Motivational and self-help guru Brian Tracy has said that to succeed, it is necessary to “be clear about your goal, but flexible about the process of achieving it”. Indeed, these wise words are as applicable to organizations as they are to individuals. This is more true than ever in today’s business landscape where a flexible workplace is not just a profitable competitive advantage, but a basic requirement for long-term survival.
Below, we highlight three essential tools for a flexible workplace that every organization needs to thrive instead of struggle:
Cloud Phone Systems for a Flexible Workplace
A cloud phone system — also known as a VoIP phone system — is fundamentally designed to support a flexible workplace. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Employees can make and receive calls from anywhere using a smartphone (either their own or one supplied by the employer), a softphone (using a headset connected to their computer or laptop), or an IP phone (a special phone designed to be used with a cloud phone system).
- Organizations can rapidly and very cost-effectively add new lines/extensions to support new staff (including temporary/seasonal hires).
- When expanding into new locations or changing headquarters/stores/offices, there is no need to pay for new lines to be installed. Organizations simply unplug their IP phones at the old location and plug them in at the new location.
- During a power outage caused by a natural disaster or any other issue, organizations can forward calls to any number — or continue accessing the system via smartphone — until the issue is resolved and the power is restored.
- Since employees can be located anywhere, organizations have a much wider pool to recruit from — which is critically important in parts of the country where the battle for top talent is relentless and expensive.
Video Conferencing for a Flexible Workplace
Video conferencing is another flexible workplace tool that, due to the pandemic, has shifted from “nice-to-have” to “need-to-have”. Consider these numbers: the worldwide video conferencing market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 19% between 2020 and 2026, at which time it is expected to be worth a whopping $50 billion.
With this in mind, organizations need to realize that not all video conferencing tools are created equal. Some are assets — while others are liabilities. Organizations that want to enjoy the former vs. regret the latter should choose a next-generation video conferencing tool that checks all of the following boxes:
- 100% web-based solution with no additional software to download or maintain.
- Extremely high-quality video and audio (1080p HD resolution + automatic dynamic bandwidth adjustment with 8% resistance packet loss).
- Highly secure with intelligent firewall support.
- No technical support burden — the vendor manages everything and resolves all requests and issues.
- Available in multiple plans depending on the number of participants.
In addition, the vendor should provide state-of-the-art conference room systems. Conference rooms are ideal for organizations that regularly have multiple people participate in video conferences. These systems should feature:
- An advanced 18x optical zoom HD camera.
- A 360-degree omnidirectional pickup microphone array.
- Optional touchscreen interface connected to a projector or compatible TV.
Channel-Based Messaging Platforms
Channel-based messaging platforms — otherwise known as chat apps — help employees stay connected through text/SMS messages vs. email, phone, video conferencing, or in-person engagements. Employees can also send attachments and media, such as videos and photos.
As with video conferencing systems, there are a wide variety of channel-based messaging platforms available. While there are many key considerations, the most important is simplicity. If a platform is needlessly complex or riddled with bugs, then eventually employees will stop using them. This could create logging, reporting, auditing, quality assurance, and compliance problems. It also leads to frustrated and disengaged employees.
Some leading cloud phone systems — such as the all-in-one solution we offer at Carolina Digital Phone — feature a built-in channel-based messaging platform. In addition to sending/receiving texts from their smartphone or using their computer or laptop, employees can proactively see if a colleague is available, busy, or away from their desk. They can also one-tap or one-click to call, which saves time and eliminates the possibility of dialing errors. It’s a simple, affordable, reliable, and highly effective way to drive a flexible workplace.
The Bottom Line
In a new report, Gartner advises organizations to “embrace radical flexibility to drive the post-COVID-19 work experience”. The three tools discussed above — cloud phone systems, video conferencing, and channel-based messaging platforms — play a core role in helping organizations create a flexible workplace. They can effectively respond to change and ultimately win in the future.
Discover how our all-in-one cloud phone system with a built-in channel-based messaging platform, and our next-generation video conferencing solution, helps your organization reap the rewards of a flexible workplace. Contact Carolina Digital Phone today at (336) 544-4000 or click the chat icon at the bottom of your screen.