The workplace as we know it is transforming, as digital innovation creates new ways of working and many employees operate across more devices, time zones, and locations than ever before.

The uptake of flexible, off-site, and remote working trends has also shifted the balance in many businesses. Today, decision makers are tasked with building smarter workspaces which mobilise a more dispersed, digital workforce and maintain the level of employee engagement required to keep driving the business forward.

In light of continued efforts to digitise previously manual communication processes, the very definition of engagement itself has also been turned on its head. No longer does employee engagement simply mean ensuring staff are interacting with each other during the days in the office; it now means enabling instant communication at any time and connecting people regardless of their location and type of device available. Designing these experiences therefore requires a shift in attitudes from business leaders, moving away from isolated internal systems and towards a more diverse and far-reaching approach to communication.

The fruits of this labour are plain to see, with research now indicating that organisations with an engaged cohort of staff can exceed those without by more than 200 percent. With the potential return on investment so high, companies must now be looking to integrate communication tools which have the power to transform any place into a smarter workspace, ensuring that staff can collaborate seamlessly and generate new ideas through productive, enjoyable interactions.

Jumping over the hurdles

That said, achieving this is undoubtedly a challenge for modern businesses – particularly for larger organisations with vast workforces which are often siloed into teams based on their different locations around the globe. The changing nature of the workplace itself has created significant roadblocks for many leaders trying to maintain strong and meaningful employee collaboration.

Employees are increasingly in favour of a more versatile and accommodating avenues of communication; meanwhile the need for decision makers to maintain efficiency and minimise expenditure continues to impact the choices made investing in new solutions which are able to facilitate this. Yet with workspaces moving continually towards a digital-only future and the opportunity for improvements clear, most modern businesses are being encouraged to follow suit. Inevitably, the systems needed to overcome these challenges and enable smarter, better exchanges between staff are now in high demand.

Remote control: Workspaces are moving towards a digital-only future

For example, the rise in systems which create an intelligent and unified approach to communication can make pivotal changes for companies worldwide. By mobilising employees regardless of device, location or time, leaders can encourage the digital connections staff need to generate new ideas and keep employees happy, flexible and motivated from anywhere.

These sentiments were echoed in a 2018 survey of 7,000 employees globally, in which 73 percent of employees who work in a fully-enabled digital workplace reported a positive impact on their productivity, and 70 percent cited improved collaboration thanks to digital technologies. As a result, the key to success not only lies in digitising traditional communication channels across a business, but selecting the right digital technologies which are capable of enhancing engagement with smart interactions for the end user.

Smart communication in practice

In an effort to future-proof their communications infrastructure and drive productivity, modern businesses are exploring the different technologies now able to create digital workspaces, which ultimately deliver business value and drive employee engagement as workplace culture evolves. However, enabling smarter engagements across an entire workforce cannot be achieved by simply implementing isolated telephony systems or web and audio conferencing for employees to communicate; businesses must now knit together a range of tools, working seamlessly together to create a unified ecosystem which meets the needs of every individual.

No two businesses are the same and this is where unified communication (UC) systems comes into its  own. Not only does it provide employees with a plethora of communication tools, it enables companies to diversify their offerings and build a smart communication network able to both deliver on the demands of a more dynamic, digital workspace and drive employee productivity through easier engagement. Now, this trend looks set to continue, with the UC market forecast to reach an exponential size of $143.49bn by 2024 – an exciting time for businesses globally.

While the premise of creating a network of smart communication systems may sound daunting on paper, implementing UC tools into existing infrastructure can help to subside the expense of completely overhauling the systems already in place. Irrespective of supplier or level of intricacy, integrating a suite of smart communication tools to build one unified network is now the true key for creating the spaces required for keeping employees engaged.

Achieving this on a business-wide scale is now fundamental for driving productivity and better ideas across an entire workforce, in turn maximising business value as we enter the next phase of enterprise innovation.

For more information on communication channels your business needs to succeed, read this insightful guide by Mary Clare Novak at G2.

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