According to the ABC, 40 per cent of Australian workers are now working from home, a steep rise from the 8 per cent who did so pre-pandemic.
As businesses continue to adapt to the changes that have been thrust upon them, new logistical challenges arise. How do business leaders maintain organisational cohesiveness during a period of disruption? How can team managers ensure that their team can cooperate effectively?
Communications systems are a critical part of answering this question.
The Rise of the Softphone
The softphone has quickly risen to become one of the most attractive options to fulfill modern business communications requirements. Due to its cost-effectiveness, flexibility and availability, many businesses are either relying solely on a softphone solution or augmenting their current solution with softphones.
A softphone is a software application (or SIP client) that enables inbound and outbound calling functionality on devices over the internet.
Mobile softphones in particular have become more popular, and for good reason. A modern softphone will have the majority of features that any traditional business phone system offers, such as call transferring, call holding, call recording and more.
For a business transitioning to working from home, there may not be a need to have a traditional system. A mobile softphone will prevent the limitations and hassles that operating with private mobile numbers can bring.
Of course, there are also desktop (PC) softphone options available. Desktop softphones are a good solution, however they lack the flexibility of a mobile softphone simply due to their nature and can sometimes be affected by operating system updates.
Perhaps the best solution is to have a combination of a desktop and mobile softphone. Which is why one of the most popular calling methods for modern businesses is Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams Calling is also on the rise as a work from home solution. As many businesses may use Teams already for internal communications, the step to an external calling plan does not seem daunting.
However, Teams Calling does come with its pitfalls. Teams Calling does not offer the full functionality that a traditional phone system does. While the basic features are available, such as call holding and transfers, Teams lacks the infrastructure for more advanced features. Call queueing is rudimentary, and support can prove difficult for an IT provider.
For businesses that do consider using Teams, there is an alternative option to traditional Teams Calling. Telephony providers are able to treat Teams as an extension off a regular PBX.
Simply put, Teams as an extension is just like another handset for any user. As you could pick up a handset and call internally or externally, a user is able to enjoy the same functionality by putting on their headset or picking up a mobile phone and calling internally or externally through Teams. While this is a more expensive option than traditional Teams calling, it provides a smooth integration for businesses that do not want to sacrifice functionality.
Of course, Teams is available on mobile also, which is perfect for businesses with staff who will frequently be away from their workstation. The additional benefit of an instant messaging service that is provided by Teams rounds out an attractive solution that is suitable for many businesses transitioning to working from home.
One thing is clear: the business landscape in Australia is changing for good. As businesses adapt, communications systems will continue to adapt to best meet the new challenges that arise. Working from home is here to stay.
If your business is transitioning to working from home, IPC Solutions would love to discuss the best solution to fit your needs. We offer softphone only solutions, hybrid solutions and Teams solutions that can fit a wide variety of industries and requirements. We pride ourselves on our innovation, so if you have a unique challenge, please don’t hesitate to contact us.