How Does Remote Working Help Businesses?
Remote workers have become a huge part of the American workforce.
As the New York Times reported, a Gallup survey of more than 15,000 adults found that “43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely.”
They also found that 31 percent of respondents reported working remotely four to five days a week. That’s nearly 1 in 3 respondents who said they worked nearly full-time from home or away from the office.
But how do you decide whether or not offering the ability for employees to work remotely is worthwhile? First, consider some of the many benefits it offers.
Not only does the flexibility to work remotely increase productivity, it can also decrease overall costs. Additionally, having a workforce that is able to work off-site is often an essential part of any disaster recovery plan to keep your business functioning in the event of a natural disaster or any type of event that could disrupt business at your primary site.
Not to mention hiring remote workers gives you a much larger pool of applicants, giving you the ability to add more talent and more potential to your team.
Common Issues to Address With Remote Workers
But what if you either want to hire remotely or already have remote workers on your team? What should you do to ensure everyone involved gets the best experience possible?
Well, one of the biggest challenges of working remotely is the lack of communication and resources that are available to those working in the office.
To prepare for the more remote workforce, it’s extremely important to address this by ensuring remote employees can easily access the business’s applications and phone system from anywhere.
Unified Communications helps you do just that.
When the entire team, including remote workers, have access to the same communication and collaboration technology, it alleviates the feeling of being disconnected and drives productivity.
Now let’s look at the two primary ways you can use Unified Communications to improve communication and connectivity with remote workers.
Ways to Use Unified Communications to Improve Remote Working
With Unified Communications, advanced features and functionality enable remote workers to continue to have access to their business phone system regardless of where they may be working. There are a couple of options when it comes to easily and affordably connecting remote workers:
Hosted (or Cloud) VoIP Phone System
Cloud computing is on the rise among businesses of all sizes, and for good reason. Aside from the usual cost savings benefits, the cloud also offers accessibility anytime and anywhere. As you can imagine, this is perfect for teams with remote workers.
When you start looking at phone systems in the cloud, you may hear it referred to as, "hosted PBX," "cloud VoIP," "hosted VoIP" or even "hosted unified communications." These are essentially just different ways of saying the same thing.
Regardless of terminology, a hosted solution simply means that a third-party vendor is responsible for housing (or hosting), configuring, and maintaining the phone system, and your business then accesses and uses the phone system via the Internet.
A hosted solution like this can present an ideal cost model for small businesses by saving money on IT resources and rolling their phone system into OPEX. By having a cloud-based phone system, employees can choose to connect to their office phone system via their desktop phone or from their mobile device.
On-Premise VoIP Phone System
If your business chooses a premises-based VoIP phone system with Unified Communications tools, you can have a mobility feature that allows your employees the flexibility to work when and where they want without losing the functionality of their office phone system.
The problem is, when comparing business phone systems, this mobility feature can be one of the hidden "gotchas" that drive up costs. Many Unified Communications solution providers charge an extra fee to include mobility with your phone system. This usually means paying an extra fee for every user on an annual basis, which can add up to thousands of dollars added on to your annual cost.
For a better return on investment (ROI), look for business phone system vendors that include the mobility feature for every user at no additional cost.