The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in business owners all over the UK scrambling to find ways of managing their businesses and staff remotely. Many have had to look for ways to move events online, whilst others may be adapting their offering to support key workers or to provide an essential service. But making changes to the way your business operates doesn't have to be stressful or expensive. In particular, there are many technological advances which can support your business when shifting to remote working.
One such technology is VoIP, which can have a significant impact on how you run your business remotely, both in terms of efficiency and communication.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and the technology is fast replacing the traditional copper line phone network. VoIP transmits voice calls over the internet, similar to how email or pictures are sent all over the world. Since the calls don't need dedicated infrastructure, they are far less expensive than regular phone calls.
The best part of VoIP is that companies don't need to buy expensive equipment or new software to make it work. Hosted VoIP services allow organisations to start using VoIP for calls in a few hours. A business only needs VoIP-compatible phones to get started. The service provider also takes care of maintenance, delivering new features, as well as security.
Here are five key features of VoIP technology for business:
1. Group audio and video calls
Group calls or conference calls have become a part of the workday for many job roles, especially with the recent shift to remote working. VoIP makes it easy for users to communicate with each other, whether over audio or video. Businesses do not need a conference bridge or additional hardware for conference calls.
With VoIP phone service, employees can convert a normal phone to a group call in an instant. Audio calls can seamlessly become video conferences as long as participants have a device with a built-in camera. Most people miss interacting with their colleagues when working from home and group calls help to maintain effective communications and morale.
2. Virtual meetings
Effective communication doesn't just mean status updates and periodic check-ins. Meetings play a crucial role in many companies. It's how teams collaborate on shared projects and even brainstorm new ideas and strategies. How can a business replicate the process when all employees are working from home?
VoIP allows businesses to schedule virtual meetings at any time. Employees can also jump into ad-hoc meetings to replicate the organic and adaptable way of working that takes place in offices. An organisation can also easily conduct training sessions or awareness programs using VoIP tech.
3. Integrate different communications systems
It can be difficult for employees to communicate effectively when they don't have access to office equipment or software at home. VoIP bridges the gap between multiple channels and integrates them into a cohesive whole.
Users can seamlessly switch between voicemail, email or messaging according to the situation. It also makes it easier to see all conversations with customers or suppliers in one place, irrespective of the communications system used.
4. Switch between multiple devices for calls
The days when employees have to use a landline for work purposes is long gone. VoIP makes it possible for users to work from anywhere and answer calls on any device. This means employees can answer calls on a computer or mobile phone, not just the standard desk phone. When employees are working from home and don't all have the same hardware, the flexibility that VoIP provides can prove essential for effective business communications.
5. Presence information (busy, away, lunch, etc.)
Another important VoIP feature that helps with maintaining effective communications is presence information. Just as in an office, employees lose valuable time trying to contact colleagues who are busy or in a meeting. VoIP allows users to set their presence information that is shown to others. It makes it easy for a person to see if their colleague is available for a lengthy discussion or if it should be scheduled for later.
The current climate is one of lots of change and uncertainty. Investing in a VoIP system can help standardize some of your business operations and processes, and provide your employees and customers with a level of consistency during these uncertain times.
About the Author
Robert Seymour is Marketing Director at VoIPstudio. VoIPstudio is a professional-grade business communications service that’s available at consumer-level pricing. It offers the quality and security guarantees that business customers demand, while providing an industry-leading feature set backed by award-winning 24/7 support.