If you have friends or family overseas, you probably already know why real-time communications is useful; functionality like chat or easy video conferencing can be a lifesaver for connecting with those far away efficiently.
When it comes to the advantages of real-time communications in the office, though, you may not be fully aware of the advantages.
First, some numbers.
Collaborative technologies such as real-time communications have been shown to increase productivity by an average of 15 percent. It adds between a two and four percent increase in overall revenue. It reduces email reliance by 21 percent (and we all would like that in our work life). And, it decreases the number of meetings by 16 percent (an even bigger benefit than reduced email volume).
This is the case for several reasons.
First, real-time communications aids the mobile worker. You no longer must be at a desk in an office to benefit from coworker collaboration. Smartphones enables us to stay productive even when we are not at our desk, and real-time communications facilitates the collaborative aspect that otherwise is lost when we go mobile.
Being able to collaborate even when not in the office also makes for a happier work life. It lets us go mobile, which benefits workers. But it also cures one of the ills of mobility and working from home, which is social isolation.
But real-time communications benefits employees who are not mobile, too, because it breaks down departmental silos.
While we may still be physically grouped with those in our department, real-time communication effectively opens up communication with coworkers in other departments who may not be in physical proximity.
It connects workers with partners more closely, too. At many young firms, partner organizations are even stitched together with employees via real-time communications in a manner that it becomes hard to distinguish who is actually inside the company and who is just working with the company on a partner or contract basis.
Further, the chat functionality that comes with real-time communications facilitates quick collaboration that often can be hard to achieve otherwise. Instead of workers making guesses, it now is easy to touch base with colleagues for quick feedback from those who know. This leads to better decision-making.
Real-time communications is more than just a business buzzword. It soon will be part of the necessary communications infrastructure for every serious business. And that’s because its business benefits are so clear.