The future of work is marked by organizations streamlining their work approach, from data management to communications platforms. With new, intelligent tools and a transformation in workplace culture, organizations today have unlimited potential for customization.
Customization enables technology to effectively serve the needs of an organization. In the last few months, work culture has changed drastically. In response to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, most organizations have agreed to work virtually.
This has highlighted the need for embracing virtual communication platforms and tools. Moreover, organizations that have previously adopted the future of work practices have an edge to sustain their operations and respond quickly to unprecedented situations like Covid-19.
Collaborative technologies are key to this transformation. They are helping to break down silos and developing a dynamic work culture where employees energetically collaborate. Effective collaboration has delivered spectacular results.
It has led teams to effectively meet their objectives, leverage technology, all while enjoying their work. Nonetheless, collaborating online can be challenging to achieve in any work environment, but it is true in a work from home environment.
Virtual communications platforms hold promise. They enable employees to communicate and collaborate effectively anytime and anywhere. Companies can hire top talent and not rely on co-located staff. Thus, organizations can significantly tap into a global talent base.
The Growth of Virtual Platforms
Along with the introduction of new technologies, there is a growth of virtual platforms. Tools for today and tomorrow, like Zoom, are offering one-touch simplicity, and other simple and useful features. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are using Zoom to reach out to their customers.
There is a 44% growth in the work from home working style in the last five years alone. Moreover, organizations are understanding that people don’t have to be in the office to make an impact. Virtual collaboration is helping people to have a good work-life balance as well as being productive.
Remote work will be the mainstream work method as there are plenty of virtual collaboration tools available today that will only get better. These tools have enabled employees to work with people from all around the world effortlessly and instantaneously.
Organizations are already using communication platform tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. to do everyday work. Microsoft Team is an excellent chat-based collaboration tool that enables remote teams to work together through a common space.
You can have a team chat, collaborate documents, and can be integrated with various other platforms like Skype, Yammer, SharePoint, etc. Google Meet has crossed 100 million daily active users and this number is only predicted to increase.
Both Microsoft Teams and Google Meet have witnessed 50 million downloads in May this year. Let’s also consider Facebook who has created Messenger Rooms with a group video chat feature where you can have up to 50 people in a video call even if they’re not Facebook users.
Challenges in Virtual Collaboration
Though online collaboration seems promising, it comes with its own set of challenges. It becomes very difficult to create a bond when employees are working remotely. Also, it is quite challenging to create a dialogue.
While face-to-face conversations helped in effective management, working virtually can create a lot of misunderstandings and distress. The most critical challenge for companies having global operations is scheduling meetings around time zone differences.
According to a report from TINYpulse, you’re likely to have a lower happiness score if you’re working in a time zone different than your coworkers. Moreover, employees who worked in the same time zone also reported lower happiness scores.
Employees with the highest happiness scores performed with teams that didn’t work in a single time zone at all. While there could be several reasons for this, one reason could be that having co-workers across different geographies removes the “us versus them” thought process.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report states that workers find virtual collaboration more mentally challenging. However, it also states that as the pandemic eases and people return to their usual at-office work environment, it’ll be more challenging for people to adapt than it did before Covid-19.
Also, video meetings have caused overwork and more stress than writing emails. People have to focus continuously on the screen to stay engaged and withdraw actionable insights. Due to elevated levels of prolonged concentration, people feel exhausted in 30-40 mins of participating in a virtual meeting.
Virtual Teams Perform Better
Despite such challenges, studies have proved that virtual teams perform better than co-located teams. People working in a work from home environment believe they efficiently complete their work and are more productive as there are fewer distractions.
Moreover, when working virtually, you cannot just get up from your chair and go say something to your coworker, for example. Remote workers have to communicate more deliberately and carefully.
Virtual collaboration isn’t just beneficial for remote workers. Even in physical workplaces, employees are always busy with sales or client meetings. Some people have adopted flexible work practices and eliminated the 9-5 schedule. The variety of tech devices which are used to work today has also increased, enabling people to work anywhere and anytime.
Video technology has helped remote employees to feel like part of the activity. Chat tools like Slack, Yammer, HipChat, and Campfire have helped people to constantly communicate. Such tools can help remote workers to be a part of the team throughout the day, instead of dispersed moments.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
Cloud computing has been a transformative power in changing the workplace scenario by bringing in new ways of video conferencing and screen sharing. As there is a shift from cubicles to virtual collaboration, CXOs must ensure that people have access to streamlined tools that enable them to communicate easily and seamlessly.
This ensures productive and happy teams that result in better customer experience. That’s why most organizations are exploring the concept of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).
Unified communications have been around for years however, offering it as a service makes cohesive technology stack more accessible to the people. So, rather than creating a workable conferencing system with several platforms, companies can put together a collaborative communication system that can operate seamlessly in the all-in-one interface.
The flexibility of implementing a cloud-powered system that streamlines and unifies multiple collaborative communication platforms ensures you don’t spend on things you don’t use, but still get the benefits of a specialized management service.
Your employees can work on projects from anywhere. This flexibility will give you a competitive advantage. Sometimes, the ability to work anywhere and anytime is what the job requires. With UCaaS, organizations can eliminate the need to tie people to computers and deploy a unified communications system that’s as easy to use as a social media app.
Unified Communications as a Service offers global accessibility that ensures flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, especially on mobile devices, and expands your employee base massively while keeping your expenses low.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)
Happy and satisfied customers are important for running a successful business. In today’s unpredictable marketplace and cutthroat competition, one of the most rapidly growing and cost-effective methods to streamline and automate the customer service process is Contact center as-a-service (CCaaS).
CCaaS is a cloud-based contact center solution that enables organizations to provide exceptional customer experience through any medium. With so many points of contact channels available such as text, email, social media, etc. organizations need to manage them effectively to deliver truly differentiated and comprehensive customer service.
CCaaS allows organizations to incorporate the contact center technology with their existing systems or deploy a new contact center system altogether. It harnesses the power of the cloud to offer a holistic solution that includes everything from automatic call distribution to omnichannel capability.
The omni-channel capability provides a more engaged customer outreach that enables organizations to serve their customers better. Real-time supervision of calls can enhance the level of interaction and intelligent caller profiling makes sure that problems are resolved quickly.
Platforms such as Nice InContact, Dialpad, Vonage, etc. are helping organizations to improve the quality of the lead and reduce the cost of customer interaction through its cloud-based call center software. It offers workforce optimization capabilities, message lay-down dialing, call blending, auto-dialer for blended call centers, and call suppression.
Today’s world has several choices and hyper-educated consumers. To retain customers and grow your business, it is important to provide a world-class customer experience.
Virtual collaboration is important for organizations that aim to grow and succeed in today’s competitive business landscape. The evolving collaborative process brings together employees from every department and ensures they have better access to information.
With everything from discussion platforms to document sharing and to team calendars to screen sharing software, advanced technologies are providing significant improvements in the capability for organizations to collaborate across geographies and time zones.
However, effective deployment of virtual collaboration systems to boil down to having a remarkable team and providing them with the best tools available. As simple it may sound, it’s not an overnight process.
It’s a complex procedure and takes time and energy to hire the right talent, incorporate the right systems, and optimize your operations. Organizations might make mistakes in this process. However, every piece of effort and every drop of sweat counts!