As knowledge workers adjust to doing their jobs from home, it’s important to make their work lives as easy as possible. This means helping them to connect with colleagues and customers as if they were in the office. The right set of collaboration solutions can help. And, when properly implemented, push forward a long-term vision for workforce productivity.
A standard meeting and video conferencing platform is crucial for all remote workers, educators and students. Key features for productive meetings must include: use of video, application and content sharing, recording and multiple audio connectivity options.
As businesses roll out these features at scale, licensing and security must considered to support the required workforce and comply with corporate governance. Applications such as Cisco Webex have built-in security features and protocols to ensure that critical information is protected during meetings and conferences.
Mass notifications and communications are critical to keeping remote employees and students informed, especially during a rapidly evolving crisis . Many organizations have adopted tools, such as Webex Events, to hold large-scale events to keep employees, customers and students up to date on what’s going on.
Key features of online events and remote distance learning solutions should include the ability to show high-definition video, share content, listen in via a stream and interact with the speaker or panel via a Q&A.
New headsets allow home workers to take calls privately without interruption. They can work with a corporate unified communications platform and be paired to the user’s mobile device. Which headset is the right choice for employees will depend on job role. For instance, a remote call center agent will have different requirements than an HR representative.
Many new headsets allow for active and passive noise cancellation to block distractions. They often have single or dual ear option and Bluetooth connectivity to allow the user to move around a home workspace. In addition to these options, it’s good to consider headsets that have a long enough battery life to get workers through the day.
Depending on a job role, an IP phone may be necessary to continue the communication tasks that an employee would otherwise perform at the office. Many Unified Communications platforms enable an IP phone to register from a home office. For organizations that have workflows tied to phone systems (IVRs, hunt groups, etc.), this is a crucial component for business continuity.
Other employees will decide that a smartphone client will work just fine. Features like click to dial, IM/Presence and outbound dialing will be enough for the worker to have a professional experience. Pairing the right headset will help deliver quality calls in this environment. Consider bandwidth and connectivity for longer-term planning related to remote work.
As more and more people join virtual meetings and turn on their cameras, the need for higher quality, better resolution cameras becomes important. Web cams built into laptops typically don’t have the resolution and software to provide a professional experience for many home workers. The angle of many laptop cameras can be a distraction.
For heavy video users, organizations should look at personal video devices or dedicated units that are purpose built for high-definition video. Users such as executives, healthcare workers and “video power users” need to be equipped with the tools to do their jobs. Many new video devices, such as the Cisco Webex DX70 and DX80, feature the ability to digitally whiteboard, particularly useful for ideation sessions.
As businesses have shifted to a “team of teams” model, so have toolsets. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Cisco Teams have become a common way for organizations to have persistent chat across teams and devices. These tools allow for multiple chat groups or channels; sharing, storing and multi-editing of content; along with a number of native integrations to better enable existing business workflows. Many of those tools can be used in conjunction with existing unified communications and meetings platforms.
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