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Small Biz Daily By: Rieva Lessonky

5 — Resolution: Improve Collaboration & Productivity for Remote Workers

Guest post by Jeff Blackey, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Broadview Networks

A recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the average worker would take an 8% pay cut in order to work from home. For some, that number is as high as 21%. With today’s workforce growing increasingly flexible and mobile, innovative mobile technologies are needed to streamline how a business communicates and collaborates.

As the trend of remote employment continues to build momentum, leaders must arm employees with the right tools, technology and connectivity to help stay productive, increase their job satisfaction and attract the best talent. By leveraging unified communications (UC) to manage and equip remote employees, employees can stay in the loop, no matter their location or device, with uninterrupted access to enterprise information on demand, anywhere and anytime, through advanced features of some of the best systems. Following are just three ways businesses can ensure productivity with cloud UC:

1.Don’t Rely on Equipment: Employees can access all their business communications, no matter their location, through cloud-based UC systems where the entire platform is available on desk phones, PCs, smartphones and tablets. A system that is operated 100% in the cloud has the unique ability to store all employees’ data, preferences and user profile information in the cloud, eliminating any reliance on equipment on-site, empowering businesses with true mobility. This means all calls, messages, emails, chats, voicemail and even video conferences can be hosted, scheduled or started from virtually any device and from any location. Additionally, mobile access to UC features like soft phones empower employees to make and receive calls on their mobile device using their business number.

2.Offer Seamless Communication and Collaboration: Businesses with remote employees stand to particularly benefit from the right cloud-based communications solution that will enable productive conversation and enable seamless work beyond the office and across any device without difficulty. Employees’ individual user profiles, including their designated phone number, extension, contacts, voicemail and speed dials, follow them with any device they log into, offering the ability to save on equipment costs while keeping productivity high.  For example, offering company-wide group chat on all devices allows team members to quickly discuss issues from remote locations—even more efficiently when each employee’s availability, or “presence” is displayed. Plus, some UC systems can integrate with existing productivity apps like Google apps, Skype, Microsoft Office 365 or Salesforce.

3.Prioritize Usability and User Centricity: The best cloud UC systems are designed to be user-friendly and allow a centralized administrator to easily add or remove users, features and phone lines instantly by using online administrative controls without the hassle or fees for initial configuration and installation or sunk costs in hardware. Also, employees can manage the features they need to, without requiring costly outside support or the time of in-house IT departments. Be sure to select a solution provider that delivers all employees, not just the IT department, with 24/7 X 365 access to live engineers and experts, instructional videos and a vibrant online community of like-minded individuals passionate about getting work done.

Businesses that make the move from traditional phone systems to cloud-based UC systems can rest at ease while affordably extending telecommuting options to a remote workforce. These businesses that embrace the role of cloud technology can simplify operations, reduce costs and foster close, collaborative teams.

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