When you hear the term office management solutions, what do you think of?
Tools for allocating employee capacity and dashboards for managing team projects?
Perhaps you think of software that monitors your need for physical office supplies – ensuring every laptop has a charger, and no pen runs out of ink.
But when we strip back the term to its core meaning, an office management solution is simply anything that facilitates the functioning of day-to-day work.
And as more hybrid ways of work take hold, communication and collaboration are becoming the new means of office management.
Tools that facilitate smooth collaboration and communication across hybrid teams are now vital solutions for office managers, helping to keep them connected, informed, and productive, and ensuring that business runs as usual.
With the return to the office still up in the air for businesses all around the world, let’s look at a few of the communications solutions that are supporting hybrid teams, and how office managers can use them to maintain business as usual.
1. Cloud-Based File Hosting
For businesses applying remote or hybrid working models, there is one thing office managers must prioritise if they want to keep business running as usual.
That thing is: extending the capabilities of the office to anyone, regardless of where they are working.
Cloud-based file hosting solutions are just one way of doing this, helping teams to reduce email clutter, easily locate shared files, and support more seamless collaboration, as well as faster review and sign off of group projects.
Some of the most popular solutions in this area include Dropbox, Google Workspace, and MEGA.
For office managers, efficient sharing and location of files is crucial to keeping operations running smoothly.
In a report from Wakefield Research and Elastic, nearly 1 in 5 US office professionals ranked “digging for files” as the number one problem to be resolved in order to support a future of remote work.
2. Real-Time Communication Apps
Short, in-office moments – like popping over to someone’s desk to confirm something – can have a major impact on office productivity, keeping projects moving steadily ahead.
But these dynamics can easily be lost in translation over email, and videoconferencing solutions often lack the required spontaneity factor.
Real-time communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams or Basecamp can make it easy to bounce ideas off your colleagues in real time and replicate those on-the-spot interactions that would usually be had in a physical office.
Plus, these tools are also great for keeping specific departments and project teams running from afar.
Rather than flooding a WhatsApp group chat with everything from personal to project-based messages, real-time communication apps allow staff to create specific channels for different topics, projects or objectives.
This helps to keep remote team communications clear, focused and productive.
3. Unified Communications Solutions
A Unified Communications (or UC) solution is something that strategically connects your business communications channels – from phone, to email, to videoconferencing and instant messaging – and consolidates them into one single application or service.
One number, one inbox, one dashboard – for all of your business communications.
For managers supporting a remote or hybrid team, UC provides a number of advantages:
- Communications costs are consolidated into one single, easy-to-manage payment
- Less vendor contracts and relationships to handle
- Simpler onboarding and training of new staff
- Reduced connectivity issues.
Finally, UC has been shown to provide a 52% boost in workplace productivity, a 45% improvement in efficiency, and a 25% increase in operating profit.
In short, UC keeps remote teams running smoothly by optimising business processes and improving employee capacity, while giving everyone the flexibility to communicate and collaborate how they want.
4. Cloud Telephony (with Geo-Redundant Architecture)
In terms of solutions that support business as usual, cloud telephony is a pillar of high performance for remote teams.
At the height of the pandemic, telecommunications networks were under immense strain due to the surge of demand caused by almost universal remote working.
For many offices, this reiterated the need for a strong and resilient communications infrastructure to keep operations running as normal.
Leading cloud telephony solutions with geo-redundant architecture offer just that, by managing your business telephony service from multiple data centres in different locations.
There are two key benefits to this:
- It balances the load of network demand across additional systems and power supplies, enabling consistently strong performance
- In the event of unexpected downtime, it keeps communications up and running by allowing your service to ‘failover’ to a secondary data centre.
This means that the right cloud telephony solution will keep your communications up and running through pretty much anything.
Overlooked Office Management Solutions for Hybrid Teams: Key Takeaways
At its core, an office management solution is anything that serves to make the day-to-day actions of colleagues possible.
With the definitive return to the office still up in the air, and more teams being driven by remote or at least hybrid practices, office management and the achievement of business objectives are being increasingly driven by communication and collaboration tools.
From our perspective here at NFON, these are the vital communications capabilities that office managers overseeing hybrid teams should not overlook:
- Cloud-based file hosting for efficient sharing and location of files, making your team’s digital assets as accessible remotely as they are in the office.
- Real-time communications apps for recreating of-the-moment team interactions, and for keeping team communications orderly, efficient and focused.
- Unified communications for making your systems easier to manage while boosting productivity and efficiency across your team.
- Cloud telephony (with geo-redundant architecture) for strong, resilient performance backed up by a reliable failsafe, to keep your communications up and running no matter what happens.