Troubleshooting human connections, unifying and securing the hybrid workplace
While many employers discovered in 2020 that having a remote workforce wasn’t the productivity disaster they had assumed, the hybrid or fully-remote working model does have its specific challenges. Ensuring that business processes continue effectively when employees are literally out of sight isn’t necessarily difficult; it just requires different tools and, perhaps, a slight change in mindset.
Working remote, full or part-time, brings challenges and advantages. Being at home means a better work-life balance, but it also requires a mental shift when work begins, and home life continues behind a closed home office door.
To adapt, both workers and employers need to face some new challenges, such as an increased need for proactive communication and working with team members across multiple time zones. Remote working also means greater cybersecurity risks as it involves many more uncontrolled environmental factors.
Several technologies help address these common pain points and ensure that leaders feel reassured that their teams are on track and employees don’t feel separated or remote from their colleagues. One of these technologies is cloud-based unified communications, that reduces the number of tools needed, by unifying team messaging, video conferencing and phone systems with only the need for an internet connection. It also provides a number of smart features and integrations to make employees’ work easier.
Live transcriptions of meetings and discussions are already available (with the right unified communications platform in the back end), and real-time translations are just on the horizon. There’s also the huge time-saver of meeting summary creation, allowing busy individuals access to what are effectively executive summaries of meetings they were unable to attend.
Esther Yoon, AVP of Product Marketing at RingCentral, speaking exclusively to Tech HQ, said AI plays a pivotal role in providing an immediate advantage that benefits business uptimes and helps streamline cost and connectivity concerns.
“AI is transforming our relationship with work ,” says Yoon. “It’s already going so much further than reducing workload burdens through automation, it’s also helping us be more thoughtful, aware, and intelligent with the people we work with.” The company uses machine learning in highly focused ways that are on-point for its goals of helping people communicate not only more clearly, but more effectively.
Securing the new, limitless work “perimeter”
As companies test the waters of hybrid and work-from-home models, they are also cautious about risk. Cybersecurity is a big issue, with attack surfaces larger on home networks than inside the workplace’s physical perimeter. “The transition that we’re seeing to working from home has contributed dramatically to the rise in successful ransomware attacks,” said Israel Barak, the chief information security officer at security firm Cybereason, speaking last year to The Guardian newspaper. “There are a lot more open doors to access networks now that employees are working remotely.”
The danger to people working from home may come from unsecured personal devices and venturing outside of corporate firewalls, where clicking on malicious phishing links becomes a corporate-wide threat.
The subsequential account compromise often leads to ransomware, leaving companies to closely examine multi-factor authentication (MFA) options and security posture within their communications stack.
Deep dive into business communications intelligence
There is always a transitory period with any change in business processes, be it as a result of strategy or other unexpected issues like working people forced to isolate for long periods. Part of the transition is changing leaders’ attitudes and helping decision-makers accept that difference does not necessarily equate to falling standards.
Therefore, communications platforms should be a source of as much data for team leaders as possible. The ability to dive into the information created by a comms platform should convince business leaders about their teams’ performance. Seeing key metrics well-presented and in business-sensitive contexts helps reassure and inform.
Esther said, “Data is incredibly powerful, especially if it’s powering your communications. RingCentral provides next-gen business analytics, available to any business leader. As a sales manager, you can see that your top performer is making 50% more outbound calls. Or let’s say you’re a small business owner: based on historical data, you can see that you miss a lot of calls at 8 am. Look at how many people are put on hold, look at how many calls are missed. There’s a tremendous amount of value enabled by this high level of granularity.”
RingCentral cloud phone app for easy, company-wide comms
The efficiencies and agility to pivot quickly afforded by RingCentral is what attracted supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners, who along with fellow retail brand John Lewis makes up the UK’s largest employee-owned organisation, with over 80,000 employee-partners.
With over a century of successful retail operations in the UK, Waitrose grew into a sprawling operations floor, with employees needing upwards of five or six electronic devices to carry out various tasks like taking inventory and scanning barcodes. But recently the chain consolidated all devices into a single handheld device. Yet some workers still carried around two phones: for work and personal use.
Waitrose management wanted to streamline all comms hardware for its colleagues. Hence the retailer introduced the RingCentral cloud phone app across all its employees’ multifunction devices. Now, all comms could go through just one device.
Almost immediately, staff began seeing efficiency benefits in operations and in customer service. And with interoperability top of mind, team managers said that communication became much smoother inter-departmentally.
Store-to-store contact has also improved tremendously, with partners no longer needing to find a landline to speak to another store. Instead, that’s now fully integrated into the single-use business device that every employee carries, one that’s equipped with features like the company directory, advanced calls forwarding and more.
In 2022, humans are connecting with one another in personal and work contexts in different ways. Maintaining and improving those connections between people (be they employee to employee or business to customer) is the goal of the advanced communications platform from RingCentral. This approach is good for business because it’s good for people at all levels of the organisation.
Get in touch with a representative to learn more about how your company can adapt to and gain all the advantages of a secure and business-sensitive communications strategy.
30 November 2022
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