June 1, 2011 Budgeting & Reducing Costs, Mobility Gone are the days of in-the-office from 9am to 5pm. Now, business hours are 24/7. And workers often times operate in spaces other than the main office, including from home and on the road. So how do different types of workers maintain a uniform level of superior business continuity and professionalism despite their different, and possibly revolving, work environments? The answer lies with business communication technology. At Home Bringing the office to your home can be challenging – What spot do you work in? Can you attach your home printer to your work computer? If you live with others, do they respect your work space? These are all issues that can arise when you work from home. However, one thing that shouldn’t be an issue is the ability for clients, coworkers and others to contact you. That’s because Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology makes using an office phone at home easy and efficient. VoIP enables phone calls to be carried over the Internet instead of through ordinary telephone system lines. As a result, an IP phone can simply be programmed to a worker’s settings and brought home to be plugged in to his/her existing Internet connection. It’s that simple. By using a device that’s part of the office phone system, workers can maintain both their work phone number and all the capabilities and functionality of the regular office phones, including the ability to transfer a call, mute a call, use the internal directory listing and more. And because the phone calls go in and out over the Internet, there’s no interference with your home phone or your cell phone, and no complicated cost associated with calls – neither for the worker nor for the company. On the Road Providing company cell phones for “road warriors” can be very costly and an administrative nightmare to manage. In addition, cell phone “power users” tend to neglect their work voice mail since they rarely use their office phone. Even when calls to an employee’s extension are forwarded to their cell phone, they can’t send voice mails left on that device to coworkers in the organization who might need them. That’s why workers who operate from the road can often significantly benefit from technologies such as Dynamic Mobility or Unified Communications (UC). These technologies combine the phone at your office, your cell phone and more to allow you to better communicate and collaborate with fellow employees, business partners, and customers. Dynamic Mobility provides each employee with a single number and a single source for voice mail. Incoming calls to this number automatically and simultaneously ring at up to four devices you choose – a cell phone, desk phone, soft phone, or even a phone in a customer’s office. Whatever device you answer with then provides the same functionality as your work phone – without any setup required or software to download. Messages go into a single personal inbox that can be accessed from anywhere and easily shared with the rest of the organization via traditional voice mail and email. One contact number and single source voice mail is significant, but Dynamic Mobility goes further. It enables employees to easily switch from one device to another, so a worker can take a cell phone call on their way into the office and seamlessly transfer it to their desk phone. If a meeting pops up with the call uncompleted, it can be transferred back to a cordless phone or cell phone for travel. By switching calls away from wireless networks, companies cut down on cell phone use, which can significantly reduce costs. Another technology many find effective is Unified Communications (UC), which is more of a suite of solutions that brings together a wide range of communication and collaboration technologies, including your office phone, your cell phone, email, and often services like instant messaging and Web conferencing. While UC can be as simple as getting faxes and voice mails in your email, solutions that truly unlock the power of unified communications are aimed at delivering a rich, real-time communications environment. These types of solutions enable “road warriors” to make any location their office by providing the ability to make any phone (home phone, cell phone, Smartphone, phone at a customer location etc.) instantly become a work extension – With the ability to transfer calls, use company voice mail, etc. – Exactly as you would at your traditional “desk phone.” The Nomad Finding solutions for the “at home” worker and the “road warrior” is one thing, but what if you often flip flop between one location and another — spending part of the week working in the office and the other part working from home? If that’s the case, then, in addition to IP technology and Dynamic Mobility or UC, consider hotdesking, an application that makes transitioning in and out of the office easy and seamless. Hotdesking is a feature that allows users to temporarily turn other phones into their personalized phone, enabling them to maintain their personal identity and preferred phone configuration on whatever device they’re using. This makes hotdesking ideal for businesses with employees who spend only part of their time in the office or who often travel from office to office. Employees can use any phone on the system by entering a hotdesk feature code, user ID and password into the phone they want to use. Once hotdesked into a phone, the device assumes all of the user’s custom settings and call routing attributes. This is a perfect fit for employees who are only in the office part of the time because these workers can easily set themselves up at almost any phone in the office when they do come in (even the kitchen phone if they wanted to) and not only receive calls, but also maintain their identity when making calls inside or outside the office as their name and number will show on the caller ID. Though this was just a quick glance at technologies that make working from anywhere possible, we hope it provides you with some insight into what’s out there. If you have any questions or want to learn more about any of the features we talked about above, simply contact us by clicking on the “Reach Out Today!” form. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.