Deskphones, softphones and mobile phones – in today’s workforce, there’s no one size fits all for communication choices. In fact, an ideal business communication solution would work seamlessly across desktops, headphones and mobile devices.
Avaya recently surveyed more than 1,200 full-time workers in the U.S. for its “State of the Desktop 2019” report. While softphone applications have made inroads, the desktop communications device continues to dominate business usage and seems likely to continue serving in this capacity for the foreseeable future.
The survey shows that selecting the right type of unified communications (UC) device can have significant implications for employee productivity and both employee and customer satisfaction.
For IT professionals, one of the key findings is the importance of matching the device with the work environment. In the Avaya survey, 75 percent of respondents said they conduct their work in a private office, in a cubicle or in an open floor plan setting. Employees who have a private office or cubicle are much more interested in having a speakerphone than those who work in an open floor plan, who have a higher preference for headsets. A desktop telephone with a cordless handset was the top choice for office workers.
Mobile employees and those that work at home are much more likely to use a mobile phone as their primary communications device. It’s interesting to note that 10 percent of full-time employees now work at home, compared with 7 percent in the 2018 survey. Employees who work at home are also less likely to be interested in or require video than the average worker.
About 30 percent of employees use a softphone application, and 10 percent use only the softphone for their business communications. The survey also indicates that softphone usage is higher for employees who work from home.
From a generational standpoint, younger workers age 18-29 are more likely to use a personal mobile phone as the primary business communications tool. They are more likely to work in a factory or service environment without a fixed office and are also less likely to work in a home office or mobile office situation.
In an office setting they are much more interested in using a softphone application with a headset than older age groups.
Areas of Improvement
When asked what they would change about their current device, audio quality tied with ease of use as the two highest areas of desired change. That indicates IT professionals should select devices that are purpose-built to provide quality audio for the business desktop.
Survey participants also expressed high interest in the desktop phone being more like their personal smartphone, being more personalized and being able to send and receive text and chat messages. While many employees like to use a desktop device handset, they prefer not to be tethered to the device with a cord.
It is expected that employees’ personal smart phone usage is influencing their expectations as to the business desktop experience. This is also driving a new expectation that their business communications device should support omnichannel communications – not just voice.
Avaya suggests that CIOs reassess their desktop devices on a regular basis for several reasons. First, the devices should be aligned with current business needs and incorporate functions and features desired by employees. Other issues include the location where work is performed (fixed desk, mobile or home), the need for clear audio in voice calls and potential applications for video calls and conferencing.
Matching the right device to each employee can improve employee job satisfaction and increase productivity. It also demonstrates that IT is supporting the business unit, providing effective tools to the workforce.
Download the full report here: https://news.avaya.com/cp-state-desktop-report-reg