Back in the office? At home? By the pool? True flexible working starts in the cloud.
Flexible working is here to stay.
If there is one thing the last 18 months has taught us, it’s that effective flexible working is not a pipedream. It is achievable. Many businesses were thrown in the deep end at the end of March 2020 and (after a bit of a bumpy take off) we able to thrive.
To do that, they needed the right business infrastructure and equipment. Solutions like VoIP telecoms, and IT software like Teams or Zoom boomed, and suddenly people were collaborating with workmates, each in their own homes.
Are you prepared for the long-term? Or are you making-do with the hastily put-together solution from 18 months ago?
What happens now?
Are we heading back to the office, full time, permanently?
Yes, but also no. Whilst some businesses and staff are desperate to get away from the kitchen table, others are much more anxious.
Hybrid working, it seems, is here to stay. It gives employers and staff the opportunity to return to work safely and in a way that supports the needs of both.
Plus, with the appropriate set up it genuinely means you can work from anywhere.
Cloud: Flexible. Adaptable.
Only three things are required for true flexible working:
- The right system set up
- The right devices
- An internet connection
The right system set up supports your team, wherever they’re working. It’s about infrastructure that allows teams to collaborate virtually, and the software that enables them to do that. It’s about devices that are both portable and reliable. And it’s about physically having a secure connection so that both can work together.
Cloud-based telecoms technology is growing in popularity, even as restrictions in the UK continue to be lifted. These technologies (including VoIP, like that offered by EBM):
- have cheaper call costs that old-fashioned ISDN lines;
- are easier to manage;
- have the same, or better, functionality than a traditional phone system; and
- work through “softphones” based on your laptop (In other words, they work wherever you work).
When you also consider, that BT are in the process of phasing out the ISDN network, switching to a cloud-based telecoms solution just makes sense.
But why use Telecoms technology at all? I have Teams…
…Well, Teams does allow for collaboration and is a great solution for a lot of flexible working requirements. The additional benefits of a VoIP phone system, however, are those features that mirror a traditional phone system, such as:
- voicemails: leave voice messages for colleagues and those outside your business;
- hunt groups: if one person is away from their phone, the call bounces to another person in their team until it is answered; and
- call transfer: as if you’re sitting in the same building, whoever picks up the phone can pass a call through to the appropriate colleague with no disruption in service.
The right devices
Whilst many businesses chose to invest in quality hardware to make working from home more comfortable, and therefore arguably more productive, many simply had to go with what they had. Some even had to ask employees to use their own devices.
Using Teams or VoIP on existing business laptops is fine, but is it stable when that’s not what you bought them for? Do your current hardware assets have the capacity for increased online working? How can you get them working at their best?
But what about BYOD? Employees working from home on their own devices may have been necessary in the beginning, but if it’s now going to be standard operational procedure it would be wise to consider the risks. Home devices do not have the same security protocols as office devices, nor the same anti-virus protection. By allowing your staff to work in their own devices are you exposing your business to risk? Viruses, ransomware, etc? Ensure to implement a best practice IT policy, if you haven’t already.
End users are embracing new technology. Even those who are typically reluctant to change have been forced to do so by the sudden shift in working practices caused by the pandemic. Cloud solutions for IT and Telecoms allow businesses to be smarter, more agile and better able to collaborate, wherever they’re working.
If you know that your set up is not up to scratch but aren’t sure where to turn. Or if your current supplier isn’t providing you with the help you need, pick up the phone and give EBM’s friendly team a call. We’d love to help you get your business running at its best.