There is no doubt that the global pandemic has changed the working environment across every type of business and prompted a re-evaluation of the work/home life balance.
According to a recent survey conducted by Esri Ireland (Economic & Social Research Institute), 43% of employees said they would like to remain working remotely even after the pandemic restrictions come to an end. While 51% said they would prefer to work from home part time.
Many companies may have taken the stance that everything would go back to normal eventually so there was no need to make any major changes to how things are done. But, remote working is not going anywhere any time soon and so if communications have been a struggle up to this point, it is most certainly in the interests of any company to find a solution sooner rather than later.
The development of VoIP phone systems (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has made it possible for businesses to remain connected to employees and customers alike wherever their location.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is communications technology that runs through an existing internet connection. It works by converting a person’s voice into a digital signal which allows a call to be made directly from a computer, a VoIP phone or data driven device. Everyday examples include Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, though these versions are built primarily for mainstream use and don’t provide the level of functionality required by most businesses.
What are the benefits of VoIP?
There are many events outside of a business owner’s hands that may prevent employees from reaching their place of work. Of course the obvious and most current one is the global pandemic. However, in the event of extreme weather conditions, or a fire perhaps, the first challenge for the business owner is to be in a position to ensure continuity of the business, whether it’s a long term or short term situation.
With VoIP phone systems, all the call data and information is stored safely – this allows a business to communicate immediately with customers and employees to let them know about the situation. Any incoming calls to the business can be transferred to an alternative number and this means that customer service can be continued as normal and reduces the risk of loss in sales due to missed calls.
Hybrid Working is a relatively new term in the business world. It is a flexible work structure that allows for a balance between working remotely and from the office. For example, a certain proportion of employees may opt to work remotely while others choose to work in the office. Or it can also relate to employees who conduct part of their working week in the office and the remaining days either from home or on the road.
VoIP phone systems can be of huge benefit in facilitating this model. Employees who are working remotely can maintain the same if not increased levels of communication with their team members who are in the office.
Features such as video conferencing, including screen sharing and whiteboard capabilities, allow team members to have the same level of input and interaction into a team meeting regardless of their working location.
Saving on Communication Costs
Managing your team remotely can be extremely cost effective and VoIP phone systems can actually save a business money. First of all there is no need to purchase and install expensive hardware to set up a home office. With a VoIP phone system, a computer or smartphone can be used in place of a traditional handset.
And then there is the savings on call costs – if employees have to travel abroad, then maintaining communication with the employee should cost the same regardless of their location as the calls are carried over the internet rather than traditional phone lines. Also the 3CX system comes equipped with the Instant Messaging features which alleviates the need for lots of unnecessary phone calls as team members can communicate freely throughout the day via messaging or voice notes.
Perhaps one of the main benefits with VoIP systems is the flexibility. The ability to maintain communications with a remote workforce brings with it new hiring opportunities. For example, when location is taken out of the equation, a company is in a position to look further afield when taking on new staff. Maybe the idea of hiring internationally is appealing or the pool of suitable candidates greater when geographic location is no longer an issue.
More flexibility also means that the company can easily scale up or down depending on requirements. Most businesses go through peaks and troughs or are seasonal in nature. Having a VoIP system that can be expanded or contracted as necessary may be of great comfort to these businesses.
Some employers may have concerns regarding their employees productivity if they are working remotely. However, a VoIP phone system can alleviate these concerns with the variety of features and applications available. A recent survey conducted by Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed that over 30% of the businesses questioned reported an increase in productivity.
Accountability is an important factor as employees working remotely will have to demonstrate self-discipline and ensure that they are not distracted by home life. Working from home should be a more relaxed atmosphere which equates to happy employees, and this results in higher productivity levels.
A key feature of 3CX software is the ability to send reminders to team members to update their managers with their progress. This can help keep employees working remotely motivated and focused.
The Analytics and reporting features that come with a VoIP phone system will benefit both employers and their team members. With the 3CX analytics software, an employee can have access to reports showing each employee’s activity. This can be used to motivate team members while also giving business owners and managers the reassurance that each team member’s performance is consistently of a high standard regardless of their working location.
There are also reports available that track customer engagement which helps to keep an eye on sales and customer leads.
In terms of the customer experience, using a VoIP phone system allows customers to enjoy the consistency of communicating with the same team member regardless of their location.
In the event that the company office has to close for a period of time, interruptions to service are not an issue as calls can re redirected externally. This eliminates the risk of missed calls and guarantees service to customers. Integrations with CRM mean that employees can have all the information they need to deal with a query on hand instantly which amounts to a better overall customer experience.
Gaining The Advantage
It is clear that remote working or, at the very least, a hybrid form is the way forward for businesses and upgrading to a VoIP system will certainly be a huge advantage in ensuring that it can be easily and seamlessly managed.
To enquire about a new phone system for your business, give us a call on 01 906 0990 or email us at sales@OneContact.ie. Our team is standing by to help and ready to see if you can get a huge discount on your phone system.