February 10 2017 CloudImplementing cloud technology can benefit company culture — and happy workers are more productive. Businesses can’t function without order. Processes and procedures exist for a reason: to ensure that projects get done on time, information is properly handled, and end results match initial goals. The problem? Sometimes “order” turns into “overbearing” and originally open-minded organizations become my-way-or-the-highway enterprises. If your company culture has gone from reliable to rigid and you’re looking for a way to boost morale without breaking the bank, there may be a solution: the cloud. From cost benefits to take the stress off executives to increased app flexibility for users and agility to improve collaboration, cloud services may offer a way to re-energize your office environment. Here’s how it can help crack your current culture conundrum: Positive Production Before diving into the people part of cloud potential, it’s worth a quick review: Implementing cloud technology comes with real benefits to both the bottom line and day-to-day operations. As noted by CBR Online, 88 percent of companies surveyed say they’ve already implemented at least one private cloud solution, while the expanding impact of open-source clouds is driving even lower per-use prices. According to BetaNews, meanwhile, many organizations are now adopting a multicloud strategy as a way to leverage the exact services they need, exactly when they need them rather than paying for all-in-one solutions. In addition, cloud services offer a new way for users to consume, create, and collaborate on line-of-business content. Instead of requiring users to navigate multiple legacy apps simply to communicate with other team members or access pertinent project data, the cloud makes it possible to unify voice, video, and multimedia services. What’s more, tossing legacy for cloud yields greater network agility and reliability, meaning employees spend more time working and less time harassing IT about legacy systems that aren’t working. Simply put? The cloud offers big-time productivity and cost benefits. Morale Booster That’s not all, folks! In addition to line-of-business benefits, cloud services also have the not-so-secondary effect of boosting user morale and improving company culture. Why? Glad you asked. There are several key drivers, including the following: Improved Flexibility: Adopting the cloud gives employees the ability to work where they want, when they want, and how they want. This makes it easy for employees to take their work with them and collaborate across devices. Streamlined Communication: By rolling out communications such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video calling, and media-rich streaming across the cloud, workers can quickly and easily access needed files or conduct meetings half a world away, reducing the time needed for setup and increasing overall productivity. App Adaptability: Face it — your staff members are already using the apps they want, with or without permission. By implementing the cloud and then making time to talk with users about the apps they love (and have already installed), you get happier workers. The Big Picture Your employees are happier in the cloud. Company culture is shifting away from a rigid model to one that’s more open, more collegial, and hopefully more flexible. However, what’s the long-term impact? Is happiness good for business? Short answer: You bet. Long answer: Happy employees are more likely to stay with the company and are also more likely to go above and beyond in their day-to-day work. And since you’ve reduced their total stress by giving them a flexible, agile cloud environment, they’re more efficient when it comes to completing projects and meeting deadlines. Best of all? Your costs go down. Implement the cloud well and you should see a cost decline; do a so-so job, and you’ll still break even. Sure, your employee environment isn’t quite so neat and tidy, but rigidity doesn’t really pay — flexibility is the future foundation of effective company culture. To learn more about how the cloud can benefit company culture, talk to a Vonage Business representative. About Doug Bonderud Doug Bonderud is an award-winning freelance writer with a passion for technology and innovation. His ability to create compelling, thought-provoking and timely content helps empower the voice of corporate vision. From UCaaS to VoIP to cloud computing, Doug has experience covering all aspects of evolving digital environments and their effects on both people and policies. Linkedin | Twitter December 27 2016 Digital OfficeEmpowering employees leads to increased productivity. So, you want to build a company culture that will help increase productivity throughout the office. It’s an admirable goal with the potential to transform your entire business. Whether you’re a cutting-edge cloud business or a standard mom-and-pop grocery chain (or anything in between), a strong culture can have a big effect on productivity, engagement, and other biz-positive outcomes. But first, you have to get there. And whether your plan is a reaction to a drop in productivity or comes as a more proactive move, there’s work to be done. Here are a few things successful organizations do to boost productivity at the office: They Empower Employees At first, the word “empowerment” in a workplace setting sounds like more buzzword mumbo-jumbo. However, there’s value in the idea that empowerment increases productivity. It lets employees do more on the power of their own decisions, makes them feel their employers trust them enough to give them that authority, and lets them get to work — which is a huge factor behind, you know, staying productive. Can your sales reps cut deals without frantically flagging down their managers through a conference room window? Can your service reps calm down an angry patron without the added pressure of their supervisor’s watchful eyes? Employees work through small things like this every day, and they’ll greatly appreciate it if they don’t have to needlessly jump through hoops anymore. They Make Criticism a Good Thing To some degree, this falls under the general banner of positivity, but it’s big enough to mention on its own. While you won’t convince every employee that “You aren’t doing ____ right” is an opportunity to improve and is not a punishment or personal judgment, your rules and standard operating procedures should reflect the thought all the same. The goal here is to help employees do better without making them feel like they’re being excessively monitored or that their jobs are at stake. Instead, try the popular “compliment sandwich” strategy, where the manager puts every criticism between two compliments — it’ll taste better this way. If you frame criticism as less of a job review and more of a chance to help the business improve, most people will come around over time. They Stay Positive Make a note here, because positivity has an unquestionably beneficial effect on productivity. Like the example above, this one’s more about taking standard facts of workplace life and tweaking perceptions. Ask yourself the following questions to gauge your workplace’s positivity: Do your managers get angry about mistakes, or do they make a serious attempt to listen and uncover the problems that might be causing them? Is your office a dour place, or do the rules — and perks — encourage fun? Do you actively discourage drama, behind-the-back talking, and other positivity-killing shenanigans from the top? A positive workplace is one that values its employees — and valued employees work harder. They Embrace Technology Besides enabling employees to be more efficient, technology is also a boon when it comes to measuring key performance metrics. For example, a restaurant could increase productivity with something as simple as a wireless thermometer in the refrigerator. Suddenly, instead of a beleaguered employee having to record temperatures every hour, the computer does it for them. Additionally, giving employees the right technology to let them work from home when life happens — or even on the regular — is a great way to keep them productive, but on their terms. However, whatever your people do, look for ways to implement cloud technology into your plans. The cloud can boost employee potential through its mobility-enhancing, collaboration-friendly capabilities. Employees value tools that let them approach work on their terms, making tools that offer consistent digital workspaces across a variety of platforms perfect for productivity-boosting initiatives. Something as simple as being able to edit a document on the train home or using email to respond to an inline product note on-the-go can make a big difference, and that’s before considering the larger capabilities consistent accessibility can bring. They Don’t Mistake Efficiency for Productivity We saved the biggest one for last: While productivity does mean how well an office gets things done, it’s often confused with efficiency. And while efficiency is important, it doesn’t sum up the broader scope of productivity. Instead, successful businesses look at how well a job gets done and which tools they can provide to enable it. For instance, it’s good when sales reps efficiently move customers through the purchase process, but it’s better when they provide an excellent experience to customers and keep them coming back. That’s true even if they take a little more time getting the job done. The same goes for that manager who is a bit too soft on the rules when it comes to managing people but gets great results in every department she is assigned to. While you may not be able to turn a blind eye to every rule she lets her people bend (attendance is one common source of conflict here), attempting to understand what drives her decisions can lead to insights that transform your idea of management. Cloud technology can be a major benefit on this front, too. Give that slow sales rep access to a full-bore cloud customer relationship management solution, and he could provide a better experience than ever without adding time per interaction. Your problem manager’s lax attendance enforcement, on the other hand, could be resolved (and indeed, turned into an asset) with tools that allow her to connect and communicate with staff anywhere they happen to be working. As good as technology is at bolstering specific processes and enforcing established rules, it really shines when it’s helping you identify, promote, and encourage examples of good work that can’t easily be summed up in a spreadsheet. Once you understand that, you’ve captured the zeitgeist of productivity. For more tips on increasing productivity, contact a Vonage Business consultant. About Evan Wade Evan Wade is an author and editor from Carmel, Indiana. As a veteran tech writer and lifelong tech enthusiast, he focuses his writing and research on communication, mobility and security. Alongside work with leading cloud technology providers and industry news sources, Evan has extensive sales and end-user marketing experience, giving him a unique view of the individual’s relationship with technology — and how organizations can realize huge benefits from it. Twitter December 6 2012 ArchivesThis morning, we were proud to announce that we had been listed on the inaugural Inc. Hire Power awards which recognize companies that have a significant impact on North American job growth. We were the No. 4 company in Georgia, and the No. 8 company in telecommunications of all companies with notable job growth over the last three years. Because our customer base keeps expanding at an incredible rate, we’re always looking to hire top talent in all fields to continue our commitment to exemplary service and support. Careers To view our current job openings, visit our Careers page or follow us on our Twitter account as we often announce the latest positions. As our page states, we’re a leading-edge company and we handle the majority of our operations on site. This allows us to create an exciting and professionally challenging environment for our employees. By working as a part of a team to build the best hosted phone system for small business, our employees have the opportunity to truly innovate and stay excited about their field. And even though we’ve quickly grown from being a start-up telecommunications company to the preferred phone service provider for nearly 20,000 account holders, we haven’t lost our edge. Company Culture Even with over 200 employees (we’ve grown even more since the Inc. data was submitted), it’s surprisingly easy to stay in touch with fellow co-workers from different departments. Since all of our support professionals are U.S.-based, everyone from Vocalocity works together in the same building in midtown Atlanta. From company parties to charitable fundraisers, or just meeting up for a game of foosball or air hockey in the breakroom, there’s a real sense of collaboration and community at the office. Anastasia says, “My favorite part about working here is the people. It’s a very warm and welcoming environment, and it’s very positive. Everyone gets along and it’s a good place to come to work every day.” Our foosball table may have the team colors of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, but we even the rivalry out by also having a red and black air hockey table in the break-room for all the University of Georgia fans. Gus told us that “One of my favorite parts of working here at Vocalocity is that we’re transforming the way that phone solutions work for businesses. We’re able to sell the solution as an asset to businesses, and I like hearing from customers down the road and hear them say ‘As a result of your product, we need to expand, and I need more phones.’ It’s great to see that return on investment from a product that you help to sell. I’m always eager to address client concerns, and I’m able to really help them find a solution that works best for them.” Working in Midtown Atlanta Another thing we like about coming to the office is our proximity to everything. Being located in a professional high-rise means that we’re surrounded by some of the most innovative businesses in the city. It’s fun to be able to walk to lunch and meet up with friends or colleagues from other offices without having to drive everywhere. And being located right off of a major highway allows us to attract top talent from near and far. For Matt, “My favorite part about working in midtown Atlanta is the accessibility to different locations around us. You can walk up to Colony Square to get something to eat or go shopping, and I just think it’s exciting to be down here.” For those employees who have a long commute or just need to take care of things at home a few times a month, we also use our own phone system in-house which means any employee can unplug his or her work phone and just take it home to telecommute. We offer a generous telecommute program which actually won the Clean Air Campaign’s PACE Telelwork Cataylst award in 2011 for our significant reduction in traffic miles and car emissions in Atlanta. Chloe says, “My favorite part of working at Vocalocity is having the flexibility of being able to work from home when you need to.” As we start looking back on 2012, we’re very pleased to note that it has been our most successful year ever. From being listed again on the Inc. 5000 and the Deloitte Tech Fast 500 for being a fast-growing tech company, to earning this Inc. Hire Power award for job creation and employee growth, it’s easy to see why Vocalocity is a great place to work. Interested in joining the team? See what positions are currently open in our office in Atlanta. About Dave MorrisDave is a content strategist and writer at Vonage Business Solutions, working with teams across the company to build communication programs that enable our customers and assist our prospects. He enjoys living in Atlanta and is an avid gardener, restaurant enthusiast and live music fan.