As companies begin to face the task of reopening their businesses after the COVID-19 lockdown, many will be looking for technology to help them transition their staff back to the physical workplace. Just as Unified Communications(UC) were instrumental in migrating to work-from-home environments, the same solutions will be indispensable for welcoming employees back to the office.
The Hybrid Approach: Connecting Virtual and Local Employees With UC
The flexible, ultra-scalable nature of cloud-based unified communications is particularly relevant as experts recommend a phased approach for returning staff to the office. UC can support both on-site and home-based workers, which is critical in a phased strategy.
In fact, hosted cloud communications platforms may even become more essential, since several industry pundits predict that a hybrid model utilizing both in-house and virtual workers will likely become the status quo going forward.
Here are some ways that UC offerings will support companies as they return to the marketplace and begin to bring workers back to their offices.
Accessible and Immediate Inter-office Communication
As employees re-enter public workplaces for the first time, there is bound to be apprehension. One of the first things experts are advocating is clear and accessible internal communication among employees. Business owners are encouraged to get frequent feedback from staff on how their transition is proceeding, and to provide easy ways for personnel to ask questions or voice concerns. Open, seamless communication will foster trust and help rebuild positive internal cultures.
Presence Management Across the Organization
With businesses bringing back workers in phases, there may be a period when employees aren’t entirely sure which of their colleagues are in the office and which are still at home. Advanced presence management tools will help during these stages, since it gives all personnel a view of who in the company is available at any given time, no matter where they are physically situated. Interactions will remain consistent, even if large groups of employees must change their locations over an extended timeframe.
Added Staffing & Scheduling Flexibility
Experts also suggest that businesses embrace more malleable work policies throughout the transition, such as “core hours,” a set period when employees can schedule in-person meetings to help limit physical proximity over the full course of the day. Other flexible procedures might include more lenient leave policies for those with existing conditions or at-risk family members. An effective UC solution can help employees navigate these shifting policies by keeping them as easily connected to the business from at home as they are in the office — while also granting businesses added flexibility in hiring and staffing on an ongoing basis, since remote employees can join the organization from anywhere in the country.
Omni-channel Communications Promote Seamless Interactions
The versatile set of tools offered by an effective Unified Communications solution enhance collaboration, especially in light of social distancing regulations that will still restrict physical contact for some time. UC solutions provide a range of services to choose from, including popular platforms like text messaging, video, chat, and social media, all from a single interface. These capabilities allow employees to collaborate swiftly and effectively, whether six feet apart or across an ocean, and through the media channels they are most comfortable with — both in and out of the office.
With businesses driving towards re-opening, the rich features and flexibility of UC can help to keep them viable as they move back into the office and the market moves through this crisis. UC technology has been well-recognized for helping people collaborate safely and productively, and helps re-establish a sense of normalcy and well-being, which is of paramount importance during these unsettling times. Simply put, UC is an essential resource for any business that is now working on plans to safely bring team members back to the familiarity of the office setting.
Get the Facts About Offering Cloud Communications
No matter what the business landscape looks like coming out of COVID-19 — whether teams move back into the office, embrace working from home, or move towards a hybrid environment — it’s clear that cloud communications are going to play a key role. While exciting, that means an adjustment period for many businesses, which means the trusted advisor continues to be an essential one.