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Unified communications as an enabler of workplace redesign

Joseph Williams (School of Business, Government, & Economics, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Ryan C. LaBrie (School of Business, Government, & Economics, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how advances in unified communications (UC) technologies are enabling radical changes in workplace redesign. Low-cost and readily available technologies allow individuals to participate in work in ways that they could not before. Mobile hardware, networking infrastructure and robust UC platforms are making work less location- and time-dependent. Whereas these technologies provided the catalyst for the reimagining of the workplace in the early to mid-2000s, it was the explosion of BYOD (bring your own device) in recent years that has caused organizations to reconsider innovative workplace usage.

Design/methodology/approach

In this case study on the Microsoft Corporation, business motivators for workplace innovation, driven by performance metrics, are examined.

Findings

Included in the findings are increased productivity, talent attraction and retention, reduced sick leave, reduced communications costs, reduced IT and administration costs, reduced carbon footprint, lower real estate costs and reduced travel and training costs.

Practical implications

While many of these findings are beneficial to both employer and employee, they do not come without a cost. UC typically makes the employee accessible from anywhere at any time and this challenges a traditional work–life balance model. Moving forward will require both employer and employee to find a healthy work-life integration model that balances the needs of the individual with the needs of the organization.

Originality/value

This research documents a workplace redesign initiative enabled by UC at a global high technology company.

Keywords

Citation

Williams, J. and LaBrie, R.C. (2015), "Unified communications as an enabler of workplace redesign", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 81-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBE-11-2014-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited