As 2020 beckoned, your business probably had a range of remote conferencing and collaboration tools at its disposal but rarely felt a pressing need to use them. Naturally, as the pandemic erupted, many firms started seeing those tools very differently.
Within weeks, remote working changed from a nice-to-have to a business essential, as government-imposed lockdowns around the world forced many workers to shift to working from home.
This situation could have threatened to leave many of these workers with a myriad of software tools in a tangled mass arduous to unravel. However, this doesn’t have to be the case for your own workers – and one big reason why is unified communications (UC).
The unforeseen rise in collaboration software’s popularity
At the end of March, Microsoft claimed that its collaboration product Teams now had 44 million daily active users – a significant rise from the 20-million figure in November 2019.
Meanwhile, on 25 March, the videoconferencing software Zoom was downloaded 2.7 million times. In contrast, on 31 January, the app saw only about 110,000 downloads on iOS and Android devices – and that was Zoom’s busiest day of January, as ComputerWeekly.com indicates.
Digital collaboration tools like these look likely to cement their popularity, too – with Facebook and Google just two high-profile examples of companies that have opted to extend their remote work policies into 2021.
How remote-work tools can help to smooth over cracks
When using communication software to keep in touch with work colleagues, many of us are accustomed to seeing on-screen presence cues indicating whether a given colleague is available to see our message or take our call.
However, those presence cues are going to take on a renewed importance at a time when we can no longer rely on the usual offline cues – such as the sight of that co-worker out of their chair and busy chatting to a client on the phone.
Meanwhile, at large meetings where some workers will be participating in person and others remotely, the in-person attendees could consciously set up their videoconferencing software in such a way that the remote participants can feel just as “present” as their office-based colleagues.
How UC can weave various disparate software tools together
While working from home effectively can require the use of numerous pieces of software, a recent study reported by CIO reveals that 71% of businesses would favour sourcing all of these tools from one provider. This strategy would ease workers’ efforts to switch between the tools as necessary.
In this light, it shouldn’t overly surprise that, according to data shared in a Forbes article, general interest in UC soared by 86% straight after the pandemic broke out. A UC system can be the “glue” that binds all of your workforce’s different collaboration tools together.
With a UC solution integrating a wide range of voice, data and mobile services by Gamma, for example, all of your employees – both those in their own homes and others in the usual office – would have services like messaging, video calling and instant conferencing at their fingertips.