In boardrooms and HR departments across the UK and world, discussions about hybrid working are taking place.
In the main they are positive – employees want hybrid working, looser geographical restrictions allow firms to level up above and beyond the talent in the local area for the first time, and there's a chance to lower overheads and increase efficiency.
But there's a lot of unknowns – it's new and it won't be easy. Life and societal changing innovation needs time to embed. One hot area of discussion is unified comms and how to get the best setup.
Here's a list of FAQs to get you up to speed.
What's Unified comms and why is it important to hybrid working?
Unified communications offer a new way for businesses to get stuff done by delivering a single, cloud-based platform in which you can find messaging, file sharing, video conferencing – every comms tool you'll ever need.
It's a holistic and purpose-built mix that is so crucial to success in a world where employee and client communication will no longer be predominantly face to face.
There are some fundamentals:
- It needs to be in the cloud and browser based, so it can be accessed anywhere
- It needs to be secure
- It needs to fit the needs of your employees and business objectives
Unified comms is so important to the hybrid working model because face-to-face communication will no longer be the norm. Without a purpose built solution, even the simplest task becomes unnecessarily convoluted – not to mention the impact disjointed communication can have on team morale.
Are Slack and Zoom unified comms?
No. A big part of the current issue with remote working is the complexity of having so many different tools to communicate with. Video conferencing and instant messaging have been pivotal in keeping businesses running, and they are great at what they do, but they were never designed to be an all-encompassing communications suite.
They don't take into account informal communication, or employee welfare. They don't integrate with each other, so it can take ages to find files that you know you've seen somewhere. They don't let IT managers take control of new features or tweaks to make the whole solution fit with how your specific business wants to work in a hybrid world.
How much do unified comms cost?
It's a flexible scale, and the most important answer is that they'll probably save you money.
This is due to a mixture of reduced IT spend and providing a better foundation for home and hybrid working.
Unified comms negate the need for various other software subscriptions, run on your own servers and can be purchased in a modular and scalable manner. You literally only pay for what you need.
Furthermore as the basis of your hybrid working model, it leads to less employee commute expenses, and smaller office space and running costs.
You can enquire about how little you can get PixelMax for here.
How does unified communications increase productivity?
In so many ways.
We've touched on the simple matter of having everything in one place. Yes this is very practical in helping people find what they need in a shorter amount of time, potentially saving hundreds of hours a year across large workforces, but there is a bigger issue: cognitive load.
Cognitive load simply refers to your capacity to shift attention. Your brain is trying to focus on effectively doing one thing, while secondary stimuli – what you were doing a minute ago, what else is on screen, what notification has just pinged – competes for attention. This competition can cause a bottleneck and slow you down.
While unified comms can't completely focus your mind for you, it does do a much better job at cutting out unwanted stimuli.
Then there's the issue of collaboration, communication and team building. It's not a new problem that when silos occur, information slips through the cracks and communication breakdown diminishes the level of service you can deliver.
A big part of what makes unified comms unique is its inherent focus on employee welfare. The PixelMax solution for instance, can mimic those office down time water cooler chats, and has immersive experiences such as yoga. By ensuring employers feel connected both to the company mission and their teammates wherever they are, unified comms can create happier and more productive teams.
Are unified comms secure?
When developing PixelMax we knew security was an important issue that was only going to get more important in the coming years.
That's why we use an AWS structure and only store customer data in countries with the strongest security standards, like the UK, EU or the US.
Don't take our word for it. Here's a great round-up of all the ways in which unified comms improve security – even bettering the safety provided by the simple telephone systems many businesses have relied upon for years.