At first glance, it's easy to see why business leaders resisted remote work strategies for such a long time. The idea of allowing employees to operate from home, coming into the office only occasionally or even rarely, naturally raised concerns in the minds of many managers and other decision-makers regarding worker productivity and accountability.
As flexible and remote work have become increasingly common, though, it's become clear that these fears were largely unwarranted. Rather than undermine worker performance, these strategies have allowed companies to see major improvements across the board, all while better accommodating employees' work preferences. To realize this possibility, however, it's essential for businesses to invest in high-quality unified communications solutions, as Business Day Live contributor Mark McCallum recently highlighted.
Remote BenefitsThe writer pointed out that one of the greatest advantages a flexible approach to remote work offers is the potential for greater creativity throughout the organization.
"In the company of tomorrow, people, technology and locations will come together to produce exciting, new opportunities," McCallum wrote. "It will encourage a culture of bottom-up innovation, flexible and location-independent working, and dynamic teams that use the best skills available, wherever they are located."
With the flexibility that remote work offers, employees can contribute to the company in ways that would be difficult otherwise. This approach naturally encourages a sense throughout the organization that people can and should communicate and collaborate with one another frequently, and such interaction is a natural breeding ground for new ideas. A more rigid corporation, on the contrary, will not be able to emphasize this kind of engagement and creativity.
At the same time, the writer asserted that enabling remote work has significant, positive benefits for the workers themselves. McCallum pointed to a study from Dell and Intel which found that 46 percent of employees who work from home feel less stressed than their office-bound counterparts.
Going further, remote work and the UC tools that can support such strategies are essential for accommodating employees' desire to work. The fact of the matter is that employees want to be able to remain productive outside the office, regardless of whether they operate remotely full-time, part-time or not at all.
A recent ThinkingPhones survey highlighted this new status quo. The study found that three-fifths of employees respond to business-related emails outside of the typical 9-to-5 workday. Additionally, 25 percent of survey respondents said they spend a minimum of 30 minutes beyond these traditional hours each day handling work-related issues on their mobile devices.
UC NeededThese figures clearly indicate that flexible approaches to work are increasingly becoming the standard. Employees presume they will have the ability to work outside the office easily and as needed, and business leaders expect their workers to take advantage of these opportunities. But they can only reasonably hold their personnel to such a standard if the company provides workers with the tools required to access corporate data, communicate easily with colleagues and contribute to group projects through a range of devices.
This makes a high-quality UC system essential. With UC, employees of all levels, regardless of their specific positions, can perform their work with the flexibility that today's businesses require. This enables businesses to seize all of the advantages highlighted above.
However, if workers do not have these types of resources available, they will either be unable to embrace flexible work strategies or, even worse, feel resentful of any perceived pressure they receive to remain productive outside the office. UC can make this type of work not only acceptable, but actually appealing. The lack of such solutions will instead create huge problems throughout the organization.