Unified Communications and the Telework Explosion


Story by Kevin Gulley

At The UC Buyer, we’re big fans of working from home when it makes sense, and as anyone who has been on a conference call recently can attest, we’re not alone. The number of employees working out of their home office at least part of the time seems to have exploded in recent years. One reason for this is the numerous benefits businesses are realizing from the deployment of unified communications technology. Necessary networking infrastructure like VPN-connectivity and secure access to corporate files and applications have been in place for years, but UC solutions like presence management, IM, web conferencing, video conferencing, VoIP and telephony via soft clients represent an exponential leap in the way employees communicate and work effectively from home (not to mention how managers can manage remote employees).

According to Global Workplace Analytics, since 2005 the number of employees that work multiple days per week from their home has grown 80% to over 3.3 million, or about 2.6% of the total U.S. workforce. This growth even continued during the great recession as telecommuting grew by 3.8% from 2011 to 2012, while the overall non-self-employed workforce actually declined 1.5% over the same period. When it comes to less frequent telecommuters (those who do so less than half the time), estimates vary but is probably around 25 million U.S. employees. These are some big numbers and would explain why my dogs are not the only ones barking on many phone calls I’m on.

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