Do your collaboration efforts include all of these four elements? If not, you could be harming your firm’s productivity.

 

Businesses today need to be more agile than ever if they’re to meet the expectations of both customers and employees. But while initiatives such as hybrid working will play a large role in this, firms need to ensure these don’t hinder efforts such as collaboration. As such, tools to ensure users can remain in touch no matter where they are around the world are essential.

 

But this technology isn’t just about connectivity. It’s about giving people the tools and support they need to work together effectively and improve innovation and efficiency. And this can’t be done if some people have trouble fully participating.

 

As such, collaboration solutions need to take a few factors into account. This includes not only ensuring users can connect seamlessly, but that they have access to all the same information and applications as their co-workers. With this in mind, here are a few factors you must consider when deploying a new communications and collaboration platform.

 

Reliable, scalable telephony

 

The first step must be to implement effective, scalable voice calling solutions. While other communication tools such as video and instant messaging are increasingly important, voice telephony is still a primary way to get in touch and work together, whether this is within the business, with external suppliers and partners, or with customers.

 

In a hybrid work environment, a cloud-based solution will be the most effective option for many businesses. One of the biggest advantages of this is flexibility. With softphone technology, for example, you can do away with complex routing systems and even handsets that may have to be carried around from one working location to the next.

 

Instead, all you need is a web browser and a headset and you’ve got a full-featured phone system you can access from anywhere, on any device.

 

This means whether you’re working at your desk in the office, on the morning commute or at your kitchen table, you can access the same quality services to ensure connectivity and collaboration via voice channels.

 

An integrated platform

 

Ensuring easy access to information is another vital step if your employees are to collaborate effectively. This is especially important if you’re managing a contact centre.

 

Getting these personnel to function effectively in a hybrid environment can be tough, as when agents aren’t in the same physical space, it can be easy for calls to be misrouted or information to be lost as customers are passed around. This increases end-user frustration and hampers efficiency.

 

This also ensures you can build a truly omnichannel contact centre – something that’s increasingly important in an era where customer demands are higher than ever and they will expect to be able to resolve issues on the channel of their choice.

 

A fully-integrated platform ensures users can switch seamlessly between channels with no need to repeat details, while agents will have complete records at their fingertips, making it much easier to work with customers to resolve any issues and enhance the user experience.

 

Effective video software

 

For many collaboration activities, it’s hard to beat a face-to-face conversation. A huge part of how we communicate is non-verbal, and much of this is lost if we’re relying only on voice tools. Therefore, video collaboration services will be the next best thing to an in-person discussion for hybrid working environments.

 

However, this requires much more than just a camera and microphone. Many businesses will have turned to simple, consumer-grade video services such as Zoom during the pandemic, often because they provide an easy-to-use free tier that employees can set up on their personal devices. But these are often unsuitable for enterprise-grade communications.

 

Whether it’s restrictions on the number of participants or the length of a meeting, or limited bandwidth that can lead to poorer audio-visual quality, such services will often struggle to meet the high demands of a busy workplace.

 

True enterprise-grade services, however, offer much more. And it’s not just high-quality video calls that these provide. The likes of Microsoft Teams deliver full integration with a range of other services for easy collaboration, from calendar and email solutions to mission-critical applications such as Office 365. Whether it’s sharing and editing documents together in real time or providing more presentation options, these tools greatly enhance what’s possible when people are working together via video conference.

 

The right environment at home and in the office

 

Finally, it’s important to remember that good collaboration is about more than just software. It’s also about having the right hardware and environment to work together effectively, shut out distractions and keep productivity levels high.

 

For example, did you know that the average office space can reach volume levels of up to 75 decibels? That’s the same as a washing machine, and you wouldn’t try to work from your kitchen with a full load of laundry on.

 

These distractions can make life difficult both for those in the office and for anyone trying to work with them from home, as background noise makes it harder to concentrate and hear clearly. As such, tools such as noise-cancelling headphones and mics can be invaluable.

 

When it comes to meeting spaces themselves, effective soundproofing and acoustics to reduce echo will be invaluable in hybrid working environments to make it easier for remote workers to participate. Large screens, or even multiple displays, also play a role to ensure those not in the room can be seen as well as heard.

 

Finding a partner that can manage every aspect of your collaboration is the key to success. Miss out any one element and you’ll harm your productivity and ultimately hurt your bottom line.

 

Read our latest ebook to learn more about how to react to the world of hybrid working, or get in touch with Arrow today to find out what we can do for you.

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