The Role of VoIP in Facilitating Remote Work
The global workforce is changing rapidly. With more employees working remotely than ever before, companies must adapt to new ways of communicating and collaborating. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services are an essential tool for facilitating remote work. This technology allows employees to make and receive calls over the internet, rather than traditional phone lines.
In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of VoIP for remote teams.
You’ll learn how hosted VoIP systems provide flexibility, reduce costs, and keep your team connected. We’ll also cover top VoIP features that streamline communication and collaboration when working remotely.
Flexibility and Mobility
One of the biggest perks of VoIP is its flexibility. VoIP phone services are cloud-based, so you don’t need expensive on-site PBX hardware. Employees can use VoIP softphones on their computers or mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets. This allows for calls anytime, anywhere with an internet connection.
With VoIP, your phone number is not tied to a physical location. You can add, change, and remove phone numbers quickly through a web management portal. This makes it easy to scale up as your remote team grows. It also lets employees take their phone extension with them if they switch office locations.
VoIP gives remote workers the freedom to conduct business from home offices, shared workspaces, or on the road. All they need is a stable broadband connection to make and receive calls. This mobility supports both in-office and out-of-office work arrangements.
legacy phone systems often limit your capacity for growth. To add more extensions, you may need to invest in expensive hardware upgrades. However, VoIP allows you to scale up your phone capabilities in real time through software.
VoIP providers make it easy to add and configure new lines to accommodate more remote employees. You can set up local or toll-free numbers in different area codes to establish a local presence. Managing users and numbers is easy through your VoIP dashboard.
Scalability enables your phone system to grow and adapt with sudden shifts in remote work needs. During times of rapid hiring or downsizing, VoIP gives you the flexibility to scale up or down.
Switching to VoIP can yield significant cost savings compared to conventional business phone services. Your company can reduce monthly fees as well as long-distance and international calling charges.
Lower Monthly Bills
VoIP utilizes your broadband internet connection rather than requiring dedicated phone lines. This eliminates the need to pay for costly line rental and service charges from the phone company.
Additionally, hosted VoIP platforms have monthly fees starting from $20 per user, compared to $50 or more for legacy systems. Advanced features like auto attendants, call routing, voicemail to email, and conference bridges often come standard at no extra cost.
Free Long Distance and Reduced International Rates
With legacy phone services, long distance and international calls average 15 cents per minute. VoIP allows employees to make these calls free or at a fraction of the cost using VoIP-optimized international plans.
VoIP leverages the internet to route calls. Your location doesn’t matter, eliminating expensive long distance charges. Calls to other team members on the same VoIP network are always free, regardless of location. This facilitates better collaboration across offices.
Shared Call Capacity
On a VoIP system, multiple devices can use the same phone line simultaneously. This is called shared call appearance. Remote employees can set up their desktop and mobile apps to ring simultaneously when receiving a call. This gives them flexibility to answer from whichever device is most convenient.
You get more efficiency out of fewer phone numbers and VoIP licenses. With 10 users, you may only need 5 lines instead of dedicating a full numbered line to each person. This optimized call capacity reduces your monthly costs.
Enhanced Call Quality
VoIP call quality used to be subpar in the early days of the technology. However, internet speeds have improved dramatically, allowing VoIP providers to optimize sound quality.
Today’s VoIP services offer HD audio, reduced latency, jitter buffers, and other features to deliver seamless call quality. This results in natural, clear conversations without disruptions or lags.
VoIP can support wider audio frequency ranges compared to analog phone systems. This brings voice conversations closer to the sound quality people experience when talking face-to-face.
With VoIP, your internet bandwidth is a major factor influencing call quality. Ensure your business invests in enterprise-grade broadband or dedicated Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks. This guarantees the reliability, speed, and low latency needed for flawless call quality.
VoIP providers optimize voice traffic on their networks for quality of service. Leading providers use secure private backbones rather than routing calls over the public internet. This avoids network congestion issues that can degrade call quality. Prioritization ensures your calls get through clearly.
Built for Unified Communications
VoIP converges voice, video, and data on a single network. This makes it easy to unify your business communications. An advanced VoIP platform enables seamless integration between phone calls, video conferencing, chat, file sharing, email, and other channels your team uses to communicate.
Unified communications keeps your remote team connected through their preferred medium. They can start a chat session and escalate it seamlessly to a voice or video call without switching apps. This facilitates natural, continuous collaboration workflows.
Leading hosted VoIP providers offer integrations with popular business applications used by remote teams:
- CRM: Integrate your VoIP system with Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, or another CRM platform. This enables click-to-call from contact records, call logging, and screen pops for caller info.
- Help desk: Apps like Zendesk integrate with VoIP to allow ticketing from call recordings, screen pops, and automatic call logging.
- Email: Open an email thread as a call with a click using integrations for Outlook, GSuite, and other platforms. Record calls and email the recordings to participants or save them to shared cloud storage.
- Conferencing: Initiate instant video conferences through integrations with Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, and similar apps your team uses.
- Productivity: Calendaring integrations with Office 365 and Google Calendar enable scheduling calls through VoIP with a single click.
These integrations synchronize communications data across platforms used by your remote employees. This eliminates disjointed workflows from toggling between apps.
VoIP equips remote teams with advanced features that facilitate smooth collaboration:
- Instant messaging: Use IM through your VoIP system to quickly discuss questions and share information. IM transcodes to voice calls with a click for urgent matters.
- Call flip: Convert between voice calls and video conferences mid-call by flipping between desktop and mobile apps. This enables spontaneous conferencing.
- Call park: Put a call on hold and transfer it to a shared extension. A colleague can pick up the parked call from any device.
- Call barge: Employees can barge in on calls for quick consultations when allowed through call permissions. This avoids disruptions from transferring calls back and forth.
- Call recording: Record calls for quality assurance, training, or sharing with colleagues unable to attend important discussions.
- Voicemail transcriptions: Convert voicemails to text transcripts for quicker processing. Users can also scan audio transcriptions rather than listening through long messages.
- Presence: See real-time status indicators that show if colleagues are available, in a meeting, on a call, or offline. This avoids wasting time playing phone tag.
Seamless Call Management
Juggling calls can be challenging for employees working remotely. VoIP platforms provide powerful features for smarter call handling. This allows your team to deliver top-notch customer service and keep communication flowing smoothly.
IVRs and Auto Attendants
Interactive voice response (IVR) systems answer calls with a pre-recorded menu of options. Callers can self-navigate to the right department or person without an operator. VoIP IVRs are easy to set up and customize.
Auto attendants go beyond IVRs by using natural language processing (NLP) to route calls. Callers speak their reason for calling in their own words. The intelligent system understands intents and asks for clarification if needed before connecting callers to the best resource.
IVRs and auto attendants enable 24/7 automated call handling. This ensures callers reach the person best suited to addressing their needs without getting bounced around. It also minimizes demands on human receptionists.
Ring and Call Groups
VoIP ring groups allow assigning multiple users to a single number. When someone calls the main office line, all users in the group get the call simultaneously. This prevents callers from falling through the cracks waiting for a single busy user to become available.
Call groups build on this by adding options for custom ring strategies. For example, agents can be called sequentially so calls always go to the next available representative. You can implement skills-based routing to send certain call types to agents with related expertise. Customizable overflow rules prevent bottlenecks by sending calls to secondary groups when needed.
Sophisticated call distribution ensures callers get through to the right people. At the same time, it balances demands across users
Call queuing gives callers the option to wait on hold for the next available agent. VoIP platforms let you customize queue music, messages, and dashboards to monitor performance.
Queues make call routing systematic for both callers and agents. Agents can see how many callers are waiting and answer them one by one. Callers get put on hold with expected wait times rather than getting rejected if reps are occupied.
VoIP systems collect rich analytics on queue performance. This allows optimizing the experience by adjusting routing strategies, adding agents, or calling in back up during peak periods.
Single Sign-On and Shared Lines
With single sign-on through services like Google Workspace or Microsoft Azure AD, employees can log into VoIP using their existing credentials. No need to remember a separate password or get locked out.
Shared call appearance syncs employees’ desktop and mobile VoIP apps so they ring simultaneously. Users can start a call on one device and transfer it to another without dropping the call. If they must jump into a last-minute meeting, calls seamlessly hand off to their desktop.
These capabilities ensure calls don’t slip through the cracks during the inevitable device shuffles required to juggle remote work.
Reliable Disaster Recovery
Unexpected internet outages and disruptions can be frustrating for remote call centers and distributed teams. VoIP systems offer continuity and redundancy options to stay up and running through disasters.
VoIP routing is intelligent, able to redirect calls over alternate paths if networks go down. Leading business VoIP providers have geographically separate call control data centers, so calls continue even if one location experiences issues.
For ultimate reliability, you can implement hybrid VoIP solutions that combine the flexibility of VoIP with the stability of a legacy phone line. Key users like call center agents can have IP desk phones that automatically failover to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) if the internet connection has problems. This ensures they stay reachable.
VoIP also enables automatic disaster recovery call forwarding rules. If an office loses access to VoIP, you can forward its numbers to ring on employees’ mobile apps. Callers won’t even notice the disruption.
With the right redundancy solutions in place, it’s business as usual even when unexpected issues occur. VoIP systems stay online to support your remote workforce.
Improving the Remote Working Experience
The advantages of VoIP are clear when it comes to enabling remote workforces. VoIP eliminates business phone systems’ dependency on physical infrastructure. Instead, it delivers cloud-based flexibility, mobility, resilience, and advanced features.
Here are some best practices to ensure your team realizes the full benefits of VoIP solutions:
- Prioritize reliability – Invest in enterprise-grade internet and/or MPLS networks. Look for VoIP providers with robust service level agreement (SLA) guarantees and redundancy included.
- Simplify management – Centralize admin through a web portal and equip employees with tools to control preferences themselves. Automate tedious tasks like setting up new extensions.
- Train everyone – Run through core features and daily workflows so employees can take advantage of VoIP capabilities. Refresh training as you roll out new features.
- Monitor performance – Track VoIP service quality, call analytics, and feature usage to guide improvements. Be proactive addressing any issues.
- Get employee feedback – Check in regularly on how well VoIP tools are working for remote staff. Gather their input on optimizations to better support collaboration and productivity.
- Expand integrations – Start with basic integrations like CRM and email. Then add other apps over time to unify more communication channels.
- Stay up to date – Take advantage of included version upgrades and new features added by your VoIP provider. Subscribing to a hosted service gives you an ever-evolving platform.
The remote work revolution is here to stay. As a modern business, it’s important to equip your employees with technology built for flexibility and collaboration from anywhere. That’s where VoIP solutions come in.
Check out our list of the best VoIP providers to learn more about our top recommendations, how to decide which is right for your remote team, and more.