As I sit in my home office in California reading about the snowstorms that have battered half the U.S., I can’t but think to myself that unified communications and collaboration tools should really be part of any company’s communication strategy. Imagine if people didn’t have to worry about not making it to the office during or after a snowstorm because they have the tools and technologies to let them be just as productive while working from home?
Watching my twitter feed for unified communications (#ucoms) during these storms, I noticed that several people commented on their ability to keep working and be productive thanks to UC, even when they weren’t able to get to the office. Of course it’s always nice to get a snow day and take a break now and then, but there are times when you may have an important conference call, or a deadline for a project that has to be completed, or you want your important clients to still be able to reach you when necessary. UC lets you access and respond to your messages, share and work on documents with remote colleagues, and have the same communication tools as in your office from anywhere in the world. Mobile UC applications, teleworking, web collaboration, video conferencing, and of course IM all make it easier for us to get our jobs done from any location, while still communicating and collaborating with colleagues, partners, and customers.
Many people focus on the time savings of these UC tools – whether they can save workers 20 minutes a day, or even an hour a day. But that’s not what’s really important – the focus should be on how UC and collaboration tools help us be more efficient, effective and productive at our jobs – regardless of where we are. The ability to stay in touch with colleagues and customers, and to get your work done from home during a snowstorm (assuming there’s no power outage) has a much greater impact on your organization’s bottom line than the ability to save 10 minutes a day.
When planning a disaster recovery strategy, unified communications capabilities should be part of this strategy. It won’t solve all your problems, but it will help your workers stay in touch and be productive – unless they’re outside having a snowball fight with their kids.