Now that the worst of COVID-19 is finally behind us, many organizations are deploying a hybrid work model. This allows employees spend part of the week in their home office, and the rest of the time in the corporate office. The good news is that a hybrid work model can be significantly beneficial for both organizations and employees. But the bad news is that “old world technologies” like a conventional landline phone system (PBX) can turn what should be a win-win strategy into a lose-lose fiasco. Fortunately, that is where a VoIP hosted PBX enters the picture and makes all the difference.
Below, we highlight three ways that a VoIP hosted PBX — also known as a cloud-based phone system — drives hybrid work. Are you ready to unleash massive rewards and advantages for your organization and employees alike?
#1: With a VoIP Hosted PBX, Hybrid Workers Do Not Need a Separate Home Office Phone Line
With a VoIP hosted PBX, hybrid workers do not need to install — and have their employer pay for — a separate home office phone line. Instead, they can simply:
- Plug an IP phone into the router that they use in their home office.
- Plug a headset into their desktop or laptop.
- Use an app on their smartphone (either personally-owned or corporately supplied).
Of course, workers are not limited to using just one of the options listed above. They can choose whatever option is appropriate. For example, for video conferences they can use a headset. Then for communications with customers and colleagues they can use their IP phone. For conversations while away from their desk they can use their smartphone.
Additionally, when using a smartphone to make outgoing calls through the app, the employer’s name/number appears on Caller ID. This protects the worker’s personal name/number. This is important for privacy and confidentiality, and it also presents a more professional image.
#2: A VoIP Hosted PBX Enables Hot Desking
Hot desking is when instead of assigning workers to specific offices or workstations, they are allowed to freely choose any available desk (either throughout the corporate office or in certain areas of the corporate office — similar to a hotel business center).
VoIP hosted PBX enables organizations and employees to take advantage of hot desking because phone numbers/extensions are portable — which is categorically different and far superior to a conventional landline PBX. Consider this example:
Joe is a Sales Rep at Example Company. His assigned extension is 21. It is extremely important that Joe’s current and prospective customers can easily reach him.
With a conventional landline PBX, Joe’s extension is anchored to the wiring in the wall. If Joe moves to a different desk, then the PBX system has to be reconfigured. This is an expensive and time-consuming process that can only be carried out by technicians. Obviously, this makes hot desking a non-starter.
However, with a VoIP hosted PBX, Joe simply unplugs his IP phone from the back of his desktop or laptop and then plugs it back in at his (temporarily) new desk. His extension travels with him, and there is absolutely nothing that he needs to configure. The moment he plugs in his IP phone, he can be reached at extension 21.
Clearly, a VoIP hosted PBX is perfect for hot-desking, or any other scenario where Joe wants to work in a different part of the office — for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months!
#3: A VoIP Hosted PBX Enables UCaaS Functionality Such as Video Conferencing and More
In many organizations, there is one most exciting and valuable advantage of a hosted VoIP PBX. This is that it enables hybrid workers to take advantage of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). As noted by PCMag Senior Editor Neil McAllister: “The goal of UCaaS is not just to add new features to voice calling, but to elevate business communications beyond what we expect of traditional phone technology”.
Some of the ways that UCaaS (powered by a VoIP hosted PBX) takes communication and collaboration to the next level include:
- Browser-based video conferencing: workers do not have to download and install an app, but simply click to a web page and easily participate in video conferences.
- Presence, which lets workers instantly see if colleagues are available, away, or busy — regardless of where those colleagues are located.
- Screen sharing, which is often necessary for sales and service-related communication, as well as internal collaboration.
- Instant messaging, which lets colleagues stay connected and exchange texts/files, regardless of where they are located.
- Online faxing (a.k.a. e-faxing and cloud faxing), which is still widely used in many environments, such as healthcare, legal, financial services, and insurance.
The Bottom Line
A recent survey found that a whopping 83% of employees prefer a hybrid work model. And a growing chorus of think tanks and consulting organizations such as Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research, Gartner, and McKinsey — just to name a few — are declaring that hybrid is the future of work.
The bottom line? The era of hybrid work has arrived. Organizations that have an all-in-one VoIP hosted PBX will significantly and sustainably enhance productivity, employee engagement, customer experience, competitive advantage, and profitability. In other words: they will set the pace and lead the way in the new world of work!
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