Unify Blog

The only thing that is constant is change. As all organisations face 24/7 competition from around the globe and look to gain better results from their communications investments, the renewed importance of employees’ flexibility and mobility to remain competitive is becoming ever-more apparent. Could the premise of the ‘anywhere employee’, freed from an office-centric role to maximise their productive time, make the difference?

Firms are strongly embracing mobile working principles but so far, have yet to deliver enhanced productivity from that investment. Remarkably, a recent Siemens Enterprise Communications survey of 1000 UK organisations showed that 85 percent of communication devices, used for team collaboration, are now operated outside the traditional company headquarters: companies are clearly devolved and apparently flexible.

One of the reasons is that, despite all the technology and dispersed workforces, organisations are unable to bring all their communications advances together to boost output. Many employees still struggle to manage e-mail, mobile, landline and social media consistently and effectively to provide an integrated service to customers while driving cost efficiencies.

However, technology advances such as unified communications (UC) infrastructure are enabling changes for businesses. The latest UC platforms bring together ‘traditional’ voice and data and next stage tools, like social media, into business operations, providing visibility of where and what teams are doing. These innovations also enable work teams to support partners and customers seamlessly, irrespective of their location or customers’ needs.

UC and other innovations, allied to tailored staff training on how to best use them, is enabling organisations to offer an ‘always on’ service such as ‘one number’ contactability, for customers. This enables employees to achieve a new level of productivity because they can work at home, in the office and on the move as never before. Employees can not only switch between meetings and travel far more easily but also manage the flood of incoming communications far more effectively. So, companies’ overall productive time is increased by the ‘anywhere employee’.

Now that workforces are devolved and more productive, organisations can look at the wider implications of flexible working. Can they reduce the overall office space needed and reduce their property estate? As more businesses mobilise and drive up productivity, it appears that the already ailing stereotype of the company shown in our research – with all operations and communications tied to a traditional HQ – is in terminal decline.

As more sophisticated communication and collaboration tools become available, businesses have the ability to make a conscious move towards a devolved workforce, led by the anywhere employee. By implementing a structured and well-researched flexible working strategy, organisations can adopt workforce mobility that is customised to their business needs.

Anywhereworker#- going up into the cloud

The ‘anywhere employee’ is particularly empowered by organisations’ growing utilisation of agile Cloud computing technology. With the right tools, today’s employees are now able to weave together face-to-face meetings, team collaborations and creative tasks. The future benefits of Cloud are becoming widely understood; with 40 per cent of businesses reporting cloud deployment plans this year. Not only does this enable employees to increase mobility, they can become more involved in the decision-making process.

The ‘anywhere employee’ is a practical strategy for businesses. The benefits of flexible working will go well beyond increased productivity to support a more engaged workforce, particularly from the Generation Y recruits. With the uncertainty surrounding the economy unlikely to go away any time soon, the ‘anywhere’ organisation also has an increased ability to attract and retain the top talent.

More flexible, and crucially, integrated collaboration from platforms like UC is one of the keys to businesses making the most of their communications investments and boosting productivity. In a world of continual change, investment in communications and training to support the anywhere employee is not only desirable, it is essential.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Archive
3 comments on “The rise of the ‘Anywhere Employee’: how businesses can solve the productivity puzzle
  1. David Leach says:

    Rob, great points. You’re spot on. I speak w/ customer IT teams, representing companies of various industries and sizes, and almost universally they’re struggling with issues surrounding keeping a mobile workforce connected and productive, while protecting corporate networks and assets. Unfortunately, many of them get lost in the plethora of so-called UC solution stories and all the vendor noise and promises, that they lose sight of the goal.
    It is easy to get distracted by vendor projects that sound “free and easy” in proposal, but don’t turn out that way in reality. These distractions can turn momentum and excitement, which are needed and well warranted for any potentially game-changing project, into stagnation and disillusionment, and the reluctant resignation of going back to the status quo.
    Enterprise IT teams, take heart. It is, in fact, possible, practical, and affordable to keep, or make, your increasingly mobile workforce connected, productive, and more collaborative than they ever have been before. A solution is closer than you think and doesn’t need to rhyme with sink.

  2. Jeff Vail says:

    Nice post Rob. There is nowhere to go but up. Consider this fact from a post not long ago on Forbes:

    “According to a recent study by Celerant Consulting that followed workers for 11,000 hours across four industries, less than 50% of the time employees spent at work added value to the final product or service. This leaves tremendous opportunities for businesses to improve productivity without disruptive layoffs or expensive capital improvements.”

    Source: Workforce Efficiency Lessons From ‘The Office’ — Matthew Marciniak,

  3. Hyoun Park says:

    Great point. I’d just add that there’s additional nuance to adding productivity based on job roles and activities. Nucleus first wrote about it in 2002: http://nucleusresearch.com/research/notes-and-reports/quantifying-the-value-of-increased-productivity/

    And we’ve continued to build on this model since then. Given Siemens’ work in creating a nuanced UC offering, there are a number of different ways that the video, mobile, and social aspects support this anywhere employee. It’s great seeing UC finally starting to live up to its promise.