Many people are now considering (or are being told to) work from home. There are 2 things to consider here: your mobile phone and connecting with your office phone system.
Starting with your mobile, whilst it can greatly help you with being at home, you need to take into account if you have enough call minutes, text and data on your contract to support you, during this time.
Most contracts are not very flexible, so when you go through your preset limits you will end up paying more than you bargained for (it could be significantly more if it is data you have overused). This is not ideal, you don’t want to be worrying about having to constantly check your usage and unforeseen bills, so how do you get round this?
To help with this RCUK have introduced some extra-special short-term contracts with lots of data to get you through the next few months of having to work remotely.
Rental gets you over the short-term problem
Short of buying a new phone and contract, the answer is to rent a SIM, handset or wireless mobile broadband to cover your needs whilst working from home:
- SIMS – flexible deals to provide you with extra data and call minutes
- Extra handsets with the SIM included – to give you extra capacity for work calls
- Mi-Fi – wireless mobile broadband that gives you an Internet Connection at 4G speeds. No need for a broadband line to be installed. Just plug the unit in, connect your mobile(s) to it wirelessly, and off you go.
Few outlets offer rentals
Networks like Vodafone, EE and 02 don’t offer this flexible rental option. Neither do the big resellers like Carphone Warehouse, but RCUK do. Our flexible rentals enable you to choose a solution that meets your precise requirements whilst working from home. We can rent you SIMS, handsets and Mi-Fi for as a little as a few days to enable you to continue work without disruption.
Accessing your office phone system while at home
Do you know how to do this, or even if your system supports such capabilities for working from home? Below, we have outlined 5 factors you should be taking onto account when making this decision.
Mobile & desktop apps
This is how your employees, working remotely, will access your office system. They will need an app either on their mobile phone or their laptop/PC that effectively turns their device into an extension of their handset on your office system. Not all phone systems, especially older ones, offer this feature. Similarly, your employees will use a mixture of Android and iOS mobiles, so there will need to be apps for both types of phone operating system. This means you will need to check with your telecoms supplier that these apps already exist, because without them you are limited in terms of what your employees can do when they are working from home.
Office phone running over personal internet at home
Another option is for your employees to take their work handset home and run it over the internet, as if they were in the office. This sounds great in theory and the best option for continuity, but you need to consider how the handset will get its power when the employee is working from home. Most modern handsets take their power via the ethernet cable that connects them to your computer network. This Power over Ethernet (PoE) is more than likely not available to your employees at home (unless they have their house wired up with an ethernet network). So, you will need to purchase power adapters to ensure the handsets will work when they are plugged into the home internet connection.
Some home broadband products have restrictions on their routers which can prevent the work handset from running at home. Various solutions exist to overcome this problem.
Video conferencing will allow your employees to talk to customers and each other, as if they were in the same room. It prevents isolation when working from home as well as reduces travel time and costs and prevents unnecessary face-to-face contact. But not all telecom systems can support it. You may want to consider this before letting your employees work from home.
Like video conferencing, screen sharing is an important function that enables your employees to work from home, exactly as they would in the office. It is the type of taken-for-granted interaction that happens all the time in face-to-face meetings between your employees and customers. The experience it offers is the same as if you were in a conference room viewing the presenters screen live. Again, like video conferencing, not all systems support it, so you should check with your telecoms supplier first.
When your staff are all together in the office it is easy for you to check that there is always someone available to answer the phone during lunchtimes, peak times etc. But what do you do when they are all working from home? This is where Presence comes in.
Presence lets you see who is online at any time, so that you can ensure that there are always people available to answer the phone to customers. Again, check with your telephony provider to ensure your system can offer this important feature for remote workers.
Letting your employees work from home offers many advantages in terms of morale, saving travel costs and being greener. Now, with the Coronavirus more employers are considering this option to ensure that their business does not suffer if individual employees, or the whole of an office is forced to self-isolate.
Not all phone systems can support this, so it is important that you checkout whether the 5 important factors outlined previously are covered. Your telecoms provider should know this. But, if you are still unsure, do not hesitate to give us call.
Our systems support homeworking with mobile and desktop apps, video conferencing, file sharing and presence all covered. We can even provide the power adapters required to convert your office handsets for home use.
Get up-and-running on home working now
So, if you are looking at working from home but discover that your mobile can’t access the internet due to lack of data, or you can’t access your office-based phone system, give us a call on 0330 320 1111. We can advise on what you need to get you up-and-running at home working.