High levels of workplace productivity are vital to keeping an organisation healthy and thriving. Swapping between different tools and apps to find ways to boost output is one, ‘quick fix’ approach. This, however, can be hindering, as employees have to learn new ways of working each time the next initiative is introduced. Additionally, these tools generally only focus on one issue each, meaning the list of ‘essential apps’ naturally grows and can become unwieldy.
A more permanent approach, tackling multiple issues in one go, is to introduce a whole new system. A phone system. By this we mean a Unified Communications (UC) phone system. The theory (and practice) goes, that by improving the technology available to communicate with, the work carried out will be dramatically improved. Productivity and efficiency gains are considered key benefits of UC.
What does Unified Communications (UC) mean?
Fully answering this question is a blog post in its own right! However, UC in a nutshell is the merging of all the tools needed to collect, store and communicate information into a single system or platform.
A comprehensive UC system should include voice and video calling, visual voicemail, click to dial and chat, as well as collaborative features such as presence, status and conferencing, integration with CRM tools, your cloud collaboration tools such as Office 365 and G Suite and much more.
How does UC increase productivity in the workplace?
Business tools working together in a complete system fairly obviously improve processes and routine tasks. There’s more to it than that however, with UC improving productivity in four main ways:
- Speed: Tasks can be performed more quickly by all the tools being integrated and located in one place.
- Efficiency: With in-built automation and shorter sequences, tasks should require less input from users to complete.
- Relationship Development: Colleagues are more readily able to communicate with one another, see when others are available and work together effectively.
- Multi-Tasking: Communicate in multiple different ways while working in the background.
How the features within UC lead to improved productivity
Each of the features within a Unified Communications system contribute to workplace productivity in their own way.
- Unified Messaging
Where all the communication tools are in a single system, this enables multi-tasking. By being able to click-to-dial, for example, while in the CRM system, the user has instantly saved time over having to load two separate programs.
- Instant Messaging/Chat
This drives relationship development and can be hugely beneficial when in an environment where colleagues can’t easily personally chat. Users are able to informally communicate quickly, yet the information remains within a company system, so is accessible for future reference.
This, of course, is the primary function of a phone system. However with a UC system, the scope of this expands. It can facilitate remote workers and enable teams to communicate more readily, all making the business more competitive and responsive.
Conferencing benefits can apply to both internal and external communications. It’s no longer necessary to pay to sign up to a separate web conferencing service. With the click of a button a relevant team member can be added in mid-conference to assist in the conversation.
- Video Calling and Desktop Sharing
Using video chat and being able to screen share can hugely reduce travel time and costs, make managing diaries much less complex and is also more environmentally friendly.
- Status Info and Calendar Integration
By every user having a status indicator it becomes instantly obvious who is available. This can make impromptu meetings more efficient to arrange, as well as reduce the need for scheduled regular meetings, which could hamper flexibility around booking external appointments.
UC phone systems can also use status indicators to intelligently apply call rules. It’s inefficient to route a call to users marked as ‘in a meeting’, as this could potentially be disturbing and also delay pickup for the incoming caller. Systems are usually also able to plan call routing based on job role, again increasing efficiencies of the right person/s receiving a call.
Many types of organisations no longer need all their employees in one fixed geographic location. To attract the best talent and bring in a wider pool of experience, less rigid workplace arrangements are starting to become more normal. Unified Communications supports this trend. Good UC systems will offer a powerful mobile app accompaniment to act as both a mobile dashboard and softphone, turning a mobile phone into an extension of an office phone, reducing wasted hours when on the move or working flexibly.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
By having a UC system, BYOD policies are even easier to implement. Organisations no longer need to provide a second ‘work’ phone, thus saving the expense of purchasing these devices. Employees also don’t have the inconvenience of carrying a second work device. The UC system is separate on the personal device, so it doesn’t interfere with personal usage and time. It can be switched off when not required.
Download our helpful poster displaying all these features at a glance for sharing around your organisation.
Unified Communications for your organisation
UC is a popular workplace productivity initiative to facilitate improved communication across organisations. Productivity can drive positivity within an organisation, which can in turn boost further productivity, creating a self-perpetuating loop. According to a survey of 3000 businesses by leading research company, Eastern Management Group*, 52% of businesses experienced an improvement in workplace productivity after implementing UC.
Productivity is a boost to most organisations; however the functionality alone can be a benefit to business. Workers experience increased speed and efficiency and form stronger relationships, all at a lower cost to business.
M-Tech will happily discuss the merits of upgrading your existing phone system to a UC system, based on your business requirements and future plans. Where relevant, we can arrange demos and detail what savings you could make. Talk to us today.
*Report: Unified Communications Productivity Analysis for Small Business, 2019 – https://easternmanagement.com/