Using Technology to Keep Employees Connected and Productive through the Winter

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During winter, employees might be finding it difficult to stay plugged in at work. Kicking off the cold weather with the holidays, then entering the new year with the flu season and an inevitable slew of snow and ice storms, business owners are turning to cloud-based technology to maintain employee productivity. Cloud-based services, including cloud unified communication (UC) systems, allow companies to effectively manage remote and traveling workers and keep lines of communication open during vacations and closures.

By leveraging cloud UC, employees can be kept in the loop no matter their location or device they choose through advanced features of some of the best systems. This winter, businesses can ensure productivity with the following cloud UC advantages:

No Reliance on Equipment

While employees may not necessarily want to answer the phone while skiing down a mountain or gathered around a warm fireplace with family, they can still be accessible should there be a dire emergency at the office. All employee business communications can be accessed easily no matter the 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 percent in the cloud has the unique ability to store all individual user profile information in the cloud, including their designated phone number, extension, contacts, voicemail and speed dials, eliminating any reliance on equipment on-site, and empowering businesses with true mobility. This means that all calls, messages, emails, chats, voicemail, presence and even video conferences can be hosted, scheduled or started from virtually any device and from any location an employee travels to. Additionally, mobile access to UC features like soft phones, empower employees to make and receive calls on their mobile device using their business number to remain professional.

Seamless Communication & Collaboration
With winter creating an influx of employees traveling, working remotely or home sick, collaborative mobility tools are essential for businesses to function at their highest levels. The most sophisticated video conferencing solutions allow employees to securely connect and collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners from anywhere in the world at a second’s notice. For example, start a video conference on an iMac in the office, pick it up on a smartphone while on the plane headed towards a vacation destination and share the recording with the team once settled at a hotel. The best platforms allow users to host online meetings, HD video conferences and audio conferences for as many as 100 people, enabling employees to jointly review and edit files, share screens, run webinars and interact seamlessly, all with end-to-end encryption for full security.

With a cloud UC system in place, business owners don’t have to worry about how the next big ice storm will impact productivity because employees can take their desk wherever they go. To work more efficiently and effectively, employees can take advantage of company-wide chat to send a brief message and provide a quick and easy method for others to response. There are plenty of chat apps on the market to choose from, but it’s important that the platform chosen meets all of the organization’s needs and works across all platforms, anything less is sub-standard. In addition, some UC systems can also integrate with existing productivity apps like Google apps, Skype, Microsoft Office365 or Salesforce, which further allows for unification across departments, no matter which device being used.

 Prevent Security Threats
This winter and beyond, it is imperative that mission-critical communications are safeguarded. The best cloud UC systems are designed to store critical data in a place that is secure, monitored and backed-up 24/7 X 365. Ensuring the highest level of security, a 100 percent cloud-based UC system prevents any information or data to be stored on local servers or phones on-site where they can be vulnerable to security threats. Having a good managed security service means that databases are also stored on secure servers in a protected cloud infrastructure. When moving a business’s infrastructure to the cloud, the chosen service provider should be able to provide a written guarantee called a service level agreement (SLA) that details its reliability. Having all business apps – not just some – supported and secured reduces the amount of time it would take for a business to recover from a potential security threat, as well as the amount of time essential and confidential data is exposed to any risk.

Businesses that make the move from traditional phone systems to cloud-based UC systems can rest at ease while the workforce is on the move, as they will be better equipped to overcome lower attendance and barriers to productivity – not only this winter, but throughout the year.

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Jeff Blackey is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Broadview Networks. Mr. Blackey has more than 25 years of marketing management experience in the communications industry. He is responsible for leading Broadview’s marketing team in its day-to-day operations and creating new opportunities to grow revenue. Mr. Blackey obtained a degree in electrical and computer engineering from Clarkson University and his MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Rochester.