Three Quarters of UK Employees Believe Unified Communications Helps to Increase Workplace Efficiency
The survey, conducted amongst 1,000 UK employees, also revealed that forward thinking business workers of today are using a wider variety of communications tools to make the most of their working day whether inside or outside the office. For instance, when discussing communications tools and how critical they are to functioning at work, the respondents ranked telephone calls (86%), followed by email (85%), followed by face-to-face meetings (83%) as the most important. However, outside of these tradition tools – respondents also ranked internet research (73%), Instant Messaging (39%) and text messaging (35%) as critical to their daily roles.
Interestingly, in the UK, 68% of respondents were unfamiliar with the term ‘unified communications’ compared to 80% in the US, according to another recent Mitel US survey. The term UC has derived from people using an array of different technologies to communicate and conduct business, consisting of either desk, mobile or soft phones and conferencing and collaboration applications. These technologies integrate with personal and business devices and systems. The advantage of UC is that the user can choose what device or application they want to meet their needs. The value to an organisation in unifying communications is to improve workflow and efficiency, ultimately leading to better service delivery and an improved bottom line. It is also vital in cutting down business travel; reducing the carbon footprint of companies and of course reducing overheads.
Unified communications: How is it being used each day
All of the above tools, along with taking a more flexible approach to when, where and how UK employees work today has resulted in a massive growth in the use of UC – quite often without companies realising that they are employing these tools and practices.
The research report also investigated how long UK employees spend using a variety of different communications tools each day. If this is then broken down across a typical eight hour working day, it appears that UK employees are spending roughly the same amount of time using email and meeting people face to face, but less time speaking on the phone. However, some relatively new forms of communication are now making their way into the typical working day such as using social networking sites, reading/posting on blogs and the use of text messaging for business.
Graham Bevington, managing director, Mitel EMEA said, “Unified communications offers more control and benefits to businesses and employees, enabling them to mould their working lives around their equally important home priorities. However, a by-product of the always-on connected lives we now live can be that employees fail to distinguish when they should be working and when to switch-off. We believe that it’s important for companies to set clear guidelines for their employees on how to make best use of the communication technologies we have access to, and the expectation about when, where and how to work.”
Time away from the office
Another key finding of the survey revealed that 52% of respondents now have the capability to work fully-functioning away from the office. When asked in what locations they are able to work from, the following answers were the most popular:
- Home – 90%
- Client sites – 49%
- Wifi hot spots such as coffee shops, restaurants, hotel receptions etc – 30%
Then, when asked how frequently they take advantage of this, the responses vary considerably, but with a solid 15% of respondents working away from the office full time. Other responses included 50% of people working away from the office for 1-2 days a month, 17% doing so once a week and 18% doing so 2 or more days per week.
The changing face of communications
In a time when cross continental trade, communications and working across times-zones is becoming an everyday occurrence many people today, whether working remotely or in an office, need to liaise with people on the other side of the world. Implementing UC has been useful in cutting down business travel; reducing the carbon footprint of companies and of course reducing overheads.
The research report also identified that the use of UC tools are complementing and enhancing employee’s roles in the workplace by:
- Improving the efficiency of workplace communications – 73%
- Providing evolutionary steps in human interaction – 24%
- Working as useful supplements to face-to-face meetings – 52%
Mitel delivers flexibility and simplicity in smart unified communications solutions and applications for organizations of all sizes. Mitel is reinventing how successful organizations gain competitive advantage by easily collaborating and communicating over distance and time with customers, colleagues and partners. Mitel’s (www.mitel.com) EMEA headquarters are in Caldicot, UK. Global headquarters are in Ottawa, Canada, with offices, partners, and resellers worldwide.