Lockdown 2.0 is upon us and temporary work-from-home arrangements have just become a bit more permanent. The question is, do you have the technology to cope?

You sent everyone home to work in March. Maybe budgeted for a big rise in mobile phone usage. Maybe bought a Microsoft Teams subscription to keep everyone connected and on track. Then you made all the physical changes. Separated desks. Put socially distanced work bubbles in place. Spent a small fortune on hand sanitiser and brought some or all of your team members back.

Now it’s time to work from home again.

How’s your 2020 going? 😏

On a serious note, it seems reasonable that a hybrid work-from-home and on-site arrangement may soon become the working pattern of the future. And that means that the makeshift solutions you put in place during the first lockdown will need to become considerably more permanent, so everyone has access to the tools they need to do their job properly no matter where they’re working from that day.

VoIP, the deskphone in your pocket

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It’s a technology that allows you to make calls over the internet rather than through fixed phone lines. And it’s packed with features that you can’t get with a traditional phone line.

For starters, it allows for everyone to use the same business phone number from anywhere, whether they’re at home or in your COVID-secure place of business. Hosted VoIP is held in the cloud, so your people will not need any additional tech to access the system. They can simply make and receive calls using an app on their smartphones or through a desk phone with bluetooth – no hardware investment or special handsets are required, just an internet connection.

From the customer’s perspective, there’s only one business number to remember, and you can also give each employee their own extension for super-efficient call routing. Customers don’t have to scramble around looking for a personal mobile number to reach the right person.

The other obvious advantage of VoIP is that you can use it absolutely anywhere … from an off-site meeting, from the boss’s holiday cottage, or when you’re stuck on a delayed train.

When you can travel again, of course!

Will it support everyone working from home?

The real beauty of VoIP is that it’s a permanent, future-proof solution. You can have as many people as you want using it, no matter where they are in the world. Your team would need to spend a little time getting set up with a VoIP telephone system but, once it’s in place, you can simply ‘flip a switch’ and have the whole team working with a regular handset from the comfort of their pyjamas from home. All while keeping the business unchanged from the customers’ point of view.

Adding phone numbers and extensions can be done in a matter of seconds. Directing calls through the VoIP portal saves the hassle of your staff claiming expenses for using their own phones, too.

For employees, VoIP makes the whole remote-working gig a LOT easier. Everything integrates, which means your VoIP can sync seamlessly with apps like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, so everything has the same look and feel. You’re not wasting money on multiple separate stand-alone solutions that don’t integrate, and there’s no learning curve.

You can sync business contacts, create meetings, share files, edit documents through a central hub, host video conference calls, create group chats …not to mention the delights of recording meetings to be played back at a later time for employees who slept in late that day were on another call. Whether your people want to take calls on a desk phone, smartphone or laptop, they can do it their way.

It’s the same functionality you previously could only get around a conference table. Now, you can communicate responsively, get instant feedback and make decisions quickly, and you don’t have to set foot inside the office to do it. All the usage data is right there on your dashboard, so you can see what everyone’s doing and make data-driven decisions.

What’s the ££ impact?

Generally, VoIP is much more affordable than legacy phone systems. Since it’s in the cloud, you’re eliminating the cost of hardware investment, line installation, maintenance and upgrades. Calls between internal numbers are free as no connection to the phone network is needed. And there’s no danger of your comms being put out of commission because of hardware failures.

Obviously, there are many solutions on the market and some are more cost-effective than others. But it’s very flexible. You can choose a contract or a contract-free monthly plan. Choose minutes or unlimited call plans – whatever you need, we can tailor a solution to suit.

So, stop panicking through the pandemic and lurching from crazy rule change to the next. VoIP is one weapon in the arsenal that’s flexible and scalable to see you through any type of business ‘normal’. It’s exactly what you need in this half-and-half world.

At TFM, we’ve loved all things remote before it was cool, or necessary. For more information about your options when implementing or upgrading a VoIP system, feel free to reach out. We’d be delighted to help or organise a demo. It’s what we do!