Flexible hours, the ability to work remotely and more time off will motivate employees to work harder in 2015. But there’s another motivator on this list you might not expect: better communication tools.
This is just one of the findings of a recent survey conducted by uSamp Research on behalf of RingCentral. The results were published in an infographic, Business Communications are “Always On” in 2015.
“What we’re seeing is a change in which people communicate, and how business communication is perceived,” said Kira Makagon, EVP of Innovation for RingCentral. “It has a lot to do with an employee having the freedom to work from anywhere, wanting the freedom to work from anywhere and almost demanding the freedom to work from anywhere.”
Where Business Communication is Headed
Makagon continued that this desire for freedom and flexibility is driving and enabling a lot of the trends we see in business communication today, including these four:
1. Use of Multiple Devices
According to the study, 85 percent of employees use more than one device to communicate at work, with 32 percent of those using three or more devices. “People expect flexibility – whether working from home or anywhere else,” said Makagon.
Study results show 44 percent of those surveyed use their computer most often for business communication, with smartphones second at 36 percent and desktop phones and tablets coming in further behind at 16 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
2. Demand for Instant Communication
Makagon also said that workers “expect instant communication, such as a one-button dial to a conference call or for voicemails to come as text.”
An example of this desire for instant communication is highlighted in the study: 82 percent of workers would rather receive voicemails as text messages. So, rather than listening to co-workers or customers go on and on in a recorded message, they can quickly scan the message to determine what is important.
Further, 36 percent of those surveyed “sometimes” delete voicemails without even listening to them.
3. The Fall of Face-to-Face Meetings
In this global economy, it’s not surprising that face-to-face meetings are falling by the wayside.
A whopping 95 percent of those surveyed say they plan to use business communication tools instead of in-person meetings, including email (48 percent), mobile (20 percent), desk phones (10 percent), text messaging (8 percent) and web meetings (8 percent).
Despite this, Makagon stated that there is still a desire among workers to maintain visual contact with each other.
“If you’re in a remote office, location or are an offshore employee, there’s a drive for visual meetings as a replacement for in-person meetings,” she said.
4. Wider Adoption of Internal Communication Tools
Despite the implementation hurdles and predicted failure of most social business efforts, the survey shows that 44 percent of workers want wider adoption of internal business communication tools. “If you are enabled to communicate outside of the company, you should be enabled to communicate internally, as well,” said Makagon.
“Before, employees were used to using WebEx for conference calls and meetings. Now, they’re expecting easy-to-use tools that almost become part of their behavior to use in day-to-day interaction with co-workers.”
For example, said Makagon, “If I’m an employee and I use Skype for personal communication, I might think: ‘Why don’t I have the same for my business communication?’”
Well, not exactly the same, according to the survey. Skype isn’t “optimum" for business, according to 37 percent of respondents.
Results of the study were based on a survey of 508 workers at the manager level (64 percent), director level (19 percent) and vice president level or higher (17 percent).