May 13 2020

Digital Workspace Technology Is Now the Backbone of Modern Business

Collaboration solutions are being put to the test — and passing with flying colors.

When my conversations with business leaders over the years have turned to the modern digital workspace, I’ve sometimes been met with skepticism. I’m asked: Aren’t people less productive when they’re allowed to work remotely? Won’t they become disconnected from the rhythm and culture of our business? Besides, aren’t those collaboration technologies balky? 

As you might imagine, those conversations have taken on a very different tone recently. Now we talk about how to get the most out of these solutions, how to ensure employees remain engaged and productive despite the distance between them — and fundamentally, how to keep business going no matter what happens. In the spring of 2020, high-quality digital workspace technology — once considered a nice-to-have solution for organizations with lots of traveling workers or those that want to offer some flexibility to employees — became a crucial asset for virtually every type of business.

The Tech to Power Remote Work Works

We’re all participating in a massive remote-work experiment. And the good news here is that the technology is holding up quite nicely. Solutions from Microsoft, Cisco, Google and others have become business lifelines, delivering graceful, easy-to-use connections for workers. Cisco Webex logged 5.5 billion meetings during the first part of March, for example, and Microsoft Teams gained 12 million users during the same period. Most businesses report that the solutions are performing effectively.

And that’s critical because we may be entering a new normal when it comes to remote work. For several years now, the trend toward remote work has been steady but slow, as businesses have been adding more flexible work opportunities for their teams while ensuring that such arrangements are more the exception than the rule.

A March ­report from Computer Economics based on survey of IT managers in the second half of 2019 found that 72 percent allowed remote work for particular periods or under certain circumstances. Compare that with the same survey in 2008, when 64 percent of the same cohort allowed no remote work at all.

That trend seems likely to accelerate sharply. A Gartner survey found that 74 percent of businesses plan to make remote work permanent for at least some of their employees even after everyone can get back to the office. Gartner’s Alexander Bant explained in a news release about the survey that companies “clearly sense an opportunity to realize the cost benefits of a remote workforce.” As more employees work remotely, the need to maintain expensive office space declines.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn how to optimize remote work from the experts.

The Many Benefits of Remote Work

Yet while the cost benefits are real, the advantages go well beyond the bottom line. For example, strong majorities of businesses that are fully engaged with digital workspace technology report that the solutions have improved collaboration and accelerated decision-making within their organizations, according to research by Forbes. And 63 percent of workers say the technology has made them more productive. At the same time, for smaller organizations trying to compete for talent with deeper-pocketed rivals, the needs of today’s workers are an opportunity: Almost 70 percent of businesses cited digital workspace tech as very important to recruiting.

In the modern workforce, workers and businesses alike need flexibility — employees want the ability to work wherever and whenever, and organizations need them to work effectively together regardless of location.

Modern collaboration solutions make all that easy for even the smallest business. If the new way of working has arrived, the technology exists to support it. 

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