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eBook… How to Fortify Your Business for an Uncertain Future

Connections matter – it’s one of the big lessons we’ve all learned in the past 2 years.

When it comes to business you need to keep collaborating, keep communicating and keep working from anywhere.

But how do you know if your business communications are strong enough to withstand future challenges?

Maybe you’ve put some quick technology in place to make it through the pandemic. Or maybe you’ve been chugging through it all with a legacy system.

That may be working for now, but what happens when the next crisis hits? The answer to these questions, and more, are covered in The Only Certainty is Uncertainty

This whitepaper by industry thought leader Frost & Sullivan will give you expert advice, statistics-backed insights, and clear recommendations to help you fortify your business for whatever comes next.

Need remote and hybrid working solutions that go beyond band-aid communications tools? Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Enabling Innovation & Productivity in Your Hybrid Workforce

Innovation and productivity are key factors in the growth and success of any company. When workers were suddenly forced home in March 2020, many thought innovation and productivity would plummet during the pandemic lockdown. Against expectations, by November of 2021, productivity had increased.

A study by Microsoft showed that 82% of company leaders felt their companies were at least equally if not more productive than before the lockdown. Now, after two years, some experts predict productivity across the economy will rise by 5% as a direct result of remote or hybrid work.

What Factors Contribute to Productivity?

Productivity now hinges on employees’ adaptability and ability to function independently in non-traditional work environments. Here are three important elements that play into productivity…

  • Tech Savviness: Getting all employees up to speed using video calls, text messaging and file sharing may take time in the beginning but pays off in the end by ensuring that everyone is seamlessly connected to the workflow and that communications occur naturally.
  • Time to Focus: Some workers feel less distracted when working from home, while others desire the structure of the office. The challenge for managers is to find the balance between giving employees the independence to work on their own and making sure they remain integrated with the rest of the team, no matter where they’re located.
  • Employee Engagement: Employees who are deeply connected to their companies are 55% more productive than those who don’t have the same feelings. Listening to employees’ needs is important, as well as ensuring that those who choose to stay remote feel integrated into the community.

What About Innovation?

Innovation happens best when teams come together and create solutions. Companies that encourage creativity stay ahead of the curve, while those that don’t make the same investment will quickly fall behind. Structures that support innovation include…

  • Effortless Communications: Teams that have free and open conversations with each other innovate on a higher level. The creative energy that arises from the ability to iterate ideas is what drives companies to develop new products and stay at the top of the field. Apps with shared documents and instant communication features allow coworkers to collaborate easily without getting bogged down by slow connections or switching between applications.
  • Time for Teamwork: Whether employees are in-person or remote, prioritizing structured time for everyone to come together is important for fostering new ideas. Creating an intentional schedule specifically for brainstorming sessions ensures coworkers have the time to build trust and feel comfortable sharing ideas. Using screen sharing and video chatting apps can facilitate innovation by enabling everyone to feel like they’re in the same room.
  • Community of Trust: Fostering an environment where it’s safe for ideas to fail as well as succeed is important for innovation. Finding ways to establish connections is always a challenge – even more so without the nuances of personal interaction. Being able to seamlessly switch from text messaging to video chatting removes some of the barriers to communication between coworkers and helps everyone feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts.

It’s clear that investing in communications technology and ensuring that everyone is up to speed will be key factors in supporting productivity and innovation in 2022. For example, communication solutions with integrated collaboration and team meeting apps help bridge the gap between remote and in-person work, providing ways for everyone to feel confident and connected.

Your local TCI team is ready to support your innovation and productivity initiatives with customized technology solutions. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Ignoring Your Voice System or Service? Complacency Can Put Your Business at Risk

The best communications systems are virtually invisible in your organization. Your teams, customers and partners rely on the integrated voice, data and video capabilities these systems provide to stay connected, collaborate and work more efficiently. When things are going right, it’s easy to be lulled into complacency. But the longer your software has been neglected, the more likely it is that someone can find a way to exploit its vulnerabilities.

Collateral Damage

Proactive service updates help ensure your business is ready to smoothly handle unexpected events and cyberattacks on your communications system. When you keep your communications platform up-to-date with the latest software and features, it’ll be protected with fixes that address security flaws and close security holes that could be exploited. TCI ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

The Cloud is Ideal for Remote and Hybrid Workforces

Some of the changes you implemented to deal with the pandemic will likely remain in place as you and your teams take advantage of convenient and cost-effective new ways of working. That means it’s time to take a closer look at cloud solutions.

A purpose-built cloud makes it easy to provide unified and scalable communications to anyone, anywhere, on any device. Your entire organization benefits from increased mobility, richer team collaboration and better ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences. And you no longer have to worry about managing, scaling or securing a premises-based system. Outdated technologies, obsolete systems and invisible vulnerabilities are no longer a costly IT issue or a risk to your business.

With TCI’s decades of experience and understanding of cloud-based communications and our solutions, you’ll have everything you need to smoothly transition to the cloud in a way that makes the most sense for your organization. And as new technologies emerge, we’ll help you integrate them in innovative ways so you can unlock all the capabilities cloud communications have to offer.

It’s Time to Get Going

Whether your next steps are to immediately start planning your migration to the cloud or to simply get current and stay current with software updates, now is the time to make your move with TCI.

We have the solutions, expertise and relationships in place to help ease your transition to the cloud. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Leading a Hybrid Workforce? 5 Ways You Can Help Your Team Succeed

In the coming weeks and months, companies will reopen their offices and allow employees to return – with a few key differences. Many firms expect to adopt a hybrid approach in which employees split their time between the company’s facilities and their home offices. Here are five effective strategies for leading your teams…

1. Build a Healthier Culture

Blending time in the office with work at home, employees may benefit from a better balance, finding it easier to log off on remote days and finally getting that social connection on in-person days. Managers can improve workplace culture by actively fostering positive connections and relationships with and among team members, further helping to reduce stress levels.

2. Eliminate “Proximity Bias”

Managers and employees are both at risk of falling into the same trap of relying on or trusting those they see most often. This “proximity bias” can be overcome in several ways:

  • Create and set expectations about how team members will communicate with each other. For instance, set guidelines for who should be invited to each meeting.
  • Pay attention to how you spend your day and be sure you give all team members a fair shake.
  • Set a basic rule that all meetings should be held on videoconference – whether employees are in the office or not.

3. Ensure the Right Tools are Available

Videoconferencing, webchat, and other collaboration tools will retain their importance in the hybrid environment. Some upgrades to the company’s office space will be required to manage the needs of both types of workers. Businesses may need to improve the video and sound quality of conferencing technology, as well as provide the right resources for hoteling. Remote working technology should enable employees to switch between the company’s workspace and their home offices seamlessly.

4. Reconsider Productivity Metrics

In the pre-pandemic world, managers often drew a direct line between an employee’s time in the office and their productivity. A better approach post-pandemic is to manage productivity rather than measure it. Strategies include:

  • Inspire your team by focusing on your organization’s mission and purpose.
  • Support and care for your employees, and they’ll go the extra mile for you.
  • Communicate more, and when you do, be more transparent.

5. Focus on Mentoring

Coaching and cultivating employees can be achieved by holding more one-to-one meetings and using the time to discuss both work and personal issues. As it becomes harder to separate work from personal life, creating an understanding of individual pressures can lead to collaborative solutions that help relieve stress. In addition, using tools like screen-sharing will increase efficiency, effectiveness and buy-in.

The new technology and world of hybrid work may seem daunting and challenging, but TCI has the solutions and expertise to help you lead a successful transition. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

8 Signs Your Employees will Flourish as Hybrid Workers

As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, businesses are readying plans to reopen their offices and bring back their employees. Already, though, it’s clear the new workweek will look different than it did pre-pandemic. Thanks to technology and remote working tools, employees transitioned seamlessly to home offices while managing to increase productivity. As a result, hybrid work – straddling home and office – may very well become the new normal for many people.

Can your team succeed as a hybrid workforce?

Here are eight signs that indicate they’ll flourish in this new environment…

1. Focus Time is Productive Time – The home office is generally quiet, comfortable and less stressful. This makes it more conducive for projects that require concentration, but team members can still hold an impromptu web chat with colleagues to share information and insights.

2. Learning Time Happens in the “Culture Space” – The traditional office has been transformed into a space that fosters social connections and builds relationships. It’s not only a hub for learning but also for unscripted collaboration. Here’s where having coffee or lunch with colleagues stimulates new ideas.

3. Every Day is a Team Day – Hybrid workers leverage quiet time at home to focus on projects and in-person meetings to brainstorm ideas. Technology makes it possible to continue conversations in collaborative workspaces and via video. Some teams set up regular times to connect socially and to build on ideas. The overall result: collaborative time, at home or in the office, is more productive.

4. Flexible Hours – When employees own their own schedule, they can manage work-life balance more efficiently ― and accomplish more in both worlds.

5. Masters of Multitasking – Hybrid workers know how to make the most of their time without infringing on other tasks. They’ve learned how to get a few things done around the house while also giving full attention to work.

6. Focus on Goals not the Clock – One thing learned from remote work is that performance isn’t measured by time, but by accomplishments. Employers trust employees to get things done and employees feel more empowered. Showing up at the office is not for more face time with the boss, but for learning new skills and engaging with colleagues in working sessions.

7. Solve Client Problems, from Anywhere – Mobile technology and unified communications have made it possible to serve the needs of clients for some time now. But hybrid workers value these capabilities more than ever. They make it easier for them to transition from work to home without missing a beat.

8. The 3-2-2 Work Model – One of the benefits of remote work during the pandemic was the flexibility employees enjoyed. Despite the challenges of managing family and work in the same place, they found remote work made it easier to balance competing demands. For those continuing a flexible work schedule after the pandemic, the 3-2-2 model may be helpful ― three days in the office, two days at home and two off.

TCI can help your business with technologies to support hybrid work arrangements. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

How Technology Enables Our New Normal… Hybrid Workplaces, Lifestyle & Healthcare

While no one has a crystal ball, life may never return to what it was before COVID-19. We’ve experienced major shifts in how we live, work, learn and communicate. The word “hybrid” best describes these changes and what the future may hold. We may not return to the past, but we won’t be in pandemic mode either.

The acceptance and use of new technology has moved at warp speed. Adoption of advanced technologies in operations, supply chains and data security has moved faster than most decision makers could have imagined. Technology has also enabled huge advances in remote work, operations, customer service, and healthcare…

Hybrid Workforce

“You want to work from home?” While some businesses offered this as a perk, most frowned upon it, citing the importance of “face time.” If there is one thing the pandemic has proved is that working remotely has not hurt productivity. Cloud communications enabled teams to interact and collaborate, using tools like video conferences, file sharing, shared workspaces and messaging. Without this operational support, productivity and team interactions would suffer. Many workers in highly skilled, non-customer facing jobs (e.g., finance, insurance, IT) can work remotely very effectively. Advances in cloud communications have made this possible. What’s more, many employees like the flexibility and report less stress.

Hybrid Lifestyle

Online shopping, already gaining in popularity before the pandemic, has soared. Home delivery of goods and food, curbside pickup and other hybrid shopping habits are here to stay. Customers like the convenience, wide product selection and speed. Businesses have responded to this demand by adding digital customer channels like chatbots, mobile apps and other ecommerce tools.

Contactless payment methods and digital workflows are two examples. Using document automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and other automation tools, banks have quickly moved away from in-person interactions, enabling customers to upload all pertinent documents including image files and PDFs. Need to see a driver’s license? The customer takes a picture using their smart phone and uploads it to their online application. The bank representative facilitating the application is probably sitting at home, not the branch.

Hybrid Healthcare

One of the most dramatic changes is the adoption of telehealth. The technology was available before the pandemic, but both providers and patients were reluctant to use it. The pandemic has helped everyone recognize the value of telehealth. A follow-up appointment, often just a conversation with the healthcare provider, is more efficient and convenient done virtually. When a patient comes down with a bad cold that is “going around”, the provider can diagnose the problem with a video call, keeping the sick patient at home. Going forward, expect to see a blend of in-person and virtual care.

All These Innovations Reside in the Cloud…

Businesses don’t have to worry about buying hardware or software to quickly expand their capacity. That capital can be used to transform operations, hire new talent or introduce new products.

Cloud communications can give your businesses more flexibility and options than ever before. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.