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Unified Communications: Transforming the Way We Work

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Thanks to the nature of work in the digital age, there’s a good chance you’re reading this in your home office, at the airport or while working in your local coffee shop. As technology continues to untether us from the traditional desk and office, working remotely has become increasingly common. In fact, more than 50% of global employees now work outside of the office at least a few times a week, according to a survey conducted by Dell and Intel.

One potential challenge in this new paradigm is workplace communications. Businesses need tools that enable team members to collaborate as if they were in the same room, even if everyone is in a different location. The good news: Those tools are available. When a company deploys a unified communications (UC) solution, collaboration is easy, no matter where employees spend their days.

When all business communications capabilities are seamlessly integrated, it becomes easier to get urgent answers from distant co-workers, be more engaged in decision-making processes, and collaborate effortlessly. Here are four examples that show how UC shifts the traditional office collaboration paradigm:

Instant messaging. When the question is simple or there’s a pressing need for an answer, instant messaging can be a relief for dispersed teams. It’s like having your colleague within shouting distance, but without the shouting – or even the obligatory small talk. A quick message saves time and allows teams to keep projects moving forward.

Video and audio conferencing. While 57% of global employees in the survey noted earlier say they still prefer to hold face-to-face conversations, 60% of Millennials say better technology will make this need obsolete. That’s no surprise: Raised on FaceTime, younger employees are more comfortable with video conferencing. With UC, video and audio calls are embedded in the solution, so workers can transition easily from email to chat to video.

Desktop sharing. No matter where they’re working, every member of a team must be on the same page. With desktop sharing, web conferencing and collaboration software, they can be. Every meeting can be enhanced by presenting working documents, presentations, checklists and other materials. With such sharing baked into your communications technology, the speaker can show everyone their desktop or document with just a click, making conversations vastly more productive.

Mobility. A common challenge of the road warrior is the need to juggle multiple devices. To join a meeting or view a shared document, on-the-go workers often need to open their laptop while using their smartphone to dial into a conference line. A unified communications solution with mobility simplifies all that. Employees can tap into their workspace from their smartphone or tablet and easily join meetings and share documents with a single click.

The trend toward a more mobile, remote and tech-enabled workplace is likely to accelerate, especially now that Millennials make up the largest share of the workforce. This group embraces technology in a big way, and it’s a major factor in their employment choices. Forty-two percent say they’re likely to quit a job with substandard tech, and 82% say workplace tech influences their employment decisions, according to the Dell and Intel survey.

Yet surprisingly, most of today’s businesses aren’t prepared for this shift. Desktops and landlines are still more prevalent in today’s workplace than laptops and smartphones. This means businesses that embrace and deploy unified communications now will be more likely to attract and retain a tech-savvy workforce, giving them a distinct competitive advantage in their market.

Learn more about ShoreTel’s unified communications solutions.

 

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