Employees Want To Work Remotely, Regardless of Whether Companies Can Support These Actions or Not
The proliferation of sophisticated IT services in the business world has driven numerous changes in the enterprise, including the fact that many companies are supporting a remote workforce. Now that decision-makers have greater access to cloud computing technologies and mobile platforms thanks to the consumerization of IT, they can implement more appreciated "next-generation" strategies, such as the ability to let individuals use personal smartphones and tablets to connect to the voice network, as well as allowing employees to use those same gadgets to collaborate from virtually any location.
Teleworking in general is becoming the norm for larger portions of the workforce, as many people do not even come into the office anymore, even though they used to do so on a regular basis. This is largely due to the fact that today's mobile endpoints can access the office phone system without a problem, meaning individuals who choose to work remotely are not necessarily disconnected from their colleagues.
A recent Kona study revealed that approximately 70 percent of employees said they would rather telecommute than work in the office every day. Yet this measurement varied between different demographics, as 81 percent of workers between the age of 35 and 44 agreed with the sentiment, while only 66 percent of those aged between 18 and 24 did so.
"Innovation, combined with the right leadership, processes and people allows businesses to be more adaptable to the needs of their teams, spurring a more productive environment – whether that's a traditional, virtual or hybrid work setting," said Scott DeFusco, vice president of product strategy and management for Kona at Deltek.
Yet as the need for remote connectivity rises, enterprise decision-makers will be charged with the responsibility of understanding and addressing the issues that usually come along with these initiatives. After all, if business phone systems cannot support access to individuals who work outside of the office on a regular basis, the entire workplace will experience a drop in productivity.
Tackling the Remote Workforce Needs
Interestingly, the study found that most people want to telecommute, even if they are not permitted to do so. In fact, the survey highlighted how 57 percent of employees believe the ability to work remotely sparks jealousy between employees, as many people who are forced to physically travel to the workplace every day want the added benefit of not having to do so.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the business world is not implementing the sophisticated technologies they need to support a remote workforce, as 64 percent of respondents classify email as an effective communication tool. While email can still be useful, there are more efficient platforms now at the enterprise's disposal, including cloud VoIP services and social platforms.
In addition to the improper use of technology, Kona noted that supporting ongoing connections between remote and office-bound employees is often difficult. Often, organizations claim that their inability to collect and share relevant information with employees throughout the organization is a challenge. Fortunately, there are remedies to these issues that businesses are likely already using, though they haven't put the tools in context with communication.
Cloud to the Rescue
Deploying the cloud in particular can be a highly effective way to improve collaboration. This was highlighted in a recent report by NTT Europe, which noted that enabling bring your own device and remote connectivity are often among the biggest cloud drivers.
"The results show CIOs are looking for cloud solutions suitable for the 'real world.' These solutions need to marry the old, existing, legacy systems with new applications. If CIOs are to organize their IT estates efficiently and to meet their cost and revenue objectives, getting this marriage right will be critical," said Damian Skendrovic, vice president of cloud services at NTT Europe.
Implementing a hosted PBX solution, for example, enables decision-makers to provide employees with anytime access to the voice network without compromising security or the ability to leverage legacy solutions. The hybrid cloud in particular allows firms to utilize both in-house solutions and cloud-based applications, creating a single, unified collaborative network without introducing interoperability issues or quality concerns.
As the mobile and cloud landscapes continue to mature and employees demand the ability to work remotely without experiencing any productivity loss, enterprises will be required to adapt and implement more sophisticated communication platforms. Whether this means deploying cloud phone systems or social network solutions will come down to an organization's specific objectives and demands. Decision-makers need to assess their current operations and intentions and build effective communication strategies with these parameters in mind if they want to keep the existing and future workforce engaged.