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The SME Guide to Cloud Telephony for Hybrid Working

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The global pandemic has set new precedents in our attitudes towards how, where, and when we work. Lockdowns taught us that so much more can be done remotely than we ever thought possible and proved to the UK workforce that a large percentage of businesses could facilitate remote working structures – and now it could be here to stay.

 

As labour markets become increasingly competitive, SMEs must make sure they stand out as businesses that will invest in their workforce, show care and compassion towards their wellbeing, and be flexible in how their employees’ work.

For companies to continue to grow and retain loyal staff, they will need to begin implementing more permanent systems to allow their employees the option to work remotely.

Hybrid working models can benefit both company and employee. According to the ONS, most UK workers stated that they completed their work quicker and with fewer distractions, boosting their productivity.

A key struggle for employees working from home during the pandemic was communicating with members of their team and working collaboratively on shared projects. Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams have become essential elements

of office and remote working. By also using cloud telephony features that are integrated into these systems, employees can centre the majority of their professional communication and collaborations with clients and co-workers in one place.

 

What is cloud telephony?

When the pandemic began, many UK firms had to quickly change how they operate to continue working. For some businesses less equipped to deal with the rapid transition to remote working, legacy phone systems meant customers and suppliers were unable to get in touch due to the physical location of office landline phones. Cloud telephony is a telecommunications system that uses an internet connection to make and receive phone calls. Unlike traditional landlines, cloud telephony allows you to assign work numbers to employee accounts so staff members can manage work calls from any device. Cloud telephony solutions like Microsoft 365 Business Voice bring together call, chat and meetings into a single app to enable collaborations and customer service across one simple interface and telephone number.

Cloud telephony systems can be a huge asset to SMEs because of their flexibility and easy integration. The services are typically provided by a third party on a monthly subscription, making them easy to budget and manage. Unrestricted by location or time zones, the cloud telephony options can save a small business operational costs, like international and local phone bills; with no hardware installation necessary, there are none of the costs associated with traditional landlines.

The evolution of hybrid working starts with revolutionising and streamlining the communication tools available for team projects and customer interfacing. By combining cloud telephony, business telecoms and information sharing into one platform, SMEs can make hybrid working an affordable and sustainable reality.

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