By Lee Underwood, UK Channel Manager at Snom Technology GmbH
Most people have had to make big changes to the way they live and work during the coronavirus pandemic. For those businesses which are office-based, communication via phone and video has become even more important for staying in contact with team members and customers, as the majority of us work from home.
Many companies have had to adapt the tools and technologies they use to ensure they are catering to the needs of their remote workforce – adopting new video conferencing tools and apps to keep employees connected.
With lockdowns continuing across Europe, it looks like we’ll be connecting virtually in this way for a while longer. A good home set-up has therefore become essential. Any temporary fixes that employers put in place for the first lockdown may now need a more considered approach.
We ran a survey of our customers and partners recently, to find out how they have adapted during this ‘new normal’ – and discovered a number of pain points when it comes to communication.
Some of the biggest frustrations centred around the technology they are using. Poor audio quality and connection lapses were mentioned as key issues while working from home. No doubt many of us can sympathise, having experienced delayed audio on a conference call or loss of internet at a crucial moment.
Conferencing etiquette was also raised as an important factor by respondents – this included people forgetting to self-mute and creating unnecessary background noise, or parallel conversations taking place between colleagues on a call.
With many of us still working from home and a more flexible-working model likely to be in place in the future, there are tools out there that can enable easier and more efficient remote communication, taking away some of these challenges.
Many businesses are already well-equipped to deal with remote working. But for those which aren’t, or those which are dissatisfied with how things are currently running, a unified communications strategy – integrating telephony, video and conference calling and other communication tools such as email and messaging – is key to efficiency.
While the focus has largely been on getting employees set up with smartphones and laptops, the desk phone shouldn’t be overlooked. An anchor in the office environment, it can fulfil the same role at home as part of your video and audio communications mix.
Desk phones can be set up remotely, meaning you can be reached by everyone directly, via your office number. You can also have access to the company directory and your list of favourite contacts, for speedy dialling.
Most importantly, desk phones offer users a superior audio quality experience, with better speakers than can be found on a smartphone. So, if you want to avoid those awkward moments where audio drops out, this could be the way to go.
Fundamentals of your home office
You may be surprised at how easy and affordable it is to build a quality home office setup by having just a few communication tools to hand.
IP desk phones can easily be setup at home using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows you to securely access your company’s servers. Once the device is connected to your LAN router, you can take calls just as you would in the office.
Add to this a speaker system, connected to your phone via a USB stick, and you can make conference calls a piece of cake. And if you want to move around freely while talking and still receive great audio quality, you can link a wireless DECT headset up to your desk phone.
At a time when quality, stability, reliability and security of technology is key, having communication tools that can tick all of these boxes makes a massive difference to the remote-working experience for businesses and their employees