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The communication challenges remote workers face on a daily basis

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  • Plantronics

Employees today are no longer chained to their desks nine to five (or longer), Monday to Friday. According to the recent ‘Mobile Collaboration Survey’ from Plantronics, eight out of ten workers say that their companies allow flexible and mobile working. 

But while the ability to work from anywhere at any time can boost employee productivity and efficiency – not to mention engagement – it also poses some challenges, especially for IT professionals.

Another Plantronics study, conducted by Spiceworks, surveyed 400 U.S. IT professionals and found that 60% say that their organisations don’t fully understand the challenges faced by remote workers, who still need to collaborate with each other regardless of where they are. As a result, IT is both dealing with increased requests for support from remote workers – 92% of remote workers call IT when they have technology issues – and grappling with the best way to equip these individuals so they can be effective at their jobs. Among survey respondents, 44% have increased support for mobile workers in the past two years, and 53% expect this trend will continue over the next two years.

According to the research, the key technology issues for remote workers are:

• Unreliable internet (49%)
• Background noise when on calls (28%)
• Distractions (16%)

Remote workers depend heavily on collaboration apps, relying on an average of three, all of which require some user proficiency to maximize their potential. Top tools include Skype for Business, GoToMeeting, Dropbox, Skype and WebEx. Yet only 50% of IT professionals offer users guidelines on how to optimise their remote working experience.

The research shone a light on small businesses too. These firms also support mobile workers by providing:

• Mobile phone data plan
• Mobile internet access/hotspot
• Headset for laptop/mobile device (76% of organizations purchased a professional headset; half were Plantronics)
• Internet access at home 

Employee mobility is clearly the way forward for small businesses. By providing staff with the right mobile devices and the ability to get online anywhere, along with guidance on best practice, these companies can enable employees who are on the road to never feel too far from the office.

What challenges are today’s employees facing and what are the available solutions?
The way we work is changing. Increased mobility and collaboration mean a wider range of working styles is emerging. Collaboration is about working together to get the job done. And it can only happen when employees are able to share ideas, opinions, and information—in other words, when they can communicate with one another.

Our research also provided key insights into employees who rely on technology to work remotely. We found they were divided into three main types: the Flexi Worker, the Road Warrior and the Connected Executive

Flexible professionals
Flexible professionals can work from a fixed desk, but more often move around both within an office and between offices. You’ll also frequently see them taking work home. They’re always adjusting to different environments, and must cope with different levels of background noise and variable connectivity. These employees face challenges such as background noise when on a call, and collaboration with colleagues that they aren’t physically close to, as well as being out of the information loop when working remotely. 

For Flexi Workers, our solution is:
Voyager Focus UC, the Stereo Bluetooth headset for both PC and mobile calls with the sophisticated noise cancelling and immersive stereo sound.

Mobile professionals 
Whether they’re on the way to a sales meeting; en-route to fix a customer’s equipment; or heading off to a conference or exhibition, they’re always on the go. Connectivity can be an issue both when travelling and at customers’ premises. One of their biggest issues is that these employees have no control over background noise. They face challenges such as communicating when noise or bad connections make it tricky or getting connected when on the move. 

For Mobile Professionals, our solution is:
Voyager 5200 UC, the Bluetooth headset featuring the most advanced, adaptive noise cancelling and WindSmart® technology that cancels out disruptive noise enabling you to be heard clearly regardless of where you are.

Connected executives 
These key decision-makers are often involved in important meetings. They’re major players resolving major issues and you’ll see them creating high-level opportunities too. A faulty connection or out-of-date information has a massive impact not just on their productivity, but on the image of the company too. These employees face challenges such as staying connected across all devices, hearing and being heard on a call when they’re a remote participant and background noise. 

For Connected Executives, our solution is:
Savi W740, the wireless system allowing workers to simultaneously listen and communicate on both their PC and desk phone, offering full mobility in the office.

Engaging with Plantronics is about more than just getting a headset.
We provide a comprehensive warranty on all our products. Please check www.plantronics.com/warranty for full details.

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