Written by Dana Jaffe on April 18, 2013
Categories: Blog Posts

Over the past few decades, the workplace has changed significantly. Years ago, people worked with colleagues in the same physical office. As issues arose, the team would meet in the conference room or at the water cooler for discussion.

Today’s globalized work environment is comprised of partners, peers and clients around the world. Dispersed employees can’t always head to the boardroom to make a decision or stop by a team member’s office to discuss ideas.

As employees have moved out of traditional offices to work from their homes, oftentimes hundreds of miles from their companies’ headquarters, business have turned the new generation of collaboration tools to keep their dispersed teams connected, regardless of location. In fact, telecommuting is turning into one of the important reasons companies are turning to cloud-based Software-as-a-Service options.

Collaboration tools like video conferencing, web collaboration and unified messaging have become the all-encompassing platforms that keep teleworkers plugged in to business, wherever they may be.

Equipped with a UC solution, employees can use the Internet to power real-time communications capabilities, including voice, instant messaging and web collaboration, and to hold meetings with audio, video and web conferencing tools. The agility of employee-driven communications even has a positive effect on performance.

Investing in IP-based tools that enable people to work outside of the office is often a company morale booster. Nearly three-fourths of Telework Exchange survey participants reported increased productivity and reduced stress levels while telecommuting. The amount teleworkers save on gasoline and other office-related expenses by electing to commute just two days a week is equivalent $3,439 annual raise – an incentive any employee would appreciate.

By reducing the number of drivers on the road, telecommuting also links back to national sustainability efforts and offers employees a way to be environmentally friendly. According to a study by Business to Community, if half of the American workforce was able to telecommute at least part time, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 53 million metric tons, equivalent to taking 9.6 million vehicles off the road for one year or the entire workforce in the state of New York never commuting again.

Using IP-powered technology to communicate  also brings value to the management side of business. Businesses that participated in a recent McKenzie Global Institute study reported measurable benefits from using social collaborative tools, with 74 indicating that collaborative tools increased speed to access knowledge and 69 percent reporting increased effectiveness of marketing in terms of brand awareness, consideration, conversion and loyalty, among other benefits.

Companies in the study that had fully integrated collaboration tools into day-to-day business saw cost savings and efficiency gains in internal, customer-related and external communications.

The implications of integrating collaborative technologies into the workplace culture are widespread. Companies can greatly impact their sustainability efforts by allowing their employees to telecommute even part time, and in many industries, new competitive battles lines may form between companies that use collaboration tools in sophisticated ways and companies that feel uncomfortable with new web-powered technologies.



 

By: Dana Jaffe