Why integration can make or break remote communication

By Duncan Finlay, Head of Voice and UC Product Management at Virgin Media Business

Is remote working… working?

On the face of it, yes. 

Half of UK workers say they are more productive at home than in the office, according to a recent study by Cartridge People.

And they’re not just more productive. They’re happier.

91% of UK employees would prefer the option to work remotely, according to another study by Eskenzi PR, with 31% saying they would like it to be four or five days a week.

But knowing remote working can be effective is only part of the issue.

54% of HR leaders say poor technology and/or infrastructure is the biggest barrier to effective remote working, according to a recent Gartner report.

Overcoming that barrier is not as simple as having all the right tools in place.

Successful remote working happens when you remove barriers to communication, and therefore collaboration. So those new tools need to play nicely with each other and all your existing technology and infrastructure.

Here’s why, and how you can make that happen…

Adoption isn’t everything

For those in the tech space, the speed of change since the Covid-19 crisis began has been unparalleled.

But what about those on the receiving end of all this technology innovation? Your employees and, ultimately, your customers.

They’re now using more communication applications than before, from multiple providers, accessed in various different ways.

It might not seem a big deal on the surface: having to flick between different applications depending on how you need to communicate. 

But when you multiply all those little inconveniences across your entire workforce, that’s a lot of frustration and wasted productivity over the course of a working day – not to mention more opportunities for the technology to go wrong.

It’s not going to do your employee experience any favours, especially as remote working looks set to continue for the near future at least. And by slowing your people down, it’s going to have a knock-on effect on your customer experience, too.

What if you could have all those different communication tools in one accessible place instead?

Simple answer: you can. And you absolutely should.

A ‘one platform’ approach

Let’s look at a real-world example of the above.

No doubt you’ve already read about the rise of Microsoft Teams in the past few months.

As of the end of April this year, active daily users had grown to 75 million – a 70% increase since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s no longer just a convenient way to chat with colleagues. For many organisations, it’s become the primary source of communication.

But it becomes even more useful, even more powerful, when you can integrate some of your other communication tools within that same platform.

The ability to integrate 8x8 with Microsoft Teams is a great example of this.

By enabling you to seamlessly integrate voice technology within the Teams platform, it gives your employees everything they need to communicate with colleagues and customers in one convenient place.

Start from the bottom: your network

Effective remote working isn’t as simple as being able to answer the phone or send an email from your sofa.

Think about the things that work in a traditional office: the ability to have face-to-face conversations, for example, and not having to spend five frustrating minutes trying to ‘connect’ to said conversation.

To help people communicate as effectively from home as they can in the office, you need to make the experience feel as seamless as it does in person.

If your underlying infrastructure doesn’t fully support new cloud-based communication tools, you’re never going to see the benefits I’ve outlined in this article.

In many cases, traditional networks simply aren’t built to cater for the kind of technologies we’re talking about. And they certainly don’t make it easy to adopt and integrate new tools at speed, which is essential if you want to keep up with the pace of change today (as we’ve seen these past few months in particular).

If your network is slowing your technology down, that’s going to have a negative impact on your employee experience.

And there’s more to this than simply keeping your people happy.

By empowering them to do their jobs more effectively wherever they happen to be, they can, in turn, serve your customers better. 

And as we head towards whatever awaits us beyond this pandemic, getting those employee and customer experiences right could well be your biggest competitive advantage. 

Want to achieve all the above and more for your organisation? Our resident cloud communication specialists can help.

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