Successful Office Life Where the Phone Seldom Rings

It wasn’t long ago when a sales strategy was deemed successful by one measure: it made the phones ring.

If that was the measure in the average office today, sales would seem to be nonexistent. With employees busy with Salesforce Chatter, Slack messages, Box downloads, emails and text messages on their phones and PCs, they almost don’t have time for phone calls, either to make them or get them.

And, with the latest guidance on phone calls to never answer a call from a number you don’t recognize, most people are screening all their calls. That makes it increasingly unlikely you’ll get through to anyone even when you try to connect by “dialing” your phone (the space is full of anachronisms like the dial that hasn’t been on a phone since the late ’80s).

It has changed not only how people communicate with each other, it has changed the work itself. Here are some of the ways work has changed because of this change to e-communication:

  • Sharing documents: The ability to share and comment easily on documents from geographically separate offices has enabled effficiencies unthought of when a fax was a quantum leap over an overnight package or letter for sharing.
  • Texting for work: Ten years ago, texting was something teens did. Today it’s become one of the most efficient ways of getting information. Its popularity is causing some struggle with the implications of employees using text/chat apps outside the work network, one of the unintended consequences of the bring your own device (BYOD) corporate movement.
  • Direct messaging via Twitter: Want to reach someone you haven’t met or to get the answer to a question from a vendor? Often, it’s a direct message on Twitter that gets their attention.
  • Colaboration tools: Tools like Basecamp and Salesforce enable real-time e-collaboration on projects that eliminates the frustration of multiple versions of documents that have beleaguered employees once the electronic age kicked in.
  • Video calls: Talking face-to-face on a phone is no longer from the Space Age. Office technology leaders like Cisco are connecting with Apple’s Facetime, Google Duo and Skype to make them powerful productivity tools.

While the term “phone” persists, it’s clear that these increasingly powerful devices we carry around are often being used for everything but the telephone calls they were invented for.

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