Cut out commuter chaos with remote collaboration technology

It's August 2017. Your business thrives in the summer, and your company policy ensures key employees are available during this time. 

The heatwave made the train stations hazy. The platforms are empty - there are no trains running this month.

None of your employees can get to work. Now what?

During the London Waterloo upgrade this August, there will be no trains to and from London Waterloo (platforms 1- 10). This coincides with severe disruption along the lines to Waterloo East, London Bridge and Charing Cross for the Thameslink upgrade, and restrictions at Paddington. It is forecasted to be worse than expected, with more platforms and stations to be closed further to the plans announced last year.

Your business system needs to be prepared.

Network Rail’s chief executive Mark Carne has said: “We know there is never a good time to disrupt services to get this work done, but it does make sense to do so when fewer people are travelling. Bank holidays and the summer months can see up to 50 percent fewer passengers using the railway.”

But what if you can’t afford 50% less business? What if summer isn’t your company’s quiet season?

Here's your two worst case scenarios for travel disruption this summer, solved.

Scenario 1:

The business budget for the year is under discussion.

One manager thinks allowing phone-based and online-based employees to work from home with a cloud telephone solution can cut costs, but doesn’t know how to measure productivity. Another manager thinks the cost of providing technology to work from home for each employee will outweigh the benefits. Yet another manager thinks remote working will adversely affect collaboration.

How do you resolve this?

A study at Chinese travel website Ctrip found call centre work was easily measured and easily performed remotely, resulting in a 13.5% increase in productivity. Call recording and reporting technology by Xima can provide detail reports and analysis for call centre workers, while real-time collaboration tools and apps can provide visibility of work in progress across projects and teams.

Contact centre solutions with presence-based communications such as Avaya IP Office can enable employees to access teams and documents across devices and locations. This alone can save travel time, as well as time wasted checking availability so a conference can be held immediately.

Collaboration and company culture can still be continuous with regular video, audio and instant messaging apps. CEO of Jet Lux Hotels Richard Brosal finds it’s possible and preferable to maintain a weekly routine with video conferencing with staff, regardless of physical location. Regular video check-ins are more human-friendly than conference calls or emails. You can reserve this time to boost morale with a weekly re-cap of achievements and specific project progress. This can be part of your company culture with technologies such as Bluejeans Video Conferencing and Avaya Scopia Video Conferencing with different strengths for each.

Scenario 2:

You’ve been working on that new prospect in the pipeline for months now. You are counting on that prospect to make all the difference to your business. It’s finally about to close in the upcoming meeting scheduled this week.

But the main contact has cancelled all meetings for August and September because no one in the company can travel.

The prospect doesn’t have a video conferencing system. If it all hangs on a phone call, or an audio conference, how will your team present crucial information and demonstrate the product?

There are a few options. We can offer solutions that can cater for any customer channel, even if you don't use it for your own business - so you can switch to theirs. For example, if they use a free video app, you can invite them to join your own enterprise-quality business video meeting online.

If the other company prefers other communication channels, you can adapt to your customer’s preferences by offering audio conferencing, group instant messaging and web chat. Collaboration software solutions include screen shares and access to the same drives and projects in real time, so your teams can reach quick decisions and finish documents together, such as signing and sending contracts and immediate responses.

With Avaya IP Office digital phone systems for business, your employees can switch between communication channels and keep the same information, so you don’t have to cut off the conversation while you fine tune clauses.

Real time, mobile collaboration on different devices and across different locations will help your teams work on the presentation and adapt it for a different medium (speaking gig to video, to audio, to written shared documents) at short notice, in real time, with everyone available. You can replicate and share files and screens while talking and practicing your pitch - even if you are stranded far from London Waterloo.

How will your business deal with these scenarios?

This year has brought a lot of delays and disruptions on rail lines in the south. Most recently, on 5 July, London Waterloo and Paddington cancelled trains simultaneously and caused chaos all day.

Your teams can communicate and be more responsive and flexible in a crisis with the right combination of collaboration technology.

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