The ability to work remotely has gone from being a perk to a necessity of 21st-century living, according to a new study. In the survey of 1,000 full-time North American office workers, 85 percent said they expect their employers to provide technology that allows them to work from wherever they choose — whether that’s at their desk, at home, in a conference room or in the coffee shop down the street.
Flexible workstyles have become more important than pay increases to many employees. In fact, 74 percent of survey respondents said they would quit their jobs to work for an organization that would allow them to work remotely more often, even if their salary stayed the same.
Employers aren’t doing enough to address this employee-retention issue. About half (51 percent) of survey respondents said they are allowed to work from home on occasion. However, 73 percent of those individuals said they are still expected to come into the office. Less than 14 percent of all workers are fully empowered to choose where they work.
Of the 49 percent of workers who aren’t allowed to work from home, 60 percent say it’s due to the nature of the job, and 22 percent say it’s simply company policy. However, almost 9 percent of all workers say they can’t work from home because they don’t have the technology they need.
Remote workers need effective communication and collaboration tools, but technical issues are killing collaboration. Almost all (94 percent) of employees use collaboration tools in fulfilling their job duties, and the vast majority (83 percent) use technology to collaborate in real time with people in different locations. Half spend at least 10 hours per week collaborating with others, and a fourth spend at least 20 hours per week.
However, 78 percent say frequent technical difficulties impact the collaborative experience. For example, 43 percent say that it usually takes five minutes or more to initiate a collaboration session. Other technical issues include:
- Trouble connecting (31 percent)
- Connection quality issues (29 percent)
- Dropped connections (28 percent)
- Trouble with a feature such as screen sharing (21 percent)
In many cases, these issues stem from the fragmented nature of the collaborative environment. If the organization does not implement high-quality collaboration tools, workers are likely to select and implement various cloud-based products — with or without the authorization of IT. This patchwork approach can sap productivity and hamper customer service. Consumer-grade collaboration tools may also bring security and regulatory compliance risks.
An enterprise-class unified communications (UC) system helps resolve these issues by consolidating multiple collaboration tools in a single platform. Whether implemented on premises or hosted in the cloud, the system gives employees ready access to all the features they need via a single interface. High-quality, highly reliable services minimize technical problems, while state-of-the-art security features protect sensitive data. Mobility features improve employee access and create a seamless experience across multiple devices.
IPC has extensive experience in the design, implementation and support of UC solutions for the modern workforce. Let us help you connect all your locations and remote and mobile workers with easy-to-use collaboration tools.