Few businesses are stationary today. Chances are, some if not all of your clients have employees working from home, in other offices, or while on the road. The world has become a much smaller and more accessible place for conducting business.
The latest workplace-related research confirms those trends. Forbes estimates that 50% of the U.S. workforce will soon be remote and 2018 Future Workforce Report by Upwork claims that nearly two out of three (63%) employers are already offering their employees some form of flex option. When you add in all the people who travel for business or pleasure and still need access to vital systems and communications, it’s no wonder there’s such a strong demand for mobile technologies and professionals to support them.
Just a decade ago, many were projecting that the internet would significantly curtail business travel. After all, when companies could hold video conferences from virtually anyplace with a web connection, they could save a fortune without having to shell out for plane tickets, hotel rooms, and meeting space.
The reality is that innovation seems to have had the opposite effect on travel. Airlines and hotels are experiencing tremendous growth, as are the mobility solutions that were supposed to bring about the demise of travel.
In fact, technological innovations are allowing more people to work from remote locations, and the recent workplace trends appear to be fueling an even greater shift away from the traditional office space. Businesses are becoming more flexible to attract new talent, retain their valued employees, and stay a step or two ahead of the competition.
Those trends represent perfect opportunities for MSPs, especially in the SMB space. Those companies need experts to design and construct the infrastructure and integrate and support all the various solutions needed to keep their team members connected and productive. Those seem like heady responsibilities for a company with few if any IT resources.
New Options Give You and Your Clients More Flexibility
Fortunately for MSPs, delivering mobility solutions gets easier every year. That’s not to say developing and providing quality support for those technologies is simple, but with a dizzying amount of resources available to help partners expand their capabilities, more providers are taking advantage of the opportunities. Mobility is a differentiator.
How can you prepare your team to support the remote office needs of the SMB? Ensure your portfolio includes a full complement wireless network solutions, VPNs, backup and disaster recovery options, advanced security measures and collaborative tools such as Slack, GoToMeeting, or Trello.
Don’t forget one of the most critical pieces of any remote office: hosted VoIP. Organizations typically rely on phones for their primary communications and those virtual solutions allow employees to transition seamlessly between work locations. Whether at home, in a remote office, or relaxing on the beach in Hawaii, they can take and make important business calls just like they were at HQ.
With flexible call-forwarding (users set the schedule) and the ability to mask other phones as office extensions, no one but the boss has to know employees’ actual locations. Hosted VoIP provides a number of benefits for remote office workers and business travelers, including:
- Call transfer: incoming calls can be shifted to any internal extension or external phone number, or directly to voicemail.
- Conference lines: Initiate 3-way calls on the fly to collaborate on work projects, close sales, or perform other activities.
- Reporting: managers can monitor team phone activities and call times for each extension, and export summaries of various metrics to track employee performance. A handy way for companies to provide oversight with a geographically-diverse workforce.
- Email/text notifications: voicemail messages and faxes can be directly forwarded to employees as an email or text. Perfect for those who need to keep up to date when in meetings or in situations where it would be hard to take a phone call (on a plane, at the beach, during the kids’ soccer games, etc.)
- Call recording: employees and managers can playback calls to validate details and for training purposes (customer services, sales, lead generation teams)
Hosted VoIP takes the burden out of working remote. Co-workers can see who is in meetings or on the phone, and seamlessly forward calls to available employees no matter their location.
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