Research suggests that over 40% of the workforce will be freelancers over the next few years, triggering predictions of a dramatic rise in the ‘blended workforce’.
This hybrid flexible-teaming sees freelancers and contractors working alongside full-time employees. The benefits are clear: these teams enhance organizational agility and enable businesses of any size to adapt more quickly to new market opportunities, thereby paving the way for growth prospects in the process.
But how do you efficiently and cost-effectively manage a hybrid team of remote freelancers, dispersed teams and office-based employees?
The answer, as so often is the case, lies in efficient internal communication and technology solutions.
Here, Elizabeth Hatch, Marketing Director of conferencing provider Indigo Forward, discusses how efficient communications software allows companies to improve their working practices. Elizabeth explains how this approach allows greater business flexibility through remote working, collaboration, online meetings and even virtual interviews — all of which are becoming increasingly essential with the rise of virtual workforces and ‘flexible teaming’.
How to Stay Ahead with Communications Technology
Guest post by Elizabeth Hatch, Indigo Forward
The latest developments in communications technology are far from being the sole domain of big business.
Remote working, video conferencing and cloud-based communications systems now provide cost-effective, practical and flexible solutions for communicating with staff, customers and audiences worldwide.
Startups and SMEs using modern communication and conferencing technology can therefore benefit from streamlined working practices that allow growth and development like never before.
The modern face of communications and conferencing solutions
While video conferencing has been commonplace in businesses for many years, the traditional video conferencing systems relied on participants using the same hardware or software platform, often at specific locations.
Developments in modern communication systems mean participants can now link from any device, anywhere, making virtual conferencing a much more flexible, cost-effective and practical solution to connect with customers, employees and audiences worldwide.
Modern, high-quality, cloud-based, virtual conferencing systems allow participants to link via video or audio to meetings and events from any device – laptop, mobile phone, tablet or PC – using their existing network, whether it’s a private network, public internet, or even an ISDN connection.
The development of modern conferencing technology means businesses no longer have the upfront cost of installing expensive hardware in order to communicate virtually with their employees and customers. So video conferencing can realistically save the cost of time and travel, while improving communication business-wide.
Interactive AV equipment to maximise meeting productivity
Businesses wishing to maximise the productivity of meetings should consider a review and upgrade of their existing AV equipment. Getting teams together, whether in person or virtually, to collaborate on business ideas and solutions, will only ever result in real growth and development if the ideas are efficiently documented during the meeting, and effectively shared and developed afterwards.
Modern AV technology such as the SMART interactive whiteboard provides a computer-based whiteboard system that allows you to save the notes and images from meetings, and share with participants even before the meeting is over.
With the ability to digitally write over files and websites, this smart technology is ideal for providing effective, visual support that works for participants attending in person, as well as those accessing the same system via video or audio conference.
Effective solutions to support the rise of the ‘blended workforce’
At the end of 2016, Forbes published their annual ‘Top 10 workplace trend predictions’ for 2017’. Second on their list (after ‘improving the candidate and employee experience’), was the rise of the blended workforce. This refers to the growing number of businesses benefiting from ‘flexible teaming’ by employing freelancers alongside employees, to provide cost-effective, on-demand employment solutions to help them grow their business.
Their research predicts that over 40% of the workforce will be freelancers over the next few years.
This growing trend means it’s more important than ever for businesses to invest in communications technology that allows them to connect full-time staff with freelancers.
In this way, flexible, practical working systems can be developed, in order to maximise the benefit of using a blended workforce.
So whether you’re a forward-thinking SME considering cost-effective communications solutions, or a larger enterprise looking for new and flexible ways to communicate with your stakeholders, staying ahead of emerging communications technology will ensure your business is perfectly placed to survive and thrive in a rapidly developing workplace.
About the Author
Elizabeth Hatch is Marketing Director of Indigo Forward, a specialist business-grade conferencing provider that delivers seamless, cost effective and scalable communication solutions globally. Serving a multitude of clients since 2004 from across a wide range of industry sectors, the team at Indigo Forward combines over 35 years experience in conferencing, telephony, networks and audio visual solutions.