3 min read

VOIP – supporting your business in the hybrid age

VOIP – supporting your business in the hybrid age

So, the pandemic is all but over – a little Jubilee-tinged spike in infections notwithstanding – and it’s more or less business as usual for UK commerce and industry, at least in terms of returning to something approximating previous levels of productivity.

But two years of remote working did serve to change the expectations that most businesses now have of their employees in terms of office-based working practice.

If the lockdown of 2020 itself triggered what has become known as The Great Resignation – a period in the autumn of that year when UK business, saw unprecedented numbers of people quitting their jobs to pursue other income sources – then 2022’s ‘living with Covid’ approach has given birth to what we now know as the hybrid working model.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of people discovered that working from home suited them very much.

A life free from commuting in which they were better able to manage their time to fit into the daily ebb and flow of family activity succeeded in delivering a work/life balance that many people were reluctant to give up in order to return to the office.

It’s now common to see jobs advertised on the basis of hybrid working and, to a lesser extent, wholly remote working.

But that poses interesting questions around how organisations are able to support their employees at those times when they’re working from home.

Here are the key areas to consider if you’re looking for a set-up that keeps your staff happy and connected without forcing them to return to their office desk.


Give people the right technology

Your office probably provides your teams with high-speed internet, cloud-based computing, and smart communications and network solutions – all things most of your people won’t have at home.

If you’ve chosen to allow hybrid of wholly remote working and you want those individuals to perform at the same level as those who prefer to be in the office, then they need to have the basics:

  • Business line
  • Video conferencing tools
  • Virtual meeting software
  • Compatible messaging systems
  • External access to your systems via VPN
  • Business software and hardware

Much of this can be achieved through a cloud based VOIP (voice over internet protocol) system, which avoids having to purchase and then install multiple different tools.

If yours is a larger organisation, you’ll also need to make sure the system you choose has the capacity to be able to support all your staff using your network systems at the same time. Testing will also identify any obvious issues around reliability, allowing your IT team of partner to offer swift back-up when necessary.


Stay in touch

One downside to remote working is that people can become isolated. This isn’t just social isolation, either – it is also easier for them to become distanced from targets and goals around productivity.

Establishing a routine around regular meetings and catch-ups at key times of the day can be helpful in ensuring that your people remain anchored to the core ambition of the organisation, even if they’re not in the office.

It’s also important to be proactive around boundaries. Many people reported being more inclined to check in on their work accounts outside their core hours. Whilst there are times when it’s okay to go above and beyond and deal with something at 11pm, it should be generally discouraged in order to preserve work/life balance.


Give people the right equipment

We’ve already talked about how a cloud VOIP system can keep your teams connected to your networks, but they need more than just fast internet and access to your systems and software.

They may also need stationery, USB headsets, a printer, an external webcam, and a work-issued smartphone, or an ergonomically sound desk and chair.

Ensuring you have a checklist in place to assess your employees’ needs when it comes to working remotely will ensure they have the best chance of performing as you want them to.


Ensure they have access to the right support

Obviously, it’s good practice for managers to check in regularly with those who are working at home. But they also need to know who to contact if something goes wrong.

Make sure remote workers have a clear understanding of the IT and HR support processes they can access if they need to.

It may also be a good idea to create self-help video tutorials to cover the common things that may go wrong – for example, how to reset their router, or troubleshoot a problematic internal microphone.


Have a clear work from home policy

You may already have this in place, but if your organisation is new to hybrid or remote working, it is essential to be clear on what is expected from both sides.

Your policy should cover arrangements for reporting sick leave and booking annual leave, reclaiming expenses for any agreed office equipment, any issues around employee benefits (e.g. any season ticket loans that may be outstanding), IT support and security, and the company’s data protection policy.

If you’d like to know more about how our expert VOIP team can help you to support colleagues working remotely, get in touch for an informal, no obligation chat.

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