In the current climate, more and more businesses are asking their employees to work from home. In this blog, we’ll let you know how your employees can work from home using your telephone system and give you an idea as to how you can set up home workers with ease.
Home working can be a vital asset to any business. It allows more flexibility and mobility within your business, and ensures staff are being utilised when they can’t make it into the office.
Here are a list of things you’ll need to set up home working with your telephone system:
1. IP telephone handsets
The first option is to give staff their own IP handset. IP handsets use the internet to transmit voice (rather than physical telephone lines). Giving employees their own IP handsets allows them to take their telephone extension home with them.
Your telephone system may already support IP, if not, we can supply you with temporary IP licences to encourage home working amongst employees.
You may already have IP handsets in your office, which employees could take home. If so, consider the next two options:
2. Power Supplies
Often called power supply units or “PSUs”, these are a requirement for any home workers. Some offices make use of power over ethernet, which means that your IP phones do not require their own power supply, they simply use their CAT5 cable for both power and data.
However, home workers will not have power over ethernet, and will therefore need a power supply for their phone; if they choose to take it home. The last thing you would want is for all your staff to take their phones home for them to be unable to even turn them on.
Ensure that any staff member taking home their phone has a power supply so that they can continue as normal.
3. WiFi Dongle
As we’ve said, IP handsets require both power and ethernet connectivity to function. While this is not an issue in the office, when employees get their phones home, they may find that they are unable to plug them into an ethernet connection.
Many homes do not have CAT5 cabling points, and so employees will require a WiFi dongle to allow them to connect to your telephone system. WiFi doglegs plug into the back of the telephone and allow employees to connect to their home WiFi network in order to make and receive calls.
WiFi dongles are a simple, cost effective and quick work around for employees that are working from home.
4. Temporary mobile contracts
Of course, the alternative to taking a handset home is to give employees their own mobile phones. Business mobile contracts are common in this age of mobility and remote working, so enabling each employee to use these mobiles from home may not be an issue.
If your business doesn’t have any mobiles for their employees, a simple and low-cost solution may be to give each employee a 30-day, rolling contract, business SIM card. This SIM has a business number attached to it, which employees can put in their existing mobile handsets.
You can then have the employees office phone number diverted to this mobile number. This pushes all calls to their DDi, through to their mobile.
5. VoIP mobile app
We couldn’t write an article about working from home without mentioning the VoIP mobile app. Using nothing but an internet connection (whether that’s cellular (4G), or WiFi), staff with their own mobile apps can make and receive calls as though they were sat at their desk.
It’s arguably the fastest, most efficient and lowest-cost application that allows staff to work from home. Check out our VoIP mobile app for home working.
Even if you don’t have a telephone system from Bytes Digital, we can provision a temporary app for all of your staff, on a 30-day rolling contract, in as little as 24 hours. This allows them to work from home with nothing other than their mobile, effectivity creating a mobile workforce.
The VoIP mobile app is available for both iOS & Android devices—and it also works on tablets too.
6. Softphone applications
Using a softphone application is similar to using a mobile app. It allows your employees to work from home using their laptops, PCs or Macs. Just as you do with the mobile app, you can download an application onto your computer that allows you to make and receive calls.
The app is simple and intuitive and provides your employees with all they need to control their calls in and out of their extension.
Just like mobile apps, these softphone applications can be provisioned within 24 hours and set to 30 day rolling contracts. This ensures that your employees can work from home without the need to take their handset, or even use their mobile.
7. Call forwarding to a landline
Although it is by far the least ideal and least practical solution for home working, some staff may wish to forward all their extension calls to their home landline. While this would give employees a way to answer incoming calls, home landlines are not built to deal with high call volume, nor do they offer any form of call control.
You should also consider that any employees dialling out using their home landline may be subject to personal call charges, and will be dialling out using their home number, which is far from ideal.
Another issue is that a lot of homes are moving away from landlines, so this solution may not work for all employees.
We would strongly recommend against forwarding calls to staff landlines. But if you have no other options whatsoever, then it is always a last resort.
Can my staff work from home?
Working from home is different for all businesses. You may already have the capability for your staff to work from home. In which case, it’s just a case of sorting out technicalities such as power supplies and WiFi dongles.
However, for some businesses, it may be a little harder. But there is always a solution. Get in touch if you have a question about telephony and home working, one of our team would be happy to help. No sales chat, just advice.