector, employee work-life balance has changed dramatically in recent years. The typical routine of arriving to the office at 9 a.m. and leaving promptly at 5 p.m. still exists, but it's far from ubiquitous. Increasingly, employees are moving away from this rigid approach, and instead embracing a more flexible work schedule. In some cases, this simply means working hours beyond these boundaries. In others, it implies working remotely on either a partial or complete basis.
In the vast majority of cases, this development is extremely positive for companies. Employees who adopt such flexible work schedules are often more productive than their traditional-minded peers. However, in order for an organization to benefit from this trend, it needs to adopt the tools that can adequately support its personnel even when they are working unusual hours from outside the office. Unified communications is essential to any such effort. In a variety of ways, a flexible UC solution can accommodate today's always-connected employees. Here are just a few of the most noteworthy factors:
1. Communication at Any HourNaturally, extended hours are a hallmark of this new approach to employees' work-life balances. A recent ThinkingPhones survey found that 87 percent of employees believe that it's acceptable to contact coworkers and clients regarding work-related matters outside the typical 9 a.m.-5 p.m. business hours. If personnel feel that way, that's good news for business leaders, as they can expect their workers to be more responsive and productive.
That is why company decision-makers should invest in UC solutions that encourage and accommodate this anytime communication. Consider, for example, the issue of calls. While employees are clearly increasingly comfortable with receiving work-related calls outside typical work hours, they may not feel as enthusiastic about this trend if the calls are occurring on their personal devices and via their private phone numbers. A robust UC solution can resolve this dilemma by providing fixed mobile convergence services. With this capability, a worker can use his or her office phone number even when sending or receiving calls on a personal device.
In this and other ways, a high-quality, flexible UC solution can help to ensure that employees feel free to communicate with one another and with clients at any hour.
2. Productivity from AnywhereIn addition to introducing broader definitions regarding working hours, the new trend toward flexible productivity demands that employees have the ability to remain productive from any location.
Once again, UC tools are critical in this regard. Specifically, organizations should considering deploying cloud-based UC platforms to ensure employees can access corporate communication resources regardless of where they are. With cloud-based solutions, the only requirement for UC access is an Internet connection. An employee can leverage the firm's email system, voicemail, audio conferencing tools, and more when at home, at the airport, on a train, and so on. Such flexibility helps to guarantee that workers will be empowered to maximize their productivity independently.
3. Cutting CostsFinally, it's worth noting how comprehensive UC tools can cut costs in the context of always-connected workers. For one thing, there's the fact that many employees will rely on their own devices and Internet connections when leveraging the available tools, meaning that the company does not have to provide these resources.
More importantly, encouraging flexible work can allow an organization to cut down on its on-site expenses. For example, a business will require less office space and less equipment when some of its personnel work remotely. It can save money on rent and utilities, all without sacrificing workforce productivity. That's a win for everyone involved.