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Goodbye long commute, hello new era of Smarter Working and mobile technology

By Duncan Barnes, Plantronics Lead sub-Saharan Africa.

Johannesburg, 15 Nov 2012
Read time 3min 50sec

Have you ever taken an in-depth look at the amount of hours spent commuting to and from work? Tried to add up just how much productivity has been lost due to the commute? If an average business has approximately 300 employees commuting every month from various locations, the number of hours wasted sitting in a car is downright shocking.

Putting the math to work, it is possible that approximately 600 hours are wasted by employees travelling to work every day. This means, while sitting in traffic, you are losing valuable time that could be used to increase productivity, attend to e-mails, follow up on customers' requirements and ensure a better working environment for employees.

"What's shocking is that this mass waste of time is happening in an era where technology has grown leaps and bounds. Unified communications is enabling people to connect and work from anywhere. Mobile phones and tablets are ushering in a whole new era of convenience and an "Always On" culture. Despite this, some employers are still bound to the fact that if my employee is not at the office, they are not working. So why do we keep doing it?" says Duncan Barnes, Plantronics Lead sub-Saharan Africa.

Let's look at six (6) key upgrades that allow businesses to adopt "Smarter Working" policies and enable a successful work-from-home environment - one that is not just a wish, but a reality:

1. Unified communication and collaboration: With programs from Microsoft (Lync), Cisco (WebEx), Avaya, IBM (SameTime) and other big-name vendors, there is no reason why employees working remotely cannot communicate with businesses and other team members where the experience is the same as if they were at the office. Most, if not all, of these applications have the ability to share documents, whiteboards or even initiate video conferencing.

2. Video conferencing: Having various players in the market such as Polycom, Radivison, Tandberg and others, supplying face-to-face conferencing is making remote working easier and more accessible than before. Skype and iChat on smartphone devices and tablets are just another convenient way of managing the need for video conferencing.

3. Remote capabilities: Using remote capabilities applications has an element of allowing access to your work PC or server, thus preventing the burden of driving into the office for any small task such as quotes, CRM updates and general administration work.

4. Cloud storage: The "cloud" is becoming more than just a buzzword and more of an impressive enabler of Smarter Working. Companies and individuals can now store the majority of their data in the cloud, giving the user the ability to access this information from anywhere at any time - allowing them to get on with the job, no matter the location. Many of these services are free, and growing in popularity and variety, including services from Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, Apple iCloud, and more.

5. Tablets/smartphones: Tablets and laptop/desktop replacements have made working from anywhere (on the go, coffee shop, client office) and home offices easier than ever.

6. Advance Bluetooth devices: With various Plantronics devices, one could easily connect to their notebook soft client, mobile and tablet using the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC. It has the ability to connect to all three devices, plus the ability to share accurate presence with work colleagues and management through the smart sensor technology on the Voyager Pro UC.

The BIG question now is - why are employers not embracing this new era of work? Isn't it about time we start rethinking the way we work and the location of work? In the past, our parents had a place of work. In this day and age, work has become a task we can complete from anywhere at any time. Working at home has many positives and has become a legitimate option for employers. By cutting down on travel to and from the office, we will not only save time, but we will become more productive. Say goodbye to the old style of working and hello to the happier, newer style of working - Smarter Working.

Editorial contacts
Plantronics Duncan Barnes (+27) 10 500 8793
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