Get Ready for the Truly Distributed Workforce of Now
What drives some businesses to perform well—even in unsettled times like these—and others to falter? The answer may surprise you.
It’s collaboration. That might sound like an awfully “soft” contribution to business success. But I’m not talking about the ability for employees sitting in adjoining cubicles to talk to each other or pass a document back and forth by email. That’s not the world we live in anymore. True collaboration is when employees can participate in conferences, share workflows, work on documents simultaneously, and productively pull together to meet business goals—no matter whether they are in or out of the office, located in one building or spread out around the world. That’s today’s reality.
In the uncharted business territory we find ourselves in today, remote collaboration in particular has become an imperative. With your workforce scattered throughout hundreds—if not thousands—of home offices, you need a way to help them communicate and collaborate while staying safe and healthy.
In this blog, I’m going to go over why a cloud-based communications solution with calling, video conferencing, instant messaging, and other productivity features is the ideal collaboration tool in these unprecedented times.
Bridge the Gaps for a Truly Collaborative Organization
Collaboration requires two things: the right culture, and the right digital communications technologies to support that culture.
Even before our current circumstances, leading companies knew that they had to get their employees working together more seamlessly. They were already hiring an increasingly diverse mix of talent across demographics and roles, including full-time employees, contractors, and gig workers. Getting these different types of employees to work in sync was proving challenging.
According to a recent Gartner study, only 31% of CEOs agree that they have the culture they need to succeed. Also according to Gartner, there are three types of cultural gaps in organizations: First, a knowledge gap, where a cultural ideal exists, but the workforce doesn’t know about it. Second, a mindset gap, where employees theoretically buy into the culture, but don’t actually understand or act on it. And, finally, a behavior gap, where employees act rightly according to the culture, but do not truly understand or believe in it.
We would add another gap to this: the technology gap, where employees understand and believe in a collaborative culture, but lack the tools to act accordingly. In such cases, they need technology that connects them no matter where they are, no matter what device they happen to be using; technology that they can depend on 24/7, virtually anywhere, that doesn’t require huge capital outlays or high operational costs to manage and maintain in a highly distributed organization.
To see how we do this, just look to the cloud.
A Whole New World of Remote Collaboration
Prior to cloud-based communications and collaboration technology, remote working from home could be difficult. Bandwidth issues meant videoconferencing suffered from jitter and latency that made it difficult for participants to see and hear each other. Documents stored on-premises could be difficult—and slow—to access. Being part of a distributed team working on a deliverable required each team member taking a turn on a document and then passing it along to the next person. This was slow and cumbersome, and hampered business agility.
Cloud computing changed all that. Cloud-based videoconferencing tools delivered rich meeting capabilities to any device—desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone. Cloud storage allowed a team to work as a unit and share documents—no matter how scattered geographically they were. Cloud-based collaboration tools increase team productivity. Not surprisingly, RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud report that 94% of organizations surveyed depend on the cloud for at least some parts of their operations.
This move to the cloud by communications service providers means you can thrive in the “new normal.”
You can tell your employees to work from home and expect them to be productive from Day 1. You can conserve cash flow (both for capital and operating expenses) by not investing in and maintaining large-scale communications infrastructures.
What Mid-Sized Businesses Seek, CenturyLink Offers
Mid-sized businesses in particular are looking for a simple, yet powerful, cloud-based business-calling-and-collaboration solution that can engage colleagues, partners, and customers both in and outside of their organization seamlessly and effectively virtually anywhere, at any time. In speaking with our customers, we found that mid-size companies desire the following attributes from such a solution:
- Easy Set-Up and Service Management: Simple experience that gets them up and running in days, not weeks or months, with the ability to create power users
- Cost-Effective with Predictable Budgeting: Price transparency is crucial, so companies know exactly what they’re paying for, with no surprises when the bill comes
- Troubleshooting Help: Access to support whenever and wherever they need it, not just during regular business hours
This candid feedback helped us design CenturyLink Engage™ specifically with mid-sized firms in mind. Offering both high-quality audio and video conferencing, virtual teams can meet online from their home offices reliably at any time. Cloud-based file sharing supports teamwork, as does instant messaging and integration with popular cloud office productivity and collaboration tools. It can be implemented in a matter of days, with no IT expertise required, to help organizations adapt to a business world that appears to be in flux for the foreseeable future.
See how CenturyLink Engage™ can help your mid-size business stay connected no matter where you do business.
This content is provided for informational purposes only and may require additional research and substantiation by the end user. In addition, the information is provided “as is” without any warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. Use of this information is at the end user’s own risk. CenturyLink does not warrant that the information will meet the end user’s requirements or that the implementation or usage of this information will result in the desired outcome of the end user. This document represents CenturyLink’s products and offerings as of the date of issue. Services not available everywhere. Business customers only. CenturyLink may change or cancel products and services or substitute similar products and services at its sole discretion without notice. ©2020 CenturyLink. All Rights Reserved.
 “3 Culture Conversations Every CEO Must Have With the Head of HR,” Gartner Inc., 2019.