Working from home is rapidly becoming the new normal worldwide. Businesses are quickly modifying their strategies and operations to accommodate it. Ome area of particular interest is that of integrating VoIP for Business into the remote working scenario.
There has, admittedly, been a slow move towards remote working as the digital infrastructure spreads and improves in recent years. Internet access through WiFi has become common in public spaces like hotels and malls and through fiber connections to homes.
The pandemic has accelerated this process, mainly through companies forced to have locked-down workers working from home. A second driver has been the effect on bricks and mortar retail outlets. Foot traffic has plummeted, retail shops are closing, and the malls they operate in are closing, some never to reopen. Retailers are forced into an e-commerce environment. It’s no longer developmental but survival strategies.
The primary means of communications internally and with existing and new customers is now electronic, including VoIP.
What is Remote Working?
How do we define remote working? One view is that it is working from home. Another is that it is working from anywhere outside the office. However you define it, VoIP for Business makes for easier and more cost-effective communications for its workers and customers.
In VoIP, voice traffic is converted to data traffic and routed over the Internet. As such, it completely replaces your existing PSTN connection. VoIP is managed over the cloud. No messy additional cables, no new links, unless you want or need a dedicated voice connection.
Users log in with their personal credentials to make and receive calls.
In summary, the main advantage, outside cost reductions, is the ubiquity of contact. Anyone can make and receive calls from any smart device, anywhere, just as long as they have an Internet connection.
The first and most obvious advantage is that team members can be anywhere, local or worldwide, and can make or answer a call as if they were in the office. It means that communications with and between team members and customers can carry on without being affected, bringing benefits to the team and customers. If the VoIP environment supports video-conferencing, you can create an integrated communications environment.
In terms of functionality, you don’t lose a thing. Call forwarding, Call Recording, and call routing are still available. Voicemail, IVR, and voice prompts are also available.
The bean-counters love the reduction in long-distance and international call costs. Internet calls can be free and are always significantly cheaper than calling through a traditional PSTN connection.
The usual question is about call quality. Because VoIP calls route over the Internet, quality is variable since the route the call takes can vary between calls, and the quality is that of the poorest link.
That is not usually a problem. Mobile 4G connections tend to be spotty and can dropout without warning. Using WiFi to make the Internet connection adds a level of quality and stability way above mobile connectivity.
However, most of the time the connection problem is out of your control. Reconnect, and you will probably find a better connection.
One of the questions around the management of remote workers is how much management and how to do it. Traditionally, workers would come to the office between set hours and carry out their tasks from there. A manager would monitor attendance and other employment aspects like sick leave, annual leave, and the like.
That model is probably no longer appropriate for remote workers, and that is where VoIP is essential to provide the interpersonal communications necessary. One model is to give the workers tasks, where the only management success criteria are completion to time and quality. How, when, and where the work is carried out is immaterial, just so long as those criteria are met.
In this new model, as noted above, VoIP is critical. Easy, cost-effective, and reliable communications between remote workers, sometimes on different continents, is vital to successful teamwork and individual team members meeting their delivery targets. The costs of carrying it out over traditional PSTN lines is prohibitive.
VoIP will support video-conference, and that allows face-to-face individual and group conversations.
In today’s new normal, VoIP for Business is a vital part of an organization’s communications portfolio.