According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it takes the average worker 26 minutes to travel to work. This works out to a little over 20 hours a month and 240 hours a year. In July 2017, The New York Times ran a story about “extreme commuters” who travel more than 90 minutes to and from work. The story included these astonishing statistics: “In 2013, 21 percent of commuters spent 60 minutes or longer getting to work, half of those driving alone.”
In addition to squandering time and jeopardizing employee safety, commuting has been shown in numerous studies to contribute to poor physical and mental health, including weight gain, stress and depression. To combat these effects, Select Communications prides itself in working to allow its employees to spend their time more wisely than sitting in traffic: supporting customers through sales, product implementation and support.
In fact, our national sales team is comprised entirely of remote employees. “Our team uses our products and services to achieve greater work-life integration, and allows us to pick from a global pool of talented candidates unencumbered by geography,” says CEO Jerry Goldman. This includes video conferencing and cloud phone calls with sales, customer support teams and customers as needed, increasing real-time problem solving and collaboration. Presence and messaging make it easy to see when specific team members are available, on video conference calls or out of the office. And instant messaging allows many questions to be answered quickly.
We leverage cloud and unified communications technology to connect with team members and customers in other cities, saving the time and money — not to mention fuel — required to physically travel to them. Using these and other tools, we reap the benefits of low-cost services. Coordinating the IT needs of a remote team can be challenging, but having all of our staff using the same platform for audio, web and video conferencing makes this much more manageable. And, because we’ve bundled communications solutions together under one umbrella, it is both affordable and easy to scale up or down as needed.
How you can use cloud technology to encourage better work-life integration in your workplace
The first step in increasing work-life integration is identifying and defining how these cloud technology and unified communications tools can enhance your business. What successful work-life integration looks like and how it is measured in your workplace depends on your business requirements and the needs of your employees. You might measure success by a reduction in the amount of time it takes for tasks to be completed or by service cost savings. And, of course, there are the more difficult to assess but critical factors of employee satisfaction, morale and overall health.
Think about how these technologies can assist in optimizing operations to support your defined goals. If your department holds regular morning meetings, your team could use video conferencing to participate in the meetings remotely from home and then commute in to the office after, avoiding rush-hour traffic. Having your team use instant messaging to ask quick questions, reducing unnecessary meetings, can provide them with more time to focus on key tasks. When inclement weather makes commuting treacherous, you can allow your staff to work remotely, and, rather than reschedule collaboration meetings, they can collaborate via video conferencing so the work can continue.
Learning how best to segment and allocate time is the key to integrating work and personal life for your business and your employees. Work with your team members to identify where and when they are most productive and what times can be spent on other areas of life. This might mean allowing them to work in the morning, with time off in the afternoon for family and errands, and resumption of work in the evening. The Select Communications approach is just one example, but the tools and technologies are in place for you to adopt and increase work-life integration.
For more information about work-life integration, see our recent blog post, Can Unified Communications Drive Work-Life Balance?