Investigating the feasibility of working from home for your employees?
5 factors to consider about your telecoms system beforehand
All the technology now exists to make working from home a realistic and straightforward option. The internet and mobile telephony give your employees the freedom to do their job effectively from just about anywhere in the world with an internet connection. But what if you want to give them access to your work telecoms system as well, so that they can handle customer calls just as if they were in the office.
Do you know how to do this, or even if your system supports such capabilities for working from home? Below, we have outlined 5 factors you should be taking onto account when making this decision.
Mobile & desktop apps
This is how your employees working remotely, will access your office system without the need of taking their office handset home. They will require an app either on their mobile phone or their laptop/PC that effectively turns their device into an extension on your office system. Not all phone systems, especially older ones, offer this feature. Similarly, your employees will use a mixture of Android and iOS mobiles, so there will need to be apps for both types of phone operating system. This means you will need to check with your telecoms supplier that these apps already exist, because without them you are limited in terms of what your employees can do when they are working from home.
Office phone running over personal internet at home
Another option is for your employees to take their work handset home and run it over the internet, as if they were in the office. This sounds great in theory and the best option for continuity, but you need to consider how the handset will get its power when the employee is working from home. Most modern handsets take their power via the ethernet cable that connects them to your computer network. This Power over Ethernet (PoE) is more than likely not available to your employees at home (unless they have their house wired up with an ethernet network). So, you will need to purchase power adapters to ensure the handsets will work when they are plugged into the home internet connection.
Some home broadband products have restrictions on their routers which can prevent the work handset from running at home. Various solutions exist to overcome this problem.
Video conferencing will allow your employees to talk to customers and each other, as if they were in the same room. It prevents isolation when working from home as well as reduces travel time and costs and prevents unnecessary face-to-face contact. But not all telecom systems can support it. You may want to consider this before letting your employees work from home.
Screen & file sharing
Like video conferencing, screen and file sharing is an important function that enables your employees to work from home, exactly as they would in the office. It is the type of taken-for-granted interaction that happens all the time in face-to-face meetings between your employees and customers. The experience it offers is the same as if you were in a conference room viewing the presenters screen live. Again, like video conferencing, not all systems support it, so you should check with your telecoms supplier first.
When your staff are all together in the office it is easy for you to check that there is always someone available to answer the phone during lunchtimes, peak times etc. But what do you do when they are all working from home? This is where Presence comes in.
Presence lets you see who is online at any time, so that you can ensure that there are always people available to answer the phone to customers. Again, check with your telephony provider to ensure your system can offer this important feature for remote workers.
Keeping your business running
Letting your employees work from home offers many advantages in terms of morale, saving travel costs and being greener. Now, with the Coronavirus more employers are considering this option to ensure that their business does not suffer if individual employees, or the whole of an office is forced to self-isolate.
Not all phone systems can support all the above, so it is important that you checkout with your telecoms provider whether the 5 important factors outlined are covered. But, if you are still unsure, do not hesitate to give us a call.
Our systems support homeworking with mobile and desktop apps, video conferencing, file sharing and presence all covered. We can even provide the power adapters required to convert your office handsets for home use.