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Remote Working and VoIP – Making your Virtual Team more Productive
Posted on: 2017-05-09 | Categories: VoIP Services
The modern office has undergone a sea change over the last 2 decades. Going to work used to mean a long commute and sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 with the same colleagues throughout the year. The situation is very different today. Thanks to rapid innovation in technology, many employees work from home, coffee shops, on the road or client sites. Your team members are scattered across the globe.
The reality is that remote working is here to stay. Businesses need to be flexible to compete in a global economy. That means workers have to be prepared to work when it comes up, no matter where they are. A lot of companies – especially in technology related fields – provide their staff with the tools they need to accomplish it. But remote working comes with its own set of pros and cons. Not every team can function well in this model and not every business can benefit from it.
Remote Working and VoIP
When your team is sitting in offices that are spread out over half a dozen countries, it can be difficult to communicate. However communication is the key that holds a team together, whether they are real or virtual. Actually communication is even more important to a virtual team. When you lose the means to talk to someone face to face, you need other tools that can bridge the gap.
People who are part of virtual teams don’t have the luxury of simply getting up, walking over to a colleague and asking a question. You can’t discuss work over lunch or coffee and a lot of information that we usually get from body language is lost. While written communication like emails and messaging can help to a certain extent, real time communication channels like voice and video become more important.
This is where VoIP steps in. Whether you deploy your own SIP configuration or buy hosted services from a third party provider, VoIP can help your virtual teams become more productive. It allows your employees to work on important tasks without wasting time wrangling with the phones or clearing out their email inbox.
How Can VoIP Make your Virtual Teams Productive?
One of the barriers to free communication between teams is cost. While some organizations can afford unlimited calling time for staff, most businesses have to put budgets and limits to phone calls. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the difficulties of remote working and set budgets that are too low. It limits how much teams can communicate, since your staff may be worrying about hitting their monthly expense limits.
VoIP eliminates that barrier completely. VoIP technology is location independent. It means that where you are when making or receiving a call has no impact on your final bill. The only distinction between various types of calls is whether or not it touches the PSTN at any point. If a call travels only over the Internet, it is free. If it has to traverse the older network, it will cost you.
From a business point of view, it translates to all internal calls being free. That’s right, all voice communication between your employees is truly free with VoIP. It doesn’t matter how many members are in a call, whether you add video to it or which office everyone is sitting in. Thus no one has to worry about bills which easily results in more productive virtual teams.
VoIP also brings together various communication channels on on one platform. Virtual teams can use video conferencing features at no extra charge. As long as you have good quality hardware (screens, microphones, speakers etc.) you can hold virtual meetings and conferences. You’re only limited by how much bandwidth you have available at any given time and the speed of your data connections.
Another big issue for virtual teams is time zone conflicts. Scheduling meetings or even just making a call becomes a nightmare. How do you if a colleague is busy or not at a given time? The middle of the workday may be 4 am for someone else. VoIP systems make use of something called presence information. It lets the user set their status as busy or available so that callers know exactly when they can reach them. Users can even set up rules describing when calls should come through, when they should be routed to voicemail or even to a colleague if they can help instead.
Quite a few companies are also building their unified communication suites on the foundation of VoIP. It allows virtual teams to collaborate on projects without having to jump between multiple applications, each with its own quirks and interface. By bringing together communication with other enterprise tools, you unlock tremendous potential for virtual teams to be more effective. And it all begins with VoIP.