Your Unified Communications as a Service clients definitely had an advantage going into 2020. By March, about two-thirds of all knowledge workers were working remotely full-time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cloud security provider Netskope points out that occasional remote work isn’t unusual for many knowledge workers, for example, spiking around major U.S. holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Netskope research reveals, however, that stay-at-home orders approximately doubled the number of people who work remotely throughout the average workweek.
There’s a big difference, however, in cleaning up some work at home to take the pressure off the first day back after a holiday compared to being forced to work at home for an extended period.
As a managed services provider (MSP) or value-added reseller (VAR), you need to keep in mind that when people aren’t in the office, they’re still a part of your clients’ organizations. And as a trusted advisor, you need to equip your clients’ teams with the tools they need to do their jobs most efficiently. UCaaS provides your clients with features such as VoIP telephony, video conferencing, enterprise mobility, and messaging.
So, are you offering your clients UCaaS solutions, or are you letting your clients’ knowledge workers make do with their own PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones at home?
Why DIY Remote Work Systems Aren’t Enough
Remote workers without the right tools can’t maintain the same level of productivity that they could in the office. Becky Linahon, Marketing Manager at communications system provider TetraVX, says one challenge users can face is video conferencing. “Because video conferencing is such a strain to the network, most remote workers commonly struggle with the quality of service since they’re dependent on their home network,” she explains.
You’ve probably also advised your clients to have their employees use a virtual private network (VPN) to log into business systems securely. However, Linahon points out, “Unfortunately, when it comes to at-home internet, we lose the ability to troubleshoot certain aspects of the network that can lead to poor performance.”
Why UCaaS is a Better Solution
Instead of leaving remote workers to establish ways to communicate and collaborate on their own, a UCaaS platform can provide them with all the tools they need to do their jobs.
Linahon says that MSPs and VARs can match the solution to their clients’ specific needs. “When looking to support remote workers who require multiple forms of communication, including messaging, video meetings, voice, and team collaboration, it pays off to look for a single, fully integrated platform. This simplifies training, consolidates reporting and analytics for admins, and streamlines IT management,” she says.
She adds that a unified communications platform also gives users flexibility. “Each communication tool serves its own purpose. Messaging may be a great alternative to voice and video calls, but it’s still important to make sure you’re using the right tool for the right job. Messaging should not be your go-to for things like brainstorming or group discussions, but can be a great alternative for simple tasks and keeping in touch throughout the day,” Linahon says.
MSPs and VARs can improve experiences for their users even more through training. “We can better educate our remote workers on how to best utilize their network when working from home. Best practices like turning off streaming services or disconnected unnecessary devices from the internet are simple ways to make sure they’re getting the most out of their at-home work experience.”
Linahon says, “Providing your remote workers the best practices and tools to efficiently work from home is key. When vetting UCaaS solutions, consider the security measures the vendor has taken, the simplicity of use, and available training materials to support your end users.”
Providing Solutions for Social Distancing and Beyond
Teams that were suddenly forced to work from home may be laboring with unreliable communication, limited access to the business network and cumbersome tools for connecting with co-workers for collaboration. Businesses using UCaaS solutions, on the other hand, had the agility to continue their operations during this crisis with a reasonable degree of productivity.
Work-from-home orders may continue or be reinstated throughout 2020 until a coronavirus treatment or vaccine is discovered. However, there will always be businesses with knowledge workers who choose to work at home or work remotely from time to time.
Talk to your customers and prospects about UCaaS solutions that can support their operations today and give them an edge moving forward.