Flexi-work will become a prerequisite for the next generation of corporate workers.

That’s according to new research released by Dimension Data, which reveals that organisations are realising the potential of unified communications to increase employee productivity while offering employees flexible working opportunities.
The findings indicate that productivity remains the critical driver behind organisations’ investment in unified communications.  IT managers believe that employee productivity (3.1 out of 4) was the principle benefit of unified communications, followed by increases in customer satisfaction (3.0) and cutting costs (3.0).
Rob Lopez, MD: solutions at Dimension Data, says: “More interesting is the fact that unified communications can – and indeed will – play a significant role in flexi-working. 
62% of organisations are currently offering conventional mobile telephony, 60% VPN and 58% web e-mail for their flexi-workers. Many enterprises, however, would like to offer VoIP telephony or softphone, indicating that these technologies are very much a future focus of enterprise flexible working and convergent communication strategies.”
Lopez adds: “Unified communications is not a solution in a box, or available from software downloadable off a CD onto the server. It’s about integrating all existing technologies of an organisation including voice, e-mail, fax, instant messaging, and video, to provide end users with an ‘experience’ – a single interface.”
Commenting on the results of the 524 IT users polled in the research, Lopez says employees are very interested in using unified messaging (37%), mobile push email (35%) and video conferencing  (30%) for flexi-working.
“There’s an increasing trend globally for organisations to offer their employees flexible working conditions. While IT managers currently consider employee-related issues such as productivity or retention to be prime drivers to offer employees flexi-work, regulatory pressure will soon play a crucial role.”
41% of the organisations interviewed indicated that their motivation for offering flexible working and all-encompassing communication tools is to increase employee productivity, while 13% of companies want to increase employee retention.
“Organisations must harness and begin to implement the technologies available in the market today, which in turn will empower their flexi-workers and increase productivity,” Lopez adds.
Dimension Data commissioned Datamonitor to study user requirements and decision-maker plans in the areas of unified communications and security. Unified communications ensure richer interaction by integrating most forms of communication (voice, e-mail, fax, instant messaging, video) through a single interface. The research covered 390 IT managers and 524 enterprise users across 13 countries in the US, Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa.