No business can afford to stand still. Companies that are responsive, agile and adaptable are best placed for today’s fast-changing business environment. Businesses have to respond to a wide range of factors, some of which may be unplanned or which may arrive much sooner than anticipated. This means having the infrastructure and processes in place to react rapidly and effectively to change.
One of the biggest trends in recent years has been the rise in the number of remote workers and the growth of flexible working.
The Office of National Statistics reports that 4.2 million employees in total are working remotely.
Global workplace provider Regus surveyed 2,200 business owners and senior managers and found that nine tenths of them offered flexible working, including flexi-location.
Flexible working can offer many benefits to employees and employers. It makes job sharing and part-time working easier, can reduce stress, boost morale, increase job satisfaction and improve productivity.
Offering your employees the option to work remotely is not enough; the infrastructure needs to be in place to support them. This includes having a telecoms system with the scalability, flexibility and adaptability to cope with workers based both inside and outside of the office. Without this, the potential benefits of remote working can be lost and, indeed, additional costs can be incurred – both in terms of time and money.
For example, communications between home and office, and home and client should be as seamless as possible. Ideally, no one should have to use special numbers or dial-in codes to reach a remote worker. All employees should have full access to the corporate phonebook; working away from the office doesn’t mean having to make compromises on key company resources.
Legacy telecoms systems like ISDN were designed for an age when almost all business activity took place at a single site. Few employees were mobile and even less worked remotely. This is fine for a static business environment but the number of mobile and remote workers has exploded.
A TUC report found that around 4 million employees in the UK regularly worked from home, a significant increase from 470,000 in 2007.
One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that remote workers have access to the same resources that are available to employees based in the office and that they can be easily contacted by colleagues, clients and customers. ISDN lacks the flexibility to support this. As a result, productivity can suffer and there is the risk of losing business, leads and opportunities.
There are some basic questions to ask about whether your legacy telecoms system can support remote working:
If you are currently using ISDN, there’s a good chance that your answers to the above questions will be no. This puts your business at a disadvantage. However, there is an alternative telecoms technology that offers the flexibility needed for remote working: Cloud-based telephony.
Cloud-based telephony is a well-established technology that is transforming business telecoms. It has many benefits including high call quality, lower costs and greater resilience. It can also offer great features such as secure connectivity, scalability, flexibility and reliability – making it ideal for remote working.
On top of this, it’s also very easy to use, helping to put you in control of communications
By moving to the cloud there’s no physical PBX hardware to manage or maintain on the premises. As well as giving your organisation access to low-cost or free calling, a hosted system puts a huge range of smart call management features at your fingertips. Mobiles and other devices can also be integrated.
If you decide to keep your PBX on-site or if you have recently made an investment in a new phone system you can still take advantage of the many benefits of cloudbased telephony by utilising ISDN replacement technology such as SIP trunking.
SIP trunks are cheaper than ISDN and more flexible in terms of what telephone numbers you can utilise and the locations in which you can have them.
A key benefit of SIP trunking is that it can integrate flawlessly with a cloud-based inbound call management system which enables you to control inbound calls via an easy-to-use web interface. This gives you the ability to make changes to your call plans in real time allowing calls to be routed to the correct destinations whether office or home-based. Often remote working is unplanned, such as when staff cannot get to work because of bad weather or transport issues. With cloud-based technology, unexpected events won’t disrupt your business, due to built-in business continuity features that allow your business to carry on making and taking calls whatever the circumstances.
If you think your current telephony system is hindering your ability to support an agile workforce maybe now’s the time to make a change.
If you have any questions or want to find out how RHM can help you get in touch today.
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