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Team communication trends in small businesses in 2021

by Eric

Throughout 2020, the Covid-19 Pandemic drastically changed every aspect of our lives. Businesses across the world shuddered in order to stop the spread of the deadly virus and life as we knew it slowed to a grinding halt. It was abundantly clear that the world would never be the same.

It was in this absence of in-person employment that businesses, determined to thrive, quickly pivoted to online and remote work in the wake of shutdowns. Yet interestingly enough, these radical trends turned out to be a productive turn of events for small businesses with the foresight and fortitude to adapt.

When faced with the impossibility of person-to-person contact, the world was forced to move its business as well as most of our lives into a remote mode of living. Thankfully, technology has advanced enough to support this shift. And although it was daunting at first, we soon learned that by making these disciplined changes we could not only help keep our loved ones and others safe but these shifts also led to the realization that there may be more efficient ways to conduct business in a digital space.

The world went remote and businesses that wished to survive understood they had to evolve.

The upside of going remote

It was soon discovered that these changes in the way small businesses operated actually led to an increase in company productivity and employee engagement, not to mention significantly lower overhead. Now that a business didn’t need a physical office, its overhead costs were significantly reduced.

Now fast forward, moving into 2021, small businesses are permanently adopting remote work as well as a number of other trends implemented and born of necessity in 2020.

Versatile communications

The most important of these trends is that of more mobile and versatile forms of employee communication. Gone are the days of straightforward but limited work emails and corporate landlines.

Millennials now represent 50% of the workforce and are projected to represent 75% by 2025. That being said, this is a generation of people that live and prosper on their mobile devices. These new populations are far more tech-savvy and mobile-driven, forcing employers to adapt to communicating more efficiently in this mobile world.  Cross-platform communication is becoming a major trend in 2021 as technology advances and becomes more accessible across the board.

Mobile devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops are rising in popularity as advances are rapidly leveling the playing field. This shift is allowing users across the globe to connect in ways hitherto unknown. What started as a means of staying connected to loved ones through distance and times of difficulty, translated directly into the way the world now conducts business.

These disruptive trends are revolutionizing the online space and the technologically savvy small business must take advantage of these opportunities in order to keep up and stay relevant in an ever-evolving world of innovation. This is especially important if they wish to compete with massive corporations that have the expendable cash flow to keep their thousands of employees efficient and connected across the world, even in the wake of a widespread pandemic.

However, in order to shift their antiquated modes of communication away from cubicles, landlines, and not to mention internal emails or intranet, small businesses are shifting their focus to more versatile communication apps that are specifically designed to increase cross-platform productivity and employee engagement by keeping all of these functions in one place.

Increased performance

The surprising statistic that small businesses have discovered is that working from home is boosting both employee and employer performance by over 13%. In fact, it is this streamlining of remote work that is a necessity to not only survival but is fast becoming a viable strategy in boosting a company’s overall growth and opportunity.

By 2022 over 45% of the US workforce will be freelance. And given that freelancers in the US collectively contribute over 1.4 trillion dollars to the economy, it’s essential for employers to find new and efficient ways to share info and increase collaboration on this ever-growing and shifting team.

In addition to these numbers, 36% of US workers will be a part of the gig economy in 2021. This will lead employers to hire more in the short term as opposed to permanent employment.

Employers will need apps such as Clariti that make it simple to add or eventually remove gig and freelance workers into already established lines of communication, regardless of their term of employment. This will also act as an efficient way of broadening a company’s talent pool as frequent and greater job volume will lead to a wider network.

A healthier environment

Another anticipated normality in 2021 is the widespread adoption of a more green work environment. It is in a company’s best interest to decrease its carbon footprint by saving costs on energy and lowering carbon emissions due to long office commutes and simply keeping the lights on. Ultimately the goal for a lot of small businesses is to no longer need a physical office space.

This new work from home culture is turning out to be a massive boom in the average employee’s work-life balance as mental health and communication are quickly moving to the forefront of the employee conversation. Employers are now recognizing that a healthy work-life balance is essential to employee productivity and engagement. Simply put, the happier and healthier the employee, the more productive and profitable the business; clearly an employee’s happiness is directly tied to their level of productivity.

Integrated solutions

With these new hurdles, in order to stay connected, businesses are turning to more integrated and cloud-based solutions in order to keep entire teams on the same page, regardless of where they are located.

This is not to say that every company’s entire workforce will stay remote but a more realistic expectation is that we will see the development of hybrid work environments where portions of the staff may work in an office while others will continue to work from home. This calls for apps and technology with hybrid functionality built into it.

In order to cut down on the exhaustion and confusion from the necessity of too many communication apps, these integrated communication systems are designed to act as a one-stop shop to save employees from wasting precious time searching through a multitude of apps to function in their job on a daily basis. These technologies are advancing rapidly and services such as Clariti offer a wide range of functions all stemming from a single streamlined hub. From email to messaging and audio calls, small businesses are greatly benefiting from these new innovative opportunities to collaborate closely with team members anywhere in the world.

Clariti offers an integrated software solution that brings all your emails, chats, calls, shared files, social feeds, and tasks in a single app and links related conversations in TopicFolders. Organizations implementing an integrated software solution like Clariti enjoy the benefits of having all their systems work together, smoothly and securely to enable effective collaboration.  Clarity lets you take full advantage of all the benefits that integrated software solutions offer. Using Clarity, if you realize there is an issue that requires a quicker response, you can switch to chat or voice call with just a click of a button; you don’t have to switch devices, applications, or jump to any other rooms or channels.

Diversifying culture and collaboration

These advances will only add to building and maintaining company culture in these remote environments. Throughout 2020 it became clear that isolation was a massive hurdle to overcome for teams that rely on collaboration and relaxed creative environments to thrive. But case by case it is being proven that these new solutions may solve if not excel in bringing teams together in new and exciting ways.

Another major trend that this type of collaboration allows for is that of asynchronous collaboration. This helps employees operate at their own pace more easily, answering emails, calls, or messages when they are able to as opposed to immediately, increasing the risk of mistakes and burnout. This is particularly ideal for employees that work in different time zones as about 10% of remote workers state that operating out of different time zones is frequently the hardest struggle in working remotely from home. Read more about Rokka no yuusha season watch online.

This new emphasis on flexibility is not only responsible for higher productive output but once again it is adding to the overall morale of the small business workforce. Ultimately allowing them the choice to work on their own or with collaborators.

Progressive technology

With these new trends of technological advancement, privacy and security are obviously becoming a bigger concern, especially for teams working with sensitive material or information. Most apps however are designed with state-of-the-art encryption keeping your company’s data safe and sound within the app.

A lot of these services are becoming so advanced that they are implementing AI and Machine Learning into their programming to take their efficiency and creativity to previously uncharted levels. McKinsey’s State of AI report announced that in 2020 over 50% of companies say that their companies have adopted AI in at least one business function.

From voice assistance to predictive filtering systems, and CoBots that interact with humans to optimize processes, the implementation of AI is only going to grow throughout the near future. This will be especially beneficial in automating mundane repetitive tasks such as scheduling or sentiment analysis, allowing workers to concentrate on more collaborative and creative projects at hand.

 A new normal

Ultimately, although there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome in this new normal, an overwhelming number of small businesses are shifting their focus towards these revolutionary forms of communications and maximizing their productivity and creative output for this brave new world.

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