How to Connect Remote Workers

Keep communicating, wherever you may be

Often, one of the biggest challenges of working remotely is the lack of access to the corporate network and resources in the office. However, three out of five employees today say that they can work as easily remotely as they can in the office. And, with the cost of fuel and airfare being high, more people are opting to work from home or remote locations.

This means that employees need to access their primary data applications as well as their telephony (phone service) from anywhere. With the advanced features and functionality that is offered through Unified Communicaitons, it's important for remote workers to continue to have access to their phone systems, regardless of where they may be working. Here are a couple of options that make it easy and affordable to connect remote employees:

Hosted VoIP service: There is a surge in businesses of all sizes accessing various services in the cloud, and your voice communications is no exception. When evaluating services for hosting your phone system in the cloud, you may hear it called "hosted PBX," "cloud VoIP," "hosted VoIP" or even "hosted unified communications." In any case, a hosted solution simply means that a third-party vendor is responsible for housing (or hosting) the systems, along with configuring and maintaining the phone systems, and your business then accesses the hosted VoIP via the Internet. This solution can present an ideal cost model for small businesses that may want to alleviate IT resources and roll 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 IP phone, or from their mobile device.

Mobility feature included with UC solutions: If your business chooses a premises-based UC phone system, having a mobility feature allows your employees the flexibility to work when and where they want without losing the functionality that's inherent with their office phone system. This means having the ability to easily transfer calls from your IP desktop phone to your preferred mobile device, whether it's a smart phone, iPhone, tablet or other device. When comparing business phone systems, the mobility feature can be one of the hidden "gotchas" that drive up costs. Many UC 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. This can add up to thousands of dollars added on to your annual communications cost. For a better return on investment (ROI) look for vendors that include the mobility feature for every user at no additional cost.

When deciding whether or not offering the ability for employees to work remotely is worthwhile, 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, have a workforce that is enabled to work off-site is often 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.

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