Spokesperson: Dav Sandher, Head of Product at Virgin Media O2 Business
Hybrid working is here to stay. This is especially true amongst SMEs, with research from Virgin Media O2 Business’s report, Medium businesses: Fuelling the UK’s economic engine, showing that employees spend just 25% of their time in the office.
This has resulted in businesses needing to adapt to a new working style. Whether it’s through smaller office space or new technology, businesses have to make changes to ensure that the hybrid model works for both the organisation and those working within it.
Indeed, tech has become essential to the hybrid working story, with 70% of medium businesses reporting that they have more mobile connections now than 18 months ago.
A lack of good tech and connectivity prevents employees from being able to carry out their roles effectively. Up-to-date tech is essential for allowing employees to flourish in the hybrid environment.
And key to this is Unified Communications (UC).
What is Unified Communications?
UC refers to the integration of different communication tools into a single platform. From Microsoft Teams to Zoom, UC allows for seamless communication and collaboration between employees all in one place. As a result, it keeps them connected and engaged.
There are numerous collaboration tools available on the market. As such, it is no surprise that 84% of organisations believe UC to be vital to driving business growth and improving employee and customer engagement.
Inadequate tech not only affects people’s performance, but also has the potential to impact wider business aims, with 48% of respondents in Virgin Media O2 Business’s Tech and the Battle for Talent report stating that outdated tech makes them more likely to resign.
As SMEs grapple with the increasing cost of doing business, growth, productivity and retention become all the more important. With this economic backdrop, it is crucial that organisations provide hybrid workers with the right tools to succeed.
The bridge between tech and hybrid workers
In order to make the most of UC, businesses need to have the right tech and connectivity measures in place to support these platforms.
However, one in three medium businesses name IT and connectivity as the number one internal challenge facing their company. This, they argued, has the potential to cost their business dearly, impacting both their people, and subsequently, their productivity and growth.
As employees spend less time in the office, forging relationships amongst their teams becomes more important, but is also much more reliant on the technology that supports these remote connections.
Therefore, adopting modern tech is vital. The Medium businesses report recognises the impact that tech has on people, with 87% of medium business leaders saying they notice an improvement in productivity when they supply employees with new tech, while 77% notice an improvement in morale.
The impact that tech has on creating a positive, collaborative environment for staff cannot be understated. And this is where UC can really benefit employees by keeping them engaged, wherever they may be.
The right digital partner is key to UC
While it is on SMEs to recognise what UC can do for their organisation, the right support from their digital partners can help them achieve this.
Virgin Media O2 Business recognises this too, offering 24/7 support as well as the option to select additional benefits like fully managed migration, as part of our UC package.
The ability to quickly and efficiently implement UC means that SMEs can reap the rewards. This means improved productivity amongst the employee base, which also has a vital impact on the customer experience. With over a third of medium businesses stating that collaborative tools that support colleagues would improve the quality of work they deliver for clients, it is on both SMEs and their digital partners to ensure that integration becomes a priority.
UC is an essential part of the hybrid working experience. As we enter our third year since the stay at home mandate, understanding the impact that tech has on employees as they navigate working from home, the office and anywhere in between is no longer optional.
However, SMEs cannot do this alone. Ensuring that they have the right digital partner who can offer all the support they need to make UC a reality, is a crucial part of this puzzle.