3 Business Phone Features to Maximize the Work-at-Home Movement

business phone service: woman in home office

Business leaders across all industries face many of the same challenges: establishing a reputation for reliability, cutting costs, and developing a productive and happy workforce. Success will certainly rely on innovation and forward thinking, which is why more employers are pursuing strong teleworking strategies for their employees. And many of these employers are upgrading their business phone service to help meet these challenges.

According to the Telework Research Network, 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week, and that number is expected to grow another 63 percent over the next five years. Employers are recognizing that allowing employees to work remotely is beneficial in a number of ways, some of which seem counterintuitive. For example, according to a Gallup poll, affording employees the opportunity to strike a better work/home balance actually leads to increased productivity. For their part, workers enjoy the freedom and reduced transportation expenses associated with teleworking.

Simply deciding to incorporate teleworking into your office, however, does not qualify as a sound strategy. To create a dynamic remote work force, savvy companies are employing top-of-the-line business phone service and other sophisticated communications tools.

Whether you have already implemented an off-site policy or are considering doing it soon, here are three features that will help you maximize value:

Mobile Applications

Teleworking simply won’t work if employees can’t reliably access the tools and information they need from out-of-office locations. As far as the outside world is concerned, no one should be able to tell the difference between an employee working from home and one in the office.

A virtual office app essentially turns a cell phone into an office phone by allowing access to directories, previous voicemail messages and the ability to manipulate call settings. The app can also ensure that when an employee makes a call from home, caller ID still registers it as having originated from the office.

Advanced Call Forwarding

The ability to transparently forward calls to one or more phone numbers or extensions is essential for teleworkers, so they never miss a call. And with the array of features available – from follow me, to simultaneous ring, to do not disturb – teleworkers have more freedom and flexibility than ever.

The “follow me” feature, for example, allows a predetermined sequence of rings – first from desk phone, then to mobile, then to voicemail.  Also, these feature settings can be easily controlled through mobile application or through a user or admin portal.

 Voicemail Transcription and Voicemail to Email

Let’s say an employee is working from home, and an urgent matter pops up. You make a call, but she doesn’t hear the phone ring because workers are pounding away on the roof of her house. You know she’ll check her voicemail soon enough, but will she be able to hear you clearly with all the background noise? Will she have to waste time getting in her car and driving down the street just to hear what your message says? Not with the right technology.

With voicemail transcription, text of the message is deciphered using state-of-the-art voice recognition technology and is then sent to your email address. Transcription can be useful in other situations as well. For instance, it allows you to check a voicemail during a meeting without picking up the phone or stepping out of the room.

The voicemail to email feature allows voicemails to also be played at the computer. Any employee with an extension can select an email address of their choice where they’d like to receive their voicemails. So when a message is received, an email notification is sent to that email address with an MP3 attachment of the message.  This also allows easy filing of the message and reviewing at a later date.

These are just a few of the many features that can help you create a successful teleworking program in your office. The benefits of remote work are expansive, including some that may not have even occurred to you. For instance, a content workforce often results in less employee turnover, which saves valuable time and money while strengthening your company.

As you long as you have a solid strategy and the necessary tools in place, teleworking should provide a boost to both employee morale and your bottom line.