Today’s businesses face more challenges than ever before when it comes to how they support their employees. The world of work no longer fits into a neat 9-5, Monday to Friday pattern, so the modern business is expected to be fully flexible in order to ensure employees have a strong work-life balance. And that’s as true for us at Arrow as it is anywhere else.
That’s why we’ve been transforming our own communication and collaboration environment over the past few months, putting in place a range of advanced tools that help our employees work freely wherever and whenever they wish.
We’ve seen first-hand the benefits that effective collaboration tools provide in the modern, more flexible workplace. So what did we do and how has it transformed how we operate?
The need for an upgrade
As well as improving the work-life balance of our employees, one of the major catalysts for this initiative was to respond to the huge growth we’ve seen over the past few years.
Indeed, in the last nine years, we’ve gone from just 35 employees to 220 and have eight offices all over the UK, from Aberdeen in Scotland to our head office in Godalming, Surrey. What’s more, almost four out of ten staff regularly work remotely, whether this is at home, in the field or in a different office to their usual base.
Therefore, being able to connect our employees all over the country quickly and easily is hugely important to us. This ensures that everyone is part of the Arrow team and not isolated, no matter where they are working.
We’re also a young company, with 30 per cent of our employees under 30. As a result, having technology solutions that meet the changing expectations of this generation is also essential for us.
Arrow Adoption of Microsoft Teams
The tools we’ve adopted
One of the major additions to our technology platform in 2019 was the introduction of Microsoft Teams, which has been enthusiastically embraced by our staff. We now have 116 users per day, and the number of users is growing by 15% each month. In the first three months, over 600 meetings have been held using Microsoft Teams with over 2,800 Team Chats taking place, which shows just how much staff are collaborating.
As well as making it easy to keep in touch any time, anywhere, and collaborate on documents and projects in one solution, we’ve also integrated this into our conference room spaces with Video Conferencing and Yealink Teams systems.
This connects our video conferencing room tools directly into the Teams infrastructure, delivering a seamless experience for joining and participating in meetings and ensuring everyone can enjoy the highest audio and video quality.
Elsewhere, Arrow also adopted the Mitel-powered Scala cloud telephony platform, which gives our employees much more flexibility for voice chats. Scala offers features like Presence and call flows that users can control themselves. This means they’re able to choose how to receive and make calls depending on their location and on whatever device they wish to use, including fixed lines, smartphones and laptops.
Arrow employees mobile phones are loaded with the Mitel MiCollab and Teams apps, enabling users to stay in touch easily and continue to access their Team chats while on the move, while we’ve also taken steps to ensure the security of any data being accessed outside our offices, with Mobile Security tools including IBM MaaS360, Microsoft InTune, Wandera and WatchGuard.
The benefits to our business
The results of this have included much improved productivity and a more engaged workforce, as everyone knows they’ll be able to work effectively no matter where they are.
It’s also had significant cost-saving benefits, especially when it comes to cutting our travel expenses. Previously, employees would frequently have to travel between our offices for meetings, but with high-quality video conferencing tools the time and expense of travelling up and down the country can often be avoided.
But don’t just take our word for it. Research by Gamma has found the average employee clocks up £1,083 in mileage and transport claims, £226 in hotel stays and £80 on food a year when attending remote meetings. And, with office workers saying up to a quarter of their meetings are ‘pointless’, this is a lot of money that can be saved by embracing the right collaboration tools.
Ultimately, our employees know they can now get in touch with colleagues in whatever way works best for them – whether this is email, IM, voice or video call. Coupled with the ability to easily and securely access data and applications remotely, we’ve been able to boost productivity, lower costs and make our workforce happier by supporting them when they want to work flexibly.
Find out more about the benefits of having the right technology to support today’s flexible, modern workforce in our new white paper.