Hybrid Working Optimisation: are you prepared?

As offices re-open around the country the question on most employees lips is simple, are we returning permanently or on a blended basis? For most, a hybrid model will be put in place.

A combination of working from home and collaborative time in the office is integral to ensuring a proper workflow. Although WFH has been a resounding success for most employees, a significant number have reported difficulties with communication, be it due to poor management skills or simply a lack of adequate tools.

“For obvious reasons the use of Microsoft Teams has exploded in the past 12-18 months or so” notes Seamus Dunne, Sales Manager of Cork communications operations, Conversation Piece. “We’ve seen businesses move from more traditional phone systems to cloud based systems in their droves. With most offices now moving to a hybrid model, solid phone and communication platforms are a must.

“You’ve got VoIP Phones, Soft Phones, Cloud PBX Phone Systems and then of course the Microsoft Teams phone System package – you want your staff to be able to communicate effectively and easily, it shouldn’t hinder their day to day tasks or impact performance in anyway.”

VoIP Phone Systems – What are they?

You may have heard the term thrown about an awful lot in recent times due to the sudden and continued shift to WFH and hybrid working environments. Think of it like this, with a traditional phone call a specific physical path is granted to you by a phone service provider, this path links your phone and the number you are calling via the classic telephone infrastructure (e.g. physical phone lines spanning the length of the country)

VoIP Ireland services differ mainly in how the calls are transmitted – In simple terms, when you speak into your VoIP phone your voice is then converted in digital data, this data is then passed onto a ‘codec’ which compresses the data and encode them as digital signals.

These signals are then transmitted via the internet and arrive instantaneously, and this process continues as you go through your call. For the user, there is little to no difference between a VoIP call and a traditional phone call. 

For most users, they will choose to utilise VoIP phones through their desktop computers. Any computer can be used as a VoIP phone through the use and installation of very user friendly software, these are usually then referred to as ‘softphones’.

These may differ in appearance depending on the chosen platform but in most cases they are designed to mimic the layout of a traditional phone – When a user then opens the software they’ll be able to operate and interact with the softphone exactly like you would a physical device, this is usually then paired up with a microphone and headset.

The other option available is even more straightforward again – Physical, IP Phones can be installed in an office or remote working space in the same manner as a regular, table-top phone. Visually, they appear identical to a traditional unit however the key difference is in how they are connected – these phones utilise a single ethernet connection to make calls, as opposed to a traditional wired in phone. You can also avail of totally wireless options that make use of either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity in order to make calls.

VoIP Solutions

So, what do businesses need to do in order to prepare themselves for hybrid working? Well, they need to choose the right system. VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone systems have become such a huge part of day-to-day operations for most businesses working on a remote model. Functionality and usability are integral to ensuring a smooth workflow and that’s how VoIP systems help. Firstly, there’s the financial impact.

Traditional phone systems can be somewhat costly, especially if you’re working in a business that has dozens of staff placing high numbers of calls on a daily basis. With a VoIP system you’re making your calls through the internet, which significantly cuts costs.

“At Conversation Piece we use a Cloud PBX Phone System, which has a far cheaper day one installation cost than a traditional PBX and the overall equipment costs are also cheaper. You’re also saving significant money online rentals as these have historically been almost prohibitively high to some businesses.

Flexibility is hugely important for businesses now, especially as some may be in a state of flux either downsizing teams or hopefully bringing on staff, with the Cloud PBX it’s extremely easy to add in more phone units and lines and the features that come with it can benefit every type of business.”

The technology has improved greatly in recent years, with a litany of features now coming as standard, elements like baked in voicemail to email conversion, Auto attendant directors, hunt groups, call waiting and transfers and perhaps most usefully, call recording abilities.

Hybrid Working & VoIP in Cork

Located at 14 Nicholas Square, Ballymacthomas in the heart of Cork City, Conversation Piece have been providing communications platforms for businesses across Ireland since 1978. For all of your communication needs, get in touch with the Conversation Piece team today.