Zen and the Art of Workplace Communications

Remember when your parent(s) worked 9 to 5. Went to the office. Came home. Ate dinner at six. Watched TV. Did it all again the next day.

In the “old days”, workplace meetings were something held in in conference rooms, on the desk phone, or (informally) at the water cooler.

Not anymore.

Today, work isn’t necessarily a place to go, it’s a thing you do—at a traditional desk in the office, in the coffee shop, or even at the kitchen table whether it’s 9 am or 9 pm. Even if you don’t see someone sitting at a desk in the next office, it doesn’t mean they are not working. They are.

Today, the evolution of the workplace has caused a communications revolution in the workplace.

For the first time ever, four generations are working side by side, each with a preferred way to communicate. Millennials and Gen Xers, the first generations to have been “connected” virtually since birth and who are expected to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025, prefer digital communications: email, messaging, social media, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, baby boomers and the silents/greatest generations prefer face-to-face meetings and telephone conservations.

The question is how to ensure meaningful communications between those entering the workforce, those at the sunset of their careers, and everyone in between.

The answer is Unified Communications and Collaboration.

In a one-size-does-not-fit-all world, the key is to choose a UC&C solution with all your end users in mind and one that accommodates all communications preferences.

In a 2018 study, CITE Research found a clear case of app overload among 2,000 knowledge workers surveyed globally. Respondents reported toggling between 10 different apps an hour—and cited the need for a single communications platform.

Our modern, tech savvy workforce demands simpler, more cohesive communications. Instead of having multiple vendors and multiple applications, today’s workforce, regardless of generation, wants a system that enables seamless, real-time communications and collaboration via audio, video and screen sharing from any device and anywhere.

If you’re considering moving to Unified Communications and Collaboration systems (as are 83% of your peers), here’s what you need to consider. 


  1. Do Your Homework. Research how people really work. Do they use a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone? Where do they work: in the office, on the road, at home? Is video sharing important? It’s critical that you survey how and where your users prefer to work before implementing any UC&C solution.
  2. Keep It Simple. As the zen master would say. How will users integrate the system into their jobs? Your number one job is to train your users on what communications functions are available and how to use them effectively and efficiently.
  3. Choice. Give users the ability to use the device of their choosing and the operating system they are most comfortable with. Look for easy, user-friendly applications that work seamlessly across all devices and generations whether that device is an office desktop phone for the silents and baby boomers or a smartphone for Gen Xers and millennials.
  4. Get Buy Ins. Get your internal stakeholders (IT, finance, management) involved in choosing the best solution for you whether it’s an on-premise solution maintained by an internal team or a cloud solution hosted by an external service.
  5. Training. How you implement your new UC&C solution will have a direct impact on its effectiveness. Make sure your team clearly demonstrates how to use all the system features. Show users how to share screens, set up meetings, use video, etc. You want to deliver a positive experience that leaves users wanting to experiment and use the system.

The most important thing to remember is to choose a system that delivers the features and functions your users need most. How do they work? Where do they work? What do they need to collaborate? For instance, if you are in a financial institution, security may be most important. Commercial organizations may be more concerned with enabling mobile and remote users. Depending on your requirements, you can choose from cloud, on-premise, and hybrid systems, or a customized system. We can help you choose the right solution for your organization. Learn more about our extensive UC&C portfolio at blackbox.com.


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