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UC Today – December 9, 2022

UC Round Table: Team Collaboration in the Future of Work

In this UC Today interview, Bill Dellara, VP Product at VOSS is one of three industry executives discussing productivity and the use of office space and technology solutions for collaboration in the future

Companies and organisations have had to cope with significant workplace changes in the last few years. The UC and collaboration space seems best placed to solve these issues with technological solutions, whether standalone, part of a mesh of integration or used in tandem with other systems. But do we accept that hybrid is here to stay, and if so, what do business leaders do about that?

Presenting our latest Round Table topic, “Team Collaboration in the Future of Work“, we spoke with experts from Akkadian Labs, Smarsh and VOSS Solutions to discuss the developments in the work environment and how far technology can go to solve the problems that arise. We discuss the concerns of business leaders regarding productivity, the use of office space, restoring social capital and how we deal with workforce expectations for 2023 and beyond.

How can tech solve the issue of business leaders’ concerns over productivity?

For VOSS Solutions’ Bill Dellara, visibility is key. With a lot of talk about physical presence to deliver productivity in the workplace, Dellara believes this can be achieved remotely using the right technology.

“For organisations to ensure productivity from a dispersed workforce, their staff must have immediate and seamless access to the UC tools they need to do their job effectively. But most importantly, the organisation can see — in real-time — how staff use these tools to understand staff experience and keep a close eye on productivity.

“UC automation management coupled with UC performance management gives the ability to solve any UC issues before it becomes apparent to the employee and before it becomes serious enough to impact morale or productivity. Actionable intelligence allows the organisation to proactively solve any performance-impacting outage or service degradation, allowing staff to remain efficient and productive, regardless of location.”

How can Team Collaboration technology solutions help enterprises optimise empty offices and property portfolios?

The pandemic has forever changed employee working practices, and Dellara’s view is that businesses need to do more.

“For organisations to attract the best talent, they must be able to offer much more flexible contracts than before. This means that office space will need to evolve too.”
“Fewer employees require fixed desk space, freeing office real estate for more huddle rooms, as the desire grows for staff to meet and collaborate when they are in the office together.”

While UC technology is evolving rapidly, fixed desk phones have become less necessary, with agile connectivity at hot desks much more of a priority. Dellara thinks that meeting room tech is, therefore essential.

“Huddle space and meeting room setups require office-based staff to easily collaborate with remote workers to avoid an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture, so the latest meeting room technology, headsets, video, and collaboration tools are a must.

“All of this needs to be managed by a UC automation and performance management platform to ensure experience and monitor productivity.”

How do you see vendors helping to restore lost ‘social capital’ of employees not being around each other and assisting companies looking to improve their cultures to keep them?

Dellara feels there is a way forward, something he has learned from his experience.

“I’ve been remote working for more than ten years and feel incredibly close to my colleagues, and I’m also made to feel like a valued member of the team. So, it is possible.

“I believe that a seamless collaboration experience is a key to success. By having all the UC tools available to you — instant access to your colleagues through chat functionality, using huddle rooms and messaging boards for ongoing discussions, harnessing video technology for regular face-to-face meetings — all employees can feel they are contributing, regardless of their location.”

Importantly, Dellara feels that this is — often a multi-vendor mesh of technology — must be delivered as a seamless experience, which requires highly automated UC management.

“Having performance management tools that give real-time actionable intelligence is crucial. As soon as the UC service degrades or employees experience downtime, you’re in trouble.”

Regarding technological assistance, Mark Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella say ‘more with less. Elon Musk wants his workforce present in the office. How should modern work develop over the next 12 months for large enterprises?

Dellara at VOSS thinks the horse has bolted and that the landscape for workers has changed.

“Employees now expect a flexible approach to hybrid working, and to attract the best talent, you need to support a dispersed workforce.”

“So, your UC estate must give employees a seamless experience, regardless of location. When staff are in the office, they should be able to connect and collaborate immediately, with flexible hotdesking and hi-tech meeting rooms. When working remotely, staff should have instant access to all the UC tools they need and connect and collaborate with colleagues at the touch of a button.”

As for the immediate future, Dellara advises: “If organisations invest in UC automation and performance management technology, they will be able to quickly roll out new technology and automate day-to-day MACDs, while keeping an eye on employee productivity and experience. And then it won’t matter whether your staff are at home or the office. They will be productive and happy, and your business will flourish.”