UC Solutions: Does One-Size-Fit-All for the Hybrid Workplace Employee Experience?
If you hadn’t migrated your unified communications and collaboration (UCC or simply UC) solutions to the cloud, you did that in a hurry when the pandemic hit back in March 2020. That seems like a lifetime ago.

Since then, your teams have spent countless hours in online meetings. A National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper reports that employees spend 48.5 minutes more working each day and are holding 12.9% more online meetings. The paper also noted that the number of emails and recipients for each email had grown too.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing employees around the world to work from home, the need to communicate effectively has never been greater. Yet, the ability of employees to communicate has changed dramatically with the loss of a centralized office and the face-to-face interaction it fosters.

 

-COLLABORATING DURING CORONAVIRUS:
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE NATURE OF WORK, National Bureau of Economic Research

Not surprisingly, without physical contact, employees increased the use of digital communication tools. The next step was to find ways to humanize the virtual meeting experience and keep employees engaged. And just when we had virtual meetings under control, it was time to figure out how to go back to the office safely.

It’s not just remote workers or on-site teams you must support. Now it’s both. And you must give everyone the ability to switch back and forth between home and the office. Companies that migrated UC to the cloud had a head start; others caught up. As your teams enter the new hybrid workplace, check how your UC platforms are holding up.

Do Your UC Solutions Deliver a Positive Employee Experience?

Do your UC solutions offer the same experience no matter where your team members are located? You may be using one platform or offering UC tools from a few different providers. One-size-fits-all may work. Or maybe not. Now is the time to determine if your current options help employees reach their goals and drive business value.

Allow Collaboration From Anywhere

Think of the time your employees spend using email, virtual meetings, chat, and sharing and annotating content. Collaboration tools should be easy to use and optimize the time employees spend communicating.

Make the employee experience seamless whether team members are in the office, working from home, or doing both. A positive user experience will ensure UC tools are utilized, and video adoption rates are high enough to support ROI.

So how do we do that?

Evaluate Your UC Solutions

First, take a close look at what you have. If you don’t have a written map of your infrastructure, endpoints, and applications, create one now. Also, document which tools and apps your employees use for tasks such as video meetings, chat, and content sharing. I share a resource at the end of this post that includes Excel templates to get you started.

Determine Team Needs

Determine which UC capabilities are essential for your teams and which UC platform is the best option to deliver them. Here are some ways to gather that intel:

  • End-user surveys
  • Feedback buttons on meeting controls
  • Room and device tracking reports from scheduling software and user experience management apps like AVI-SPL Symphony

Flexibility to adapt quickly when needed

Once you’ve got a handle on how your teams utilize UC solutions, consider if you’re prepared for what’s next. Since the pandemic isn’t over, back-to-work needs can still change. You may have a change in business goals or back-to-work policies, or there could be another global event. Are your systems flexible enough to pivot when needed?

Flexibility doesn’t mean you need to increase the number of available tools. While offering too many choices can be confusing, a single solution may not be the answer either. Also, consider how different tools integrate with each to help create a seamless user experience. 

How to Choose the Best UC Option(s) for Your Team

For a deeper dive into choosing UC solutions, read AVI-SPL’s “Determining Which UCC Teams to Join? An objective guide for IT management when making executive recommendations for an optimized enterprise collaboration portfolio” customer advisory board tech brief.

The brief discusses how to evaluate your current UC solutions and employee needs. AVI-SPL customer advisory board input is the basis of the UC review process and examples. We’ve also included links to downloadable Excel templates to document your evaluation.

Determining Which UCC Teams to Join? focuses on two themes: employee experience and IT alignment to business goals. Adopting Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, or a combination of both are example outcomes. Download and read the paper for insights on how to:

  • Evaluate current technology estate
  • Present your recommendations and business impact

The Wrap-Up

Delivering a positive employee experience in the hybrid workplace is challenging since the post-pandemic environment is fluid. Offering the best UC tools for your on-site and remote team members enables a positive user experience and boosts productivity.

What do your teams need to get work done? A single one-size-fits-all solution, or a choice of a few platforms? Evaluate your current UC choices now and build a business case for any changes you recommend.

by | Dec 3, 2020