Now that the majority of businesses have remote workers, what kind of communications system do they need?
It seems that workplace legislation is catching up with technology. While the technology for mobile working has been around for some time, it is only now that the Government has acted to give most employees (those with 26 weeks continuous service) the right to request flexible working. This was previously only an option for those with children under 17 and certain carers. The new legislation is arriving quietly, and becomes law from 30th June – and the process for applying to work flexibly will become easier as well.
Working from home must be the most popular form of flexible working, as it saves on travel and helps those who dovetail work and family responsibilities. Indeed the recent survey by BT and the British Chambers of Commerce found that 86% of businesses now have one or more members of staff working from home on a regular basis.
Working from home and working remotely both need fast, reliable Internet access. While plenty of homes have fast broadband installed to provide the necessary online access to the office, it is not always so easy with phones. Employees are tending to rely upon a mobile phone which can become costly, and the integration with the organisation’s switchboard is not always there.
The question for our customers, the employers, is how will this impact on their costs and their ability to deliver services? There are cases where the employer can refuse to allow flexible working, but it can bring great benefits to a business – it can be a way to cover 24/7 demand, say from online services, and it should improve productivity and reduce absenteeism.
The technology that enables remote working is now very common, so employers can offer uninterrupted services even when employees are working from different locations. Of course it’s essential to keep in touch so that remote employees feel motivated and feel part of the team.
At Connect, we recommend products such as the Shoretel mobility products which give remote access to the corporate directories and central phone system.
Avaya also has great products such as Aura Messaging, a Unified Communications product with a “Reach me” feature for intelligent mobile connections, and one-X, a feature that links mobiles into the central system, effectively making the mobile work like an office extension. Avaya also scores with the ability to set up virtual contact centres, and enabling call centre agents to work from home. Avaya has great video conferencing to help keep the face to face feel of meetings, and collaboration tools that will help job sharers and dispersed teams to work together.
With solutions like these, it should not be difficult to maintain uninterrupted services and keep a team working together, even when members of staff work flexibly.
The cost implications for managing calls to remote connections can be quite complicated. Talk to us at Connect to find the best way to audit your call flows and keep the costs of communications with remote workers at a practical level.