Reaching employees and keeping them engaged has never been easy, even when everyone worked under the same roof and they could easily be called together to the conference room. There were still distractions and apathy, employees who were out sick and others who just didn’t see why they had to sit around listening to information they wouldn’t need and didn’t ask for. Fast forward to the present, and the challenges are even greater. The workforce is highly distributed, with more employees on the road or working from remote sites. The tools they have to communicate with others in the office and to keep up with company news can be slow, ponderous and time-consuming.
As we found in a recent survey, email remains the top way people communicate with colleagues as well as customers, partners and vendors. And an awful lot of time is wasted and a lot of productivity is lost because of email. Collaboration software maker Atlassian has estimated that on average, businesses lose more than $7,000 per year per employee due to spam and unnecessary or badly written emails.
Sitting second on the list of business communications tools on our survey are cell phones, driven in large part by the rise of smartphones, those user-friendly, indispensable devices that are forever within reach. In our survey, more than 62 percent of respondents said they use their cell phones for work-related communications every day. Mobile phones have given employees the freedom to do their work from essentially anywhere, and not only by making calls but through accessing the internet or cloud-based business applications. People no longer have to be in the office; they can take their office with them. Smartphones also have conditioned workers to being able to access information quickly and easily – just tap the app on your smartphone and it’s there.
And those same mobile devices that make it easy for employees to work outside of the office are also the ones that enable them to stay in close contact with colleagues, collaborate with teammates, get the latest company information from bosses and HR and get work done.
Businesses are turning to branded apps as productivity tools
Recognizing this, many organizations are developing branded smartphone apps that are easy to set up, easy for businesses to customize to address their individual needs, and can be downloaded by every employee onto their smartphones and other mobile devices. Through these branded employee apps, businesses can deliver to employees the latest company news, notifications and targeted announcements; enable easy access to HR and other company applications; and give employees a place to collaborate, communicate and socialize with co-workers. Features can be added and deleted, and these apps easily integrate into employees online, constantly connected lives.
Like any other mobile apps, for these branded apps to be embraced by employees, they have to be able to use them whenever they want, and have confidence that there won’t be any interruptions. They require on-demand access.
That puts the focus on the need for reliable wireless coverage. In this mobile business world, with employees increasingly relying on their cell phones to do their work, a strong indoor cellular signal has become foundational. Branded employee apps only highlight the demand. Businesses that want to leverage the benefits of employee apps need to ensure that when those apps are used, the wireless network is always up and running. They need connectivity.
That can certainly include WiFi, but companies also want to make sure to improve the cellular connectivity coming into their buildings. WiFi has its limitations. It can be used for voice in certain scenarios, but isn’t good for moving voice and a lot of data at the same time, and there can be a lot of data on those branded employee apps. Relying on WiFi exclusively can be problematic, as the network often doesn’t know whether to prioritize the voice call or the data, so the signal can drop unexpectedly. There can also be interference on the network. By contrast, an in-building distributed antenna system (DAS) built on a backbone of fiber cabling can deliver reliable indoor cellular coverage that is inexpensive, easy to install and less disruptive than other alternatives.
And investing in a DAS solution that’s spectrum- and technology-agnostic can position your company to be ready for the technologies that are just down the road without the need to invest in additional hardware. The world is mobile, and that will only increase as we move into the future. The rise of branded employee apps is only the latest example. Having a reliable in-building cellular signal means you are set up for when the next generation of branded apps come along.
Employees are abandoning their desk phones and relying more and more on modern technologies to communicate with each other and with clients. To learn what methods they prefer and how you can guarantee your people can stay connected, download our 2017 Office Communication Trends survey.