Unified Communications

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Employees

More and more of the global workforce is working remotely: about 70% work from somewhere other than their office at least once a week. With so many people choosing to work remotely, it has to make business sense, but unfortunately, it’s not perfect. Here are the pros (and a few cons) of hiring employees to work from home.
The Pros

Expand your talent pool. One of the biggest advantages to considering remote employees is the far broader range of candidates you can tap into. If you’re looking to fill a specialized role and choices are sparse in your area, you can open up the position to candidates across the country—even around the world. This means increased workplace diversity, potential for greater innovation, and access to better cultural fits for your business.

Increase engagement. According to SHRM’s 2016 Employee Benefits report, 60% of companies offer their employees opportunities to telecommute, but some businesses aren’t so sure. Remote workers are often stereotyped as lazy and disorganized, but research shows that they may actually be more motivated and productive than their office counterparts. This is due in no small part to today’s worker seeking flexibility in their careers. Working remotely allows employees to get work done when they are most focused and achieve the all-important work/life balance that is receiving increasing attention from management and employees alike.

Lower overhead costs. As anyone with access to their business’s finances knows, operational costs are far from negligible, especially when it comes to shared office spaces. …

Are Smart Devices Changing How We Communicate?

As connected devices permeate practically all aspects of our society, are we communicating differently? From voice commands to new technologies, the presence of IoT devices is changing things in the tech and business industries: the only question is, how?

It’s not surprising to hear that by 2020, there will be tens of billions of data-spouting devices connected to the Internet. Many people believe IoT devices make us more efficient in our daily lives, while others feel they create barriers to communication. Here are a few areas you can expect to see impacted by the rapid adoption of smart devices.

Traditional Media vs. New Media
One of the biggest changes is location. In the past, traditional media like TV, print, and radio were key components for reaching audiences. Now, the prime location has moved to digital platforms. Web-based and mobile apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are taking over. Consumers are shifting to these social platforms when they want breaking news, and 26 percent of them are accessing it through smartphones.

Today, more than ever, business need digital, cloud-based communication. Companies can no longer rely on traditional methods and assume that their employees are as okay with the status quo as they are. Business communications need to take advantage of the technology revolution.

Options for Communication
Before smart devices, communication was limited to a few channels. Orchestrating meetings with team members or clients was difficult, and the technology that was available was less than reliable.

These days smart devices offer businesses …

3 Ways Unified Communications Maximizes Your Control

With so many phone system options to pick from, it’s difficult to know which one will fully support your business. But you do know one thing: your current phone system no longer meets your company’s changing needs. So you do what any smart business person does – you conduct a thorough assessment of your options. You quickly learn that what you need is a unified communications system that will integrate with your current business applications at a reasonable cost. Most importantly, you want to control how you use, manage and pay for the phone system over the long term while building for the future and enabling an easy migration to the cloud as your business evolves.
If this scenario applies to you, it’s time to consider a unified communications system that gives you total control in three critical ways: 
1. Control Over Custody
Is ownership your preference? If you have a certain comfort level when the assets you buy are sitting under your roof, an onsite phone system will give you complete custody of the equipment. Simply put, you own it. This type of investment creates a future benefit for your business by reducing long-term system costs while increasing the book value of your company. The financial decision of leasing, renting or buying is up to you. A Mitel Connect ONSITE system gives you investment protection while laying the foundation for a later migration to the cloud. You decide how you spend …

How to Train Your Employees for UC Success

Unified communications can benefit your business operations and move you closer to achieving your goals – which is why so many organizations are investing in better communication and collaboration tools. But without adequate training, your new unified communications tools can turn from a solution to a problem. If you’re thinking about implementing a UC platform in your business, how do you make sure that your employees get the most out of it? The answer is a focus on training.

Here are five things you can do to get your employees up to speed on new communication technology:

1. Get employee input
If you really want your employees to utilize new UC tools to their fullest extent, you’ll need to start before you even begin shopping. In one survey, 77% of employees reported that they weren’t consulted about UC tools before implementation, and 58% weren’t even consulted about the usefulness of the new tools after implementation. But when new communication technology affects the day-to-day lives of everyone in the organization, how do you know if you’re achieving your goals for implementation if you don’t ask?

Depending on the industry that you’re in, your employees may hate making calls, or don’t even know how to send a fax. If people aren’t going to use it, is it worth the investment to implement that tool in the first place? By talking to your employees before and after you implement your UC platform and tools, you can get people on …

Should You Price Shop for Communication Solutions?

Everyone loves a good deal. When you can get great value out of a relatively small purchase, you tend to enjoy that purchase just a little more. But price shopping doesn’t always have a great outcome. Focusing on finding a steal can mean you’re getting a subpar product or service. Here’s the thing: most unified communications platforms pride themselves on their affordability, but affordability is relative. So how do you find a system that fits both your needs and your budget? Here are four questions to ask yourself when you’re searching for communication solutions.
1. How do you use your phone system?
One good place to start when shopping for communication solutions is your phone. Your phone system should be a foundational part of your unified communications system, and it’s a piece of the puzzle that most businesses already have and use, so it’s a good indicator of whether or not any given solution will work for you.

Start by analyzing how you use your phones. While going through old phone bills isn’t exactly thrilling, it will give you a clearer picture of how people in your organization are making calls. Are they mostly local, or long distance? Do a large portion of your calls go to a single area outside of your city or state? Do you have a toll free number? Different VoIP providers offer different billing structures with regards to distance, phone numbers, and call duration, so you can …

Is Unified Communications Worth It for Small Businesses?

Every business has budget items that are higher priority than others, but for small businesses, that priority list is usually adhered to a little more strictly. After all, it makes sense to make only the most strategic investments when so many things demand your attention. But even if a better communications solution is somewhere on your budget, it may not be at the top of your list. Should it be? Investing in a small business unified communications system could bring significant benefits to your company.
Do More with Fewer Employees
Hiring and retaining employees is a huge expenditure for a small business, and in some industries, wages and benefits may take up a significant portion of the yearly budget. And while expansion is a success milestone for many small businesses, hiring is not a decision to be taken lightly.

As a result, employees of small businesses often wear more than one hat. Sometimes, a salesperson may also take on customer service duties, or an accountant may handle some aspects of HR compliance. These employees are usually up to their ears in work, and in combination with their highly important roles, maintaining easy and productive contact is both vital to operations and difficult to achieve.

For those on-the-fly meetings or out-of-office calls, small business unified communications makes hectic work schedules easier to manage. VoIP phone systems enable employees to take and make business calls wherever they are – so that salesperson can handle current …

How to Choose Communication Solutions for Your Business

Today’s society may be built on technology, but human society has always relied on communication. According to a study published by SIS International Research, businesses lose 17.5 hours of productivity per employee every week due to poor communication, and whether your business has eight or 800 employees, those hours add up to serious revenue loss. Upgrading your communication solutions could help you reclaim your company’s much needed time, but with the number of options on the market, it’s difficult to even get started.
Phone Systems
If your phone system is prone to downtime, unclear call quality, or routing difficulties, it’s probably doing more harm than good. Not only does an unreliable phone system give a poor impression to customers calling in, it also reduces the effectiveness of company communications.

Solution: A VoIP upgrade, whether hosted, premise, or hybrid, can help your employees get the information they need whenever and wherever they need it. Features like find me/follow me call routing ensure that calls can reach the right person even when they’re not at their desk, reducing downtime — and panic — when a timely answer is needed.
Messaging Tools
Email has been a mainstay in business communications for almost two decades, but by today’s standards, it can be slow and bulky. Wading through the spam, reply-all chains, and forwards to find the email you need takes time, and opens you up to a plethora of distractions.

Solution: As a part of unified communication solutions, instant messaging (IM) and chat tools can be a company’s internal communications …

How Small Business Unified Communications Can Change Collaboration

As most small business owners will boast, the best asset of a small business is a compact but competent team with the drive to face any challenge. Yet with the multitasking inherent in running a small business, even a small team can have problems with communication and collaboration. Small business unified communications tools can help maximize the potential of your team by making collaboration easy.
1. Many Tools for Many Hats
Small business budgets can often mean settling for good enough rather than using better tools available to larger enterprises. Whether that means inferior “free” versions of independent collaboration tools, chaining as many trials together as possible, or simply going with a software or application that meets most but not all of your needs, the fact is that the fat trimming needed in small businesses makes it hard for your tools to match the level of work you and your employees are capable of.

With unified communications as a service, your business gets a variety of quality collaboration tools, managed by a provider, bundled together. And when every employee of a small business is responsible for more than one thing, having the tools to support efficient and excellent performance is critical.

2. Collaboration, Anywhere
Collaboration can be difficult whether the person you’re working with is at the next desk or across the country. Coordinating schedules for meetings and deadlines is like herding cats when everyone is keeping track of many different tasks. That’s why the mobility and …

UC Implementation Mistakes to Avoid

Picture this: your employees aren’t being as productive as you know they could be, but you can’t figure out why. It could simply be that they are not getting the data and information they need at the right time. Unified Communications (UC) can have a huge impact on your employees’ collaboration, and as a result, their productivity. However, it’s almost impossible to implement a UC system and expect it to work overnight! Some companies that attempt to make the switch to a UC system suffer from a few common pitfalls that could be avoided.

Read below for some tips for UC implementation:

Pitfall #1: Lack of Employee Training
Since UC systems are designed to be used by you and your employees, your employees are your best asset in getting your UC system in place. Make sure they know what is happening, how it can improve their work experience, and what they can do to help. When in doubt, opt for a slow integration process. While it may be frustrating to you, knowing what exciting new features are going to be available in the future, adding only a few tools at a time gives your employees the time they need to get used to them.

Pitfall #2: Unnecessary Features
Speaking of exciting new features, sometimes tools included in your UC system may bog down your employees with redundant information. The best way to prevent a backslide in productivity is to know your company and its technological needs. Training …

5 Tips for Unified Communications Implementation

The majority of organizations face the challenge of delays caused by lack of adequate communication. Such a scenario often, has adverse impacts on the performance of the team, the efficiency of the company, and the competitiveness of any business. Unified Communications (UC) describes the integration of devices and applications to enhance the efficiency and mode of communication for the purpose of increasing productivity, enhancing team collaboration, and streamline business processes. The lack of UC compromises major operations in an organization.

Does your organization have poor performance, inadequate team collaboration, or does it suffer from reduced productivity due to increased delays and ineffective communication?-having Unified Communications will help you sort all the communications challenges and problems that you experience in your organization. How then do you have your communications unified?

Here are a few tips that you can follow to ensure successful implementation of UC in your organization or business.

Review the existing infrastructure


Before adopting UC, you need to be aware of the specific aspects within your organization that require such advancement based on the needs of your organization. What communication models and channels are already in place-emails? Then, assess approaches to ensure that your email systems, protocols, and practices are refined prior to implementing unified communications.

Have a robust foundation


You need to ensure that you are not building on sand! Having your Unified Communications on an aging network infrastructure will definitely not give you the results that you want. Ensure that your available …