Given the scope and ubiquity of internet-enabled devices and digital communication tools, it could be argued that the shift to a remote employment paradigm was inevitable. Nevertheless, the last 15 months have seen this transformation of our working lives institute itself faster and more comprehensively than any of us could have anticipated.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent imposition of stay-at-home orders, most of us will have experienced some form of remote working during the last year. And, while many of us have been slowly returning to the workplace, it’s now widely accepted that some things will never be the same again.
Whether you were already managing remote teams pre-pandemic or were forced into it by lockdowns and have decided to implement a remote work set-up permanently, the question of efficiency is a critical one.
Whereas in-workplace employment models have decades of precedent to draw from in terms of maximizing productivity, more distributed ones are a relatively new phenomenon for most industries.
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP technology, has emerged in recent years as one of the most important components of the remote working tech stack. Not only does it make a whole host of jobs in which the telephone plays a significant role possible to carry out remotely, but used correctly, it can be a huge boost for productivity.
Let’s take a look at seven ways VoIP is streamlining efficiency, and how your team can make the most of the technology.
1. Providing Business Functionality for Mobiles
Because modern VoIP providers operate entirely in the cloud, their systems are not tied to specific hardware modules or devices. In fact, it’s because of the service’s device-neutrality that mobile VoIP has been one of the biggest business VoIP trends of recent years.
Whereas in the days of landlines and PBX, telephone-reliant jobs were tied to a specific setup, internet-enabled smartphones have the power to put a suite of features in our pockets, even with phone systems for small businesses.
With VoIP, voicemail, video conferencing, call transfers, and call parking are all possible from any internet-enabled device. This means you can save on expensive equipment and all the hassle of maintaining a traditional telephone system without losing the functionality.
What’s more, the ability to call clients from a mobile without using a personal number not only improves privacy for your team and fosters a stronger sense of professionalism, but it reduces confusion at the other end as all company calls can come from the same number.
2. Allows Working On the Go
One of the biggest benefits of going remote is that it affords maximum freedom in terms of where you can work from. But, even with the best home setup, there are still times when we need to be away from our computers.
Make the most of VoIP’s mobility by using it to take and make quality calls on the go. For whatever reason, your team might need to be out and about, but time spent traveling needn’t be thought of as time wasted. More and more of us are now getting used to being in contact with colleagues on the train, while walking, or in the car with a headset.
On an individual level, being able to move about while using your telephone makes sense as it means we can get on with other things in our lives. Within reason, it makes multitasking across our work and personal lives a possibility.
As an additional bonus, the ability to work on the go can be a real game-changer for those with children and is one of the main ways that remote work can support women and families working from home.
3. Integrate Office and Remote Phone Systems
When carrying out a VoIP landline comparison, one of the most obvious benefits is that VoIP allows for seamless integration of the various telephones and computers connected to the system.
Rather than having separate procedures depending on whether you are on a home, office, or mobile telephone, with a cloud-based VoIP system, you can have all your different devices operating with the same interface.
Sharing the same phone system for in-office and remote workers eases the transition from one mode of working to the other and means staff don’t have to learn to operate multiple setups. It also means features such as access to the company voicemail are accessible to all workers, removing the need for unnecessary intermediary communication. Softphones, for example, allow you to make calls without a physical telephone.
4. Meetings Are Streamlined
There are many ways you can streamline your team meetings, remote or not. A well-planned schedule is a good place to start, as is implementing a countdown timer for meetings to keep the discussion on track, or a quarterly meeting agenda to track progress.
One of the advantages of having all staff members using the same phone system is that no time is wasted overcoming technical hurdles and trying to align people’s different technologies.
Instead of having different procedures in place for video and teleconferencing, high quality software combines these various remote meeting tools, such as conference call bridge or screen sharing, in a single convenient package.
5. Facilitates Flexible Working
It might seem obvious to state that remote working is a more flexible employment model, but thanks to VoIP, this is more true than ever.
With remote communication technologies like VoIP, employers can hire workers according to their needs, and at short notice too. Professions where freelance work is popular have been at the forefront of the remote working revolution.
Freelance and flexible contracts benefit employers because they don’t have to provide expansive benefits packages, only pay for the work they need, and can hire the best person for the job every time rather than relying on the skills of existing employees.
On the other hand, many people choose to work freelance because it gives them the freedom to take as much time off as they require and choose the work they do take on. It also means they are always working on new and exciting projects.
These days, even sales reps are enjoying the benefits of flexible working. And, thanks to top VoIP features that can automate even the most important process, they’re even more productive!
6. Easy to Upkeep
Unlike legacy PBX systems, VoIP telephony needs little upkeep in terms of physical infrastructure, and providers do the majority of the system maintenance.
Of course, there are still things that can go wrong. VoIP is only as good as your internet connection, and both desktops and laptops can fall prey to the occasional computer bug or malware infection. But luckily, these are issues your IT team is prepared to deal with and should lead to only minimal downtime.
7. Bring the Advantages of Automation to Remote Work
With recent advances in AI and machine learning, we are entering a stage of businesses deciding when to automate any or all processes. In this respect, telephony is no different, and contemporary business VoIP systems are being integrated with a range of AI technologies.
It’s now common practice for a number of attended RPA bots to be incorporated into a business’s phone system. For example, if you’ve ever entered your name or other details using your voice, without speaking to an operator, you have likely interacted with an AI model.
When VoIP is optimized for remote work, all of the advantages of automation technology are extended to your entire distributed telephone network.
Isn’t it time you used VoIP to streamline your remote team efficiency?