When work-from-anywhere became the primary mission, high-tech workers may have expected business as usual. A high-tech workforce is often distributed across multiple offices—or countries—and it’s not unusual for a quarter of employees to work from home. But the transition wasn’t as simple as it may have seemed at first.
While software and computing services companies were better prepared than most, they nevertheless wrestled with many of the same legacy communications issues that hampered firms in every other sector. These included inefficient or manual processes and difficulty communicating or collaborating with both internal or external stakeholders. Status checks on projects or business initiatives became a problem requiring lots of virtual check-ins—often over video.
Heading into summer, even highly successful tech companies juggled concerns about plummeting employee engagement and WFH (work from home) productivity. In RingCentral’s new eBook called Collaborative communications for the new high-tech workplace, we explore the way many high-tech organizations have addressed remote work challenges by rethinking their approach to communications platforms, team collaboration, and productivity.
An IDC study pinpoints the top communications issues1:
- 57.3% – Inefficient and/or manual processes
- 50.3% – Difficulty communicating and/or collaborating with internal colleagues
- 42.7% – Difficulty communicating and/or collaborating with external stakeholders
- 41.7% – Difficulty getting status (lack of visibility into processes)
A tangled legacy
Nearly every distributed organization has tried some form of IP-based communications for messaging, video, or phone. But, as companies looking to create a productive virtual workplace soon discovered, disparate communications and collaboration solutions often do not integrate with each other or with enterprise apps, plus it introduces IT headaches to manage more vendors.
These legacy tools, particularly on-premises solutions, have failed to fully engage or energize tech workers at a time when onsite collaboration is not a viable option. Tech-savvy workers tend to notice these things. Half of employees in the IDC study concede that difficulty communicating and collaborating with both colleagues and external stakeholders is a key issue for their business.
With all signs pointing to work-from-anywhere remaining the norm well into 2021, the new normal is a hybrid workplace. Of course, the hybrid work model is unwelcome news for on-premises PBX systems, which can’t begin to satisfy high-tech organizational requirements for collaborative communications.
Building a successful virtual workplace
Imagine if you were launching your tech career in 2020—or switching to a new company—how would you get to know your teammates, and how would you absorb the company culture? You’d participate in a lot of video conference meetings, but would you have a favorable impression?
One of the key lessons of 2020 is that a successful virtual workplace should become the digital equivalent of an open room, where everyone is accessible, enabling direct conversations between employees—no matter where they’re located or what communications device they’re using. And, just as you’d experience in an office, a communications platform must also offer private meeting rooms where collaboration can occur via messaging, video, and phone, with threaded discussions, file sharing, and workflow/task management.
With a solid communications platform in place, high-tech organizations are able to attain the most important benefits of collaboration. IDC’s Future of Work study identified real-time information as the leading benefit of collaboration, nudging out other advantages such as personal and group productivity gains, saving time, and feeling more informed and connected.
While those may sound like “soft” or possibly even intangible benefits, a recent study by Nemertes Research quantified average gains available to high-tech organizations that measure the business value of their communication and collaboration deployments. The results2 speak for themselves:
- $240,000 annual savings
- $399,188 revenue gain
- 23.8% productivity improvement
Engagement and organizational success
Teamwork matters to any organization, but global high-tech companies thrive with high group productivity and healthy employee engagement to drive innovation. A September ADP Global Workplace Study showed that workers on a team are 2.6 times more likely to be fully engaged. Interestingly, the same study showed that, compared to their office-based counterparts, an even higher percentage of remote workers consider themselves fully engaged.
How is that possible? A recent Gallup article3 said that “fully remote workers can have astoundingly high engagement when they have a good manager and organizational communication that helps them feel connected and supported.” In the work-from-anywhere era, the finding speaks to the importance of getting your entire distributed team on an integrated communications and collaboration platform.
Enabling your employees to communicate with co-workers or customers in a variety of modes, including message, video, and phone, not only improves productivity, it helps protect everyone’s wellbeing. That objective becomes possible with the deployment of a seamless, cloud-based unified communications platform, built to deliver an engaging experience for global high-tech workers who may opt to work-from-anywhere.
1 IDC: Future of Work, Worker Survey, December 2019
2 Nemertes Visual Communications and Collaboration: 2020-2021 Research Study, June 2020