Any time, anywhere technology has obvious benefits, enabling home and remote working and making staff constantly available. But its use needs to be controlled.
A fear of being out of touch now outweighs the importance of focusing on the task at hand. Too many meetings are interrupted or compromised by people using mobile devices.
Simply turning the devices off during meetings is not the answer – it undermines all the benefits of ubiquitous availability. Staff also may forget to turn their devices back on afterwards.
However, resellers can deliver new levels of mobile device control, enabling workers to prioritise which calls, emails and IM are received and which will divert to colleagues or be met with a recorded message.
The process can be automated, offering instant response and continuous availability without compromising productivity.
For staff on holiday, only essential calls can be filtered through to their mobiles. The rest can be prioritised, based on caller, time of day or message content and either referred to another worker or to an ‘out of office’ response.
Obviously, users cannot be expected to spend hours updating and amending messages each time they change locations.
Instead, presence information can be filtered to determine which messages are delivered, which are diverted and what response should be delivered to the rest.
Meanwhile, more organisations are adopting mobile working to increase productivity, improve working conditions, boost staff retention and improve flexibility.
For organisations struggling to gain traction with clients in a tough marketplace, message management technology may help.
It also may help improve communication with clients, suppliers and colleagues. Individuals can prioritise communications and determine how much information is shared with external customers and suppliers.
Organisations will also need to address an associated cultural shift. Some people today feel compelled to constantly monitor their mobile devices and respond immediately to incoming messages – no matter what they are doing.
There is no doubt that staff need to be accessible to colleagues and clients. But overuse of mobile devices may actually damage business relationships.
Organisations need to impose clear working practices that ensure interruptions are minimised without accessibility being compromised.
Resellers could also offer seminars that outline changes to corporate strategy and approved ways of working.
Simon Paton is managing director at CommuniGate Systems UK
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