As Government restrictions continue to tighten, it looks as though businesses everywhere will be required to adopt longer-term remote working conditions for the majority of their staff.
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, nearly half of all adults in employment were working from home due to last year’s social distancing measures. Now that efforts to maintain distancing throughout the most recent wave have only increased, it’s fair to say those numbers are likely to continue to grow.
In short, 2021 is shaping up to be another challenging year for everyone. Ensuring your business has a robust communication strategy in place for internal teams and customers has never been more important. This is where having the right — make that best — telephony system is going to be most vital.
So, where do you even begin to start?
On-premises, hosted telephony or both?
Whenever we think about remote working, it’s common to think only about using VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol) via a hosted telephony system. After all, a hosted voice system is stored in the cloud, with calls, signalling and features handled off-site.
Not only is VoIP typically cheaper than traditional calls but hosted telephony systems are also incredibly agile, accommodating a myriad of communication and collaboration requirements for teams working remotely. This includes multi-media messaging, file-sharing and the ability for users to set up a personal device to function as their work telephone; receiving and making calls using an existing business telephone number from their mobile.
For internal teams, scattered across multiple locations, this can prove invaluable for making sure day-to-day operations continue as usual. For external-facing teams, such as customer support and sales teams, this can mean all the difference between excellent customer service and the permanent loss of a client due to a communication breakdown.
Sounds like a pretty open and shut case, right? Well, not exactly.
Not everybody has the infrastructure or internet speeds to accommodate this kind of setup. For some organisations, an entirely on-premises system will be their only viable option. These systems are known as on-premises PBX (Private Branch Exchange) and are typically what we think of whenever we think of a traditional analogue or ISDN phone system.
At face value, PBX systems do appear to lack some of the qualities afforded by cloud-based systems. However, they still provide a solid foundation for building a comms strategy that will enable staff to work remotely, especially when integrated with the appropriate hardware. There are some extraordinary handsets and products available to broaden your on-premises system’s capabilities, giving teams greater functionality and flexibility.
If your business still uses traditional analogue and ISDN lines, it may be possible to implement a hybrid solution. Hosted PBX systems (also known as IP-PBX) combine the best elements of an on-premises system with all the benefits and flexibility of a system that’s hosted in the cloud. This means they can handle voice calls, video calls, data, and link up with a wide range of applications essential for teams collaborating both on-site and out of the office. In short, they make unified communications across an entire organisation simple and seamless.
And the answer is…
So, after all is said and done, what exactly is the best telephony system for working remotely?
The answer to that question will ultimately come down to the depth and breadth of your organisation — as well as the logistics of being able to implement some of the options we’ve outlined in this article. Not all telephony systems are created equally, and not all businesses are completely alike.
Here at Fidelity Group, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to telephony. We see every business as an individual, ensuring our clients receive the best solutions to meet their staff and customers’ needs.
One possible solution is Horizon Collaborate. With a comprehensive range of features, designed to work across a wide range of devices and operating systems with minimal connectivity requirements, including file-share, video and multi-party conferencing, this unified comms platform offers a more complete solution for teams working both on-site and remotely.
2021 is going to bring a myriad of challenges to businesses everywhere. Speak to us today and discover how we can implement the best telephony solution to accommodate your communication needs now and in the longer-term.