Now the UK is moving along its prescribed ‘roadmap’ to the next normal, most business owners and decision makers are anticipating that things will transition towards more ‘hybrid working models'.
While the term ‘hybrid working model’ has been interpreted in a number of different ways, it generally refers to employers granting their teams more freedom around how, when and where they choose to do their work.
In some cases this could mean individual employees working a few days from the office, and a few days remotely each week – a set up that 77% of UK employees said would be the best way forward post-lockdown.
Other conversations on this subject have been around having some employees, teams or departments working 100% remotely, while others work entirely on site.
Overall, the common goal of businesses looking into these approaches appears to be to prioritise what gets done over how it gets done.
What businesses must do to make it work
There are numerous things that businesses looking to adopt hybrid working models can do to care for their employees on a personal level.
In fact, we discussed a lot of them here in our previous post.
But there is one thing that is vital for businesses looking to prepare for this hybrid near future, and unfortunately, it is often overlooked: better communications capabilities.
The importance of a strong communications infrastructure
If hybrid working practices were new stories being added on to a building, your communications infrastructure would be the foundation they rest upon.
A number of communications problems experienced widely by homeworkers during the height of the pandemic revealed employers' insufficient communications capabilities.
- Inconsistent connectivity
- Network outages
- Fragmented contactability
Teams wishing to transition successfully into the world of hybrid working need to invest in a reliable, secure, high-availability communications infrastructure.
The right system in this case, would be a cloud-hosted telephony system.
Cloud-hosted telephony can keep every single one of your team, both in the office or out, connected and contactable.
Read on as we explain how...
Problem 1: Inconsistent connectivity
In the earlier days of lockdown, remote workers across the UK experienced problems with important voice calls failing to connect, particularly when made between networks.
Businesses not having the right communications infrastructure played a big hand in this.
Without access to enterprise-level communications capabilities from their employers, most home workers had to lean on mobile networks from their personal mobile devices.
Solution: Voice over Internet Protocol
Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP) is what underpins cloud-based telephony systems.
VoIP empowers everyone in your team with the same crisp, clear voice quality – regardless of location, timezone, or choice of device.
As long as your team can connect to the internet, they can leverage all the capability of your business communications systems.
Problem 2: Outages and downtime
Reliable, secure communications are key to keeping geographically-distributed teams working at their best. But network outages are more common than most businesses would care to admit.
A study conducted by LogicMonitor found that 96% of organisations had experienced at least one outage between 2016 and 2019.
The disruption that comes from outages and other causes of communications downtime can represent devastating losses in real terms.
Solution: Geo-redundant architecture
The best cloud telephony services run on geo-redundant architecture, meaning the service you receive is supported by multiple data centres in different locations.
If one data centre goes down, your telephony data and service can simply failover to another centre in a different location.
This gives users the benefit of resilient, 'always available' connection.
By leveraging cloud telephony, hybrid teams can stay up and running through even the most extreme causes of downtime, from glitches and outages to natural disasters.
Problem 3: Fragmented contactability
As mentioned above, businesses with outdated, on-premise communications systems put pressure on their remote workers to use mobile devices.
Whether it's a personal phone or one provided by their employer, this can make it harder to contact individual employees, both internally and externally – replacing the traditional office system of a business number and extension with a disparate web of mobile numbers.
For sales and client relationships teams operating remotely, this can actually compromise the ability to secure new leads.
Data from caller ID app Hiya recently revealed that 76 percent of calls from an unidentified or unfamiliar number go unanswered.
Solution: Unification under one single business number
Cloud telephony allows everyone in your team, on any device, in any location, to be connected and unified on the same network, contactable via one single business number.
For hybrid teams, this establishes a seamlessly connected experience across your entire business communications network.
The best cloud telephony providers will also grant users sophisticated caller ID, so when you make an outbound call, the recipient knows your business is on the other line.
The combination of a single business number with a trustworthy caller ID makes your team members more contactable via inbound calls, while increasing the percentage of outbound calls that get picked up – as data from Hiya also shows 53% of calls identified with a business name were answered.
- Businesses are anticipated to be transitioning towards more 'hybrid' working models in the years to come, accommodating a mixture of remote working and traditional on-site modes of working.
- A strong communications infrastructure is vital to ensuring hybrid teams have access to the same level of resources whether they are in or out of the office
- Cloud-hosted telephony benefits hybrid teams in a number of ways in which traditional on-premise telephone systems fall short...
- Granting all employees access to enterprise-level communications capabilities, across any location, time zone, or device
- Keeping communications up and running at all times with highly resilient, secure connectivity//Unifying all your staff under one single business number, increasing your contactability across inbound and outbound call activity.