Remote working isn’t becoming popular. It already is. The number of people who work remotely in the US has increased by 140% since 2005, with 34% of US workers saying they would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work from home.
Remote working is now becoming a necessity due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but it was already fast becoming the go-to workstyle choice in the US.
It hasn’t always been the norm, but advances in workplace communications have made remote working more accessible and less stigmatised. And VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone systems in particular have been at the forefront of this rise in popularity.
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Using the internet rather than landlines to function, these phones have introduced a number of handy features that support remote and home working. Let’s explore them:
VoIP telephone systems, by their very nature, support home and remote workers because they make it possible to receive business calls via the internet. In other words, these phones enable you to close deals, help customers, and build client relationships from anywhere in the world (with an internet connection).
For home offices, the best volip phone will allow your colleagues to easily organize audio conferences and web meetings with coworkers in the main office. Plus, VoIP is really simple to use – all you need is an ethernet cable to connect to the internet, which then enables you to access your main office’s telephone system from your home.
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If you’re working from home, then you probably don’t have a receptionist. However, automated attendant services, which are offered by lots of phone system providers, can take your calls and talk to clients while you’re away from your desk.
You can ask your phone supplier to create a professional-sounding, generated message to greet callers, letting them know they’ve called at a busy time and should try calling again another time. 33% of customer are most frustrated by having to wait on hold, so implementing an automated assistant may help to curb that discontent.
If your business has different departments that take different types of calls, then ring groups can help to improve working efficiency for remote workers. Also known as hunt groups, this feature enables your business telephone system to share the distribution of incoming calls to specific groups of phone extensions.
Let’s say your customer support team works remotely – you can set up your phone system to direct all customer support calls to that remote worker ring group. By setting up ring groups for your remote team, you can reduce the number of calls ringing through to the wrong people.
Gone are the days of eavesdropping on staff members to monitor calls – the majority of modern telephone systems come with call recording and archiving features, which can be used to personalise your training methods for each employee.
By recording all calls, your remote workers can also rest easy knowing that their phone-calling skills aren’t dropping below par because they’re at home. Just remember that 90% of employess believe more flexible working arrangements would increase morale, which means most people should be happy to have their calls recorded if it means they can work more flexibly.
With VoIP phone systems, you can easily set up your business phone to forward all calls to your cell phone. This feature is really useful for people who work on the go. Mobile call forwarding means you can walk away from your desk without missing a single ring. Just don’t forget to keep your cell on you at all times.
Bridging the gap between home and office workers in conference calls, a conference bridge enables an unlimited number of employees to dial into virtual meetings from a phone, from anywhere in the world. Conference bridging is particularly useful for businesses with teams that are located across the globe, allowing your employees to join a virtual meeting at the drop of a hat.
Just like toll-free roads are free to use no matter how far you drive, toll-free numbers enable you to call anywhere in the world without being charged a long-distance fee (unless you own a VoIP phone, which means you only need to pay for your internet connection).
You can get a toll-free number assigned to your telephone system by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on a first come first served basis – the toll-free numbers come with the prefixes 800, 888, 877, 866, and so on. Toll-free numbers provide huge financial benefits to workers who travel internationally, removing the hefty long-distance call fees that are usually imposed on regular (i.e. non toll-free) cell phone numbers.
Remote working isn’t remotely new in the US. Both employees and employers have realized the benefits of flexible working – remote working boosts morale, which can ultimately boost profit margins – and now nearly everyone is doing it. And the latest phone systems have helped this happen. Simply put, these devices have transformed remote working from a practice that was unknown at work to an extremely common business perk.