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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.

 

The Future of Work… Balancing Space, Place and Pace

Many organizations are building on the lessons of the past few years and finding a balance between remote and in-person work. As many companies prepare to welcome some employees back to the building (while others may not physically come back at all), it’s unlikely the workplaces we return to will look or function the same way they did before the pandemic.

A “Space” Where Collaboration is Easy

Regardless of your industry or company size, one thing is certain – creative use of unified communications technology can bridge the distance between remote, in-office, and hybrid workers and create an environment and culture sure to keep employees productive and engaged today, tomorrow, and beyond.

Companies will need to find ways for in-person and remote workers to collaborate in ways that feel natural, using UC solutions to ensure seamless communications no matter where they are.

The Connected Work “Place”

When employees return to in-person work, it may not look like the same place they left. Many companies are imagining adaptable workspaces with shared “zones” for whoever is in on a given day and large screens for videoconferencing with employees working remotely.

With the right technology, the workplace of the future will keep employees productive and happy as they seamlessly shift from one workplace to another. TCI offers solutions that make the line between remote and in-person work virtually disappear, allowing colleagues to seamlessly switch from text to video chat and whiteboard ideas in real-time with screen sharing.

Say Hello to the New Work “Pace”

Until recently, the constant connectivity of email and cell phones meant people were often on call around the clock. Instead of reporting from 9-5, workers will instead build their schedules around collaboration, finding times when teams are available to brainstorm together, before breaking apart to complete their tasks.

The right technology is required to make this vision a reality. With a single app, employees can text, video chat, share documents, and collaborate on projects. TCI’s solutions are flexible and easy to use, so employees will feel like they’re sitting next to their coworkers, even if they are on opposite coasts or even different continents.

The Future of Work

The lessons learned since 2020 will be used to build stronger connections. Forward-looking companies will turn to integrated communications to empower employees with the tools to work together seamlessly, regardless of where their “office” is located.

TCI is ready with the technologies you need for the re-imagined future of work. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Experiencing Deja Vu? A Refresher on Helping Your Team Adjust to Remote Work

With Omicron on the march, many of your employees and managers are back to the unique challenges they faced while working at home.

Kids grappling with schoolwork – then add in some young children who can’t go to daycare, or the need to provide care for an elderly parent – and you can begin to appreciate the stress of trying to balance work and family responsibilities.

Work-Life Strategies

Whether you are a manager or an employee, we’re all looking for ways to manage our converging responsibilities at home. With that in mind, here are some strategies that can make life easier…

  • Consider extending the workday (or week) – start earlier or end later – so you have more time for family matters, chores, and catching up with friends
  • Keep the focus on getting the work done as opposed to number of hours worked.
  • Take more breaks to relieve stress, improve your health, and maintain a better work-life balance.
  • Get outside and move… You’ll give yourself an energy boost so you can be more creative, productive, and responsive.
  • Resist the urge to watch TV, view social media or shop online – before you know it you can waste a good part of your day.
  • Dress for success… You never know when you’ll receive a request to join a video call with a client or colleague.

The Role of Technology

Of course, it will take more than changing our behavior to overcome the challenges of working at home. Also essential are having the right technologies, connections, and apps in place to enable work to be performed efficiently and effectively. This is where TCI comes in.

TCI has proven remote workforce solutions for any size organization. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Onboarding Checklist for Your New Hires… Ramp Up Successful Employees in Remote/Hybrid Work Settings

The Covid-19 outbreak forced many companies to allow employees to work remotely or through hybrid work models. However, not all employers were prepared to transfer their entire workflow to a virtual setting. As a result, many organizations have struggled with disengaged employees and reduced productivity.

This helpful 7-step onboarding checklist works for fully remote or hybrid working teams.

1. Early Engagement

Making your employees feel included early on before onboarding even starts is one of the best employee engagement strategies for those workers who work at least a part of their time remotely. Get creative with these possibilities:

  • Send them a welcome package
  • Invite them to the relevant group chat or communication channel
  • Organize an informal virtual get together
  • Explain the career path and reward system for top performance
  • Communicate and keep in touch regularly during early onboarding

2. Secure a Desk Setup In Advance

New employees need the right equipment to start working. These would be things like a PC or a laptop, a high-quality headset, webcam, phone, printer, desk supplies, keyboard, and mouse. Depending on job role and specialization, there might be other equipment and tools they need. If employees are audited and judged based on their performance, remote people need the same tools and working conditions as on-site employees.

3. Tools & Learning Materials

Once you’ve provided the necessary devices and tools, arrange a virtual meeting between your new employee and your IT department or other onboarding person/group. At this point, you have to provide your new hire with the following:

  • Login details for their new company email account
  • Credentials for any remote tools or software they will use
  • Company-wide communication channels and tools
  • Calendar access for client appointments or meetings
  • Proper training on cyber security
  • Digital employee handbooks and learning materials
  • Access to cloud storage and documentation

4. Assign a Buddy for Mentorship

New employees will often have many questions but can be too embarrassed or afraid to ask. To make them feel more comfortable, provide one-on-one mentorship with an existing employee who’s willing to show them all the ins and outs of the company. You’ll create a sense of unity and common goals by tying the mentor’s success to the new hire’s performance.

5. Be Transparent

Be clear about work and performance expectations. Provide your new hire with details on how you plan to measure their performance and a list of short and long-term goals of their job role. After going through virtual training, give your new employee straightforward tasks to start with. Always set clear expectations and give reasonable deadlines. At the end of each successful project, schedule some time for re-evaluation and feedback.

6. Don’t Stop Communicating

Making a first impression and establishing personal connections with teammates so that an employee feels included is more challenging to achieve virtually. Since the employees aren’t always there to read your facial cues, you have to open a constant communication line. In remote settings, over-communicating is better than under-communicating. Onboarding shouldn’t be one-way communication, rather a process, where you socialize and engage the new hire. And this is especially vital for workers with a hybrid schedule.

7. Train Managers to Lead Their Hybrid Teams with Flexibility

There is no one-fits-all solution when it comes to flexible schedules, so your managers and leaders need to learn what type of hybrid schedules work best for your business needs and different job roles within an organization. A great manager will differentiate between essential staff that has to be on-site or on a minimally hybrid schedule, and those that can work fully remote. From that point on, the manager needs to be able to rotate and schedule staff shifts accordingly, with employees’ well-being always in mind.

Personalize to give your hybrid onboarding a boost

Tailoring your onboarding process to each job role and allowing your new hires to progress at their own pace can improve their integration and assimilation to the company culture, regardless of how many days they work on- or off-site.

TCI has technology solutions that can support remote and hybrid work arrangements. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 


Hurricane Season is Here… TCI Experts are Ready to Help Prepare Your Business Continuity Plan

How Business Continuity planning with TCI helps protect your business…

First, our experts perform a thorough gap assessment to identify risks, threats and exposure before it’s too late. Then we recommend solutions and action plans to enable you to mitigate and effectively manage a crisis.

40% of small businesses who experience a disaster never recover…

TCI’s cutting-edge Disaster Recovery solutions are tailored to help protect your entire technology environment – from data and applications, to office computers, mobile devices, networks and phone systems.

Will your business continue to operate when disaster strikes?

Here are just some of the ways TCI’s comprehensive approach helps you safeguard what counts:

  • Determine appropriate risk reduction strategies, remedies, and alternatives for critical systems and networks, including affordable ways to address voice and data protection measures like off-grid power sourcing and secure off-site storage.
  • Enable a remote work program that can keep your business open when your office is shut down during an emergency.
  • Avoid critical data loss or recovery delays dealing with missing databases, disrupted systems, networks and more.

Make sure your business stays connected when disaster strikes. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com

 

The Challenge of Remote Work & Maintaining Financial & HIPAA Compliance

With millions of people working from home in response to the pandemic, many businesses have embraced remote work as the “new normal.” This arrangement looks like it may permanently change how many leaders approach how they work, manage employees and structure their organizations.

But some things will not change…

Enforcement of regulations such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which deals with the security of consumers’ personal financial information, and the Health and Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which deals with the security of patient records, does not stop just because people have shifted to working from home.

No matter where your people work…

Businesses that rely extensively on distributed workers cannot use just any cloud-based solution without incurring risk. So it is critical to verify that your technology supports customer teams working from home with the same levels of compliance as when they worked in the corporate office.

This is especially important when recording interactions and transactions, including any internal consultations that take place when a financial or healthcare professional is seeking clarification or guidance from a colleague. This also extends to those organizations whose teams continue to handle payments over the phone.

Whether your business is in the financial, healthcare or retail sector, TCI offers secure, reliable cloud communication services. We’re ready to assist your business maintain regulatory compliance no matter where your people work. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Remote Work and Hybrid Workplaces… The Future of Work is Now

Remote and hybrid work is no longer the future of work – it’s the “now” of work. But connecting and collaborating with coworkers can be a challenge. We’ve all had our share of setbacks and lessons learned, but at TCI we’ll make sure your business communications are optimized for your future success. We’ve been designing, deploying and supporting technology for over 40 years.

Let’s talk about your new opportunities and the new ways your teams can work together…

  • Cultivating easier collaboration for improved Customer Experience
  • Migrating to the Cloud for flexibility and growth for the “now” of work
  • Industry-specific solutions and tools, including field service apps and distributed call centers for customer support
  • Leverage next-gen apps, including customized Google AI solutions
  • Improving the security and compliance of remote work

Regardless of what the future holds, it’s clear that hybrid and remote workers are here to stay. It’s up to you to keep your employees engaged, productive and safe, no matter where they’re working.

For insights on building solutions and processes for hybrid work that can scale into the future, arrange a planning session with your local TCI experts.

TCI can help your business thrive in 2021. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Moving Beyond Band-Aid Collaboration Tools

The impacts of the coronavirus on business culture have forced a critical need for unified business communication technology that goes well beyond commonly used band-aid solutions.

As we all continue to grapple with social distancing and lockdown protocols, everyone is searching for innovative ways to get back to “normal life.”

This has prompted business leaders to rethink customer interaction and strengthen remote collaboration in their B2B and B2C environments – while making it all work seamlessly.

  • Incorporate everything your team uses to connect and be productive in one system.
  • Choose technology that supports all of your collaboration needs with these three features – Dedicated Workspaces, Task Management, and Shared Files for each project.
  • Create an ideal environment that allows for quick responses with features such as Messaging, Telephony, and Video – no matter what your system includes, it’s important to keep it Unified.

Ready to make the switch from your emergency solution to a long-term solution? We’re here to help. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Strengthening Collaboration in the Evolving Workplace

Today’s pandemic has changed the way small and medium businesses perceive the workplace. Responding to stay-at-home mandates, SMBs with existing remote work programs have expanded them, and those that lacked work-from-home options prior to the pandemic started implementing them.

The Hybrid Workplace

Some employees will eventually go back to the office full-time when the pandemic subsides. Many will continue to work at home full-time, while others divide their work between home and office. The workplace is also likely to remain fluid, accommodating changing business and employee situations on the fly.

People who had turned off their cameras for online meetings started turning them on. In the process, everyone has become accustomed to the occasional technical glitches and security breaches, or scenes of family life playing out in the background. But video conferencing is not the only online tool that has helped sustain businesses…

Cloud to the Rescue

Cloud applications – remote IT and access, real-time collaboration, file sharing, backup, security, and identity management – have proven their value in supporting remote work and keeping businesses operational.

Integrating a mix of old phone systems, web and video conferencing, SMS, file-sharing and other tools often cost more – in terms of both time and money – than it does to move to a unified solution where the applications work together.

Unified, cloud collaboration solutions pull all of the things you need to do every day into one place. Many cloud solutions offer integration with key business applications, such as email, CRM, human resources, and other solutions to help streamline business workflows and help remote workers thrive. For example, your communications can be arranged to integrate with G Suite, Salesforce, SugarCRM, Microsoft Office or Microsoft Dynamics. Unified collaboration solutions also offer enterprise-grade security and reliability safeguards that businesses need.

Making the Transition

As your business transitions from meeting immediate needs to long-term planning, taking a more holistic approach can help you bring people and processes together, and put your business on the path to sustainability and growth as the workplace continues to evolve.

Collaboration in the evolving workplace can be a big challenge. TCI can help make it happen. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.