By Gregory Brunn, Systems Engineer II
Have you ever worked with somebody that was constantly on the road bouncing from site to site? I used to work with a guy that was never in the office. In fact, he spent more time traveling than he did in his cubical. We can all relate to the frustration of trying to track down these road warriors! How are we suppose to know when, where, or how to contact them? Do we call their cell phones? Home phones? Just how do we reach them? Back then, we had a valuable, corporate resource but no one knew how to get in contact with him. Even worse, he would respond back a day or two later when it was too late.
Traveling co-workers, telecommuters, and remote employees are a staple of the modern day workforce. With this mobile workforce comes the challenge of ensuring the same level of accessibility as a worker who is assigned to a desk. They must be available for both internal employees and the customer. We shouldn’t have to miss important calls or voice-mails just because we are not in the office. The truth of the matter is that we don’t have to; technology allows us to easily address these issues. Technology can extend our capabilities to allow for a true collaboration experience. Think about it for a second. In the world of phone communication you‘re not trying to call a device, right? You call a person! Why should we bounce from phone number to phone number trying to reach someone? Don’t we have the tools that provide for true mobility available to us?
Cisco has offered Unified Mobility in Cisco Unified Communications Manager for years now. Unified Mobility extends communication beyond your IP desk phone. Unified Mobility has several features that are aimed at enabling the mobile worker and ending the frustrations that can come from lack of communications. Looking beyond mobility there is a whole new era of products aimed to deliver best-in class collaboration services as well. Take Cisco Jabber for instance; Jabber allows employees to extend the collaboration tool set to any communication device employees choose to use. In fact if my old co-worker had been using Jabber, we wouldn’t have had a problem communicating when he was out of the office. He could have been running Jabber on his laptop, mobile phone, and desktop and his presence status and device preference would have been known throughout the company. Employees and customers would have connected with him on the first try instead of possibly getting him on the third or fourth! Not only that but with Jabber we could have quickly shared desktops and worked collaboratively on a presentation instead of emailing back and forth.
The technology exists today to reach mobile workers with ease and efficiency. If your organization is currently not already capitalizing on this, you have to ask yourself why. It is no longer just a matter of keeping up with the times. With BYOD making a huge impact in the workplace we need to take advantage of these devices and enhance the device‘s functionality.
There are applications that allow these devices to interface with your corporate infrastructure, whether the user is in the office or out. So, why limit your company? The borders of where people want to work are growing. These borders are extending beyond the office more today than ever before. Collaborative applications enable employees to work where and when they want. The tools are here to maximize employee satisfaction, create synergistic teams, and produce results faster. With collaborative tools, tracking down your absentee office-mate is no longer a headache. We are in the age of collaborative freedom and the excuses are disappearing.