We are a year into this pandemic, and the office landscape has been forever changed.  Both companies and employees learned what working from home looks like. It is not all good, or all bad.  There is a lot of self-discipline that needs to take place and many employees loved it, and others found the distractions more than they can resist.

Employers also learned that maybe the giant office space is not necessarily needed, and the decrease in liability by not having employees hanging in the break room might be worth not seeing everyone’s face in person.  The biggest hurdle to being productive at work is having the right tools available to get your job done.

Things were already getting migrated to the cloud, Covid-19 just expedited all of us into using it, opposed to testing it.   One of the biggest tools a company needs is a phone system that can handle whatever you throw at it.  We have done a couple of blogs on VoIP and some of the benefits of using a VoIP system over conventional phone system.  We even discussed some of the differences between hosted, and an on-premises solution.

A quick recap of the differences, the hosted solution just plug-in phones pretty much anywhere with internet and they should attach to phone system via the internet.  Downside is fee per phone per month, whereas an on-premises phone system could have many phones and billed monthly on concurrent phone calls needed.  (for example, could have 20 phones around the office, so you can grab an incoming call from multiple locations, but only need 5 lines because no more than 5 concurrent calls would happen at any one time.) In this scenario your bill monthly would only be for the 5 “Phone-lines” per month.  So much less expensive over the life of your phones.  If only there was a way to get a hybrid system that could combine the flexibility of the hosted with the savings of the on premises.  We now have that solution.

Techno Advantage is a certified Grandstream partner. Their newest generation of phone servers has a cloud element that will allow easy access for your phones from anywhere. Without getting too techy, we can point your phones to the cloud server, and it will securely relay to your phone server on site without having to create VPN or open any additional ports on your firewall.  Remember how important the VPN and Firewall are (if not, check out those blogs!), so not creating another ‘gate’ means your phones are secure. We have been using this system since it came out, and recently have used the offsite portion extensively…In the days of Covid-19 we have all been quarantined, and a couple of us even tested positive.  Working remotely was our only option.  Phones rang like they were supposed to, now whether they were always answered like they should have been has been up for debate, but it wasn’t for lack of ringing.  There is also a softphone app that you can download on your cell phone, and a web interface you can use on your laptop, tablet, or computer.  Our phones all have the BLF (Busy lamp field) lights showing if a person is on a call or not (available light is green, on the phone light is red, flashing red, line is ringing), and all the BLF’s were working remotely as well.  The phones all work exactly the same as they do in the office including voicemail, extension to extension, incoming and outgoing calls.

Internet rules still apply, you must have a decent internet connection to ensure that the phone traffic can travel without congestion (this means if you have 5 people in your house watching 5 different movies while you are trying to make a call, you might have some trouble on your cheapest package available from your Internet service provider).  We didn’t have any call quality issues that I am aware of, and we use the phones A LOT.  The phone system is a solid solution for an on-premises solution by itself, but with the option of remote workers seamlessly working off same system without a lot of work on their end is a huge bonus.  If you are interested in discussing your options for phone service, we would be glad to talk with you and give you some 1st hand experience and recommendations.

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