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6 Ways a Cloud Phone System Keeps Remote Employees and Offices Connected

cloud VoIP phone system

Today, utilizing communication technology in your business is more important than ever before. Business phone systems, email, and recently video conferencing have become critical to keeping our teams connected and productive as we’ve all learned to work together while apart.

If you are like many businesses, you may have multiple physical offices and employees working from home. Email and video are already designed to work from anywhere but what about your phone system? Most traditional business phone systems struggle when trying to connect branch offices, remote employees, and home offices.

A great way to enhance your business communication and keep everyone connected is by switching to a cloud phone system. This will provide you with a flexible and cost-efficient solution that offers everything you need to save money and stay productive.

Here is a realistic multi-site business scenario. Let’s look at how a cloud hosted VoIP Phone system keeps everyone connected:

You run a business with a home office in Syracuse NY. After steady growth you also open branch offices in Rochester, Buffalo and Albany. Due to the pandemic, you have a hybrid work environment where most of your employees currently work from home but come into the office when needed for certain projects.

#1: Everyone uses one unified business phone system

Traditional phone systems rely on a PBX (also known as a Private Branch Exchange). This expensive phone hardware is in your main office and acts as the brains of your phone system. For branch or remote offices to connect to the system in the central office, a VPN or some type of expensive dedicated connection is usually required. You also might wind up having a separate PBX in each office. This adds additional expenses and causes challenges as the system is not unified and can require a great deal of configuration to support remote employees.

With a cloud phone system, the PBX is hosted on servers on the internet. All that is required to connect each office is an internet connection and a VoIP business phone. Each endpoint, or device, is connecting to a single phone system across the internet. This allows auto-attendants to have menu items that route calls to individuals regardless of locations. Also, employees working from home can access all the same features they do when they are in the office. They can direct-dial any extension, check the BLF lights to see if someone is on the phone, and easily transfer calls to anyone.

There is no need to track down personal cell phones for those working outside the office or worry about them missing important calls.

#2: Flexibility

A cloud PBX offers total flexibility because you can easily have a phone in any location with an internet connection. Maybe you have a single person that needs to work from a remote office, or you hire someone that works out of state. Just provide them with a phone and they are fully connected!

When I first started working with The Garam Group I was living in Florida and planned to move back to Syracuse NY. I was not able to move until 6 months after they hired me but with a laptop and a VoIP Phone connected to the internet, I was able to work remotely with ease. I was included in ring or hunt groups, everyone could 3-digit dial my extension to call me, and I had access to all the same great features of the phone system just like I was physically in the office.

If you’ve adopted a hybrid work model and have employees that split their time between home and the office, you have options. You can have them bring their phone back and forth to each location (as soon as the phone boots up it connects to the phone system), purchase a dedicated phone for home, or use a softphone or smartphone app.

#3: Mobility

For times when employees are away from their desk phone, they can use any device: a smartphone or tablet, with a mobile app, or their computer with the softphone application. The app connects to the main business phone system from anywhere when launched, provided they have internet access.

The smartphone app allows your smartphone to act as an extension of your company PBX. When the app is logged in, you can place outgoing calls using the company’s caller ID, protecting the privacy of your employee’s personal cell phone number. Once again, all the critical office phone system features will work so coworkers can transfer calls and dial your extension directly and it rings on your smartphone or tablet.

Never worry about missing an important call again.

#4: Scalable

Want to add another office or more work from home employees? No problem! Just get another phone and add a new extension to the system. Because there are no expensive up-front equipment costs it is easy and cost-effective to increase or decrease the number of extensions you have at any time.

Traditional phone systems are often purchased with a specific capacity in mind. If your business grows beyond that initially planned number of extensions or users, you must spend more money to add cards or upgrade to a newer system. The same is true when you want to add additional features.

With a cloud hosted phone system all you do is add new extensions when you want to grow. Any new features are added to the existing system automatically, so you’ll never outgrow your phone system and it never gets outdated.

#5: Voicemail to Email and Virtual Faxing

There are lots of features that typically come with a cloud phone system that are specifically designed to help people stay connected when they are outside the office.

Voicemail to email allows you to receive an email when someone leaves you a voicemail with an audio file attached. If you miss a call, there is no need to dial into the phone system to check your messages. Many systems also provide voicemail transcription so you can read the message if you are not able to listen to the audio (like in a meeting or on another call).

Virtual faxing allows you to send and receive faxes via email. This means you are no longer dependent on being near a physical fax machine when expecting an important fax or signed document.

The advantage of receiving voicemails and faxes via email is you can easily save them to project folders or forward them to others who might need the information.

#6: Reduce costs and simplify billing management

With a cloud phone system, gone are the headaches of managing multiple phone systems, dial tone providers (like Spectrum or Verizon that often provide your phone lines), or juggle multiple phone bills across several offices.

You will receive a single monthly invoice that includes all the lines for your entire company, including remote offices and employees. That results in a simplified billing process, so managers and corporate accounting no longer need to approve numerous phone bills.

A cloud phone system can also reduce costs as it is typically less expensive than a traditional phone system. By using the internet instead of individual phone lines and often eliminating domestic long-distance charges – most cloud phone systems save money every month over their traditional counterparts.

OK this sounds great – how much will it cost and how hard it is to switch to a cloud phone system?

The cost will vary but it’s almost always less expensive than a landline setup – especially because you don’t have to invest in any costly PBX hardware.

The monthly cost is primarily based on the number and type of extensions you need. Although most of the features are included with a Standard Extension, there may be some more enhanced features that only certain users need. Costs also depend on how many physical phones you need to purchase and if there are any minor network upgrades necessary to support the phone system.

Switching to a hosted cloud phone system is straight forward and not as scary or difficult as you may think – especially if you choose the right vendor. They can handle porting your existing numbers to the system, setting up all your ring groups, auto-attendants, call flows, and customizations to make sure the system works the way you want or need it to.

How can I get started?

If you’re a business with offices in Syracuse, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, or anywhere else in Central NY just give us a call or fill out the contact form. We would love to schedule a short phone call or Zoom consult to get more information about your business, your current phone system, and provide you with a quote on how you can quickly transition to a flexible, modern cloud phone system.

The Garam Group has been in business helping clients in Central New York for over 20 years. We pride ourselves on our exceptional level of customer service. We can customize and set up your new phone system, provide unlimited ongoing support, and make sure the transition is smooth and painless. Give us a call today!

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Phil Montero

Phil Montero

Phil Montero is a Marketing and Solution Engineer at The Garam Group working with companies to help them choose the right tools and thoughtfully apply them to improve their business. He has spent the last 2 decades sharing his technology tips and strategies through consulting, blog posts, videos, and webinars to help educate clients, keep them up to date on current technology, and navigate the changing world of work. When he's not writing or talking about tech, he can be found drinking coffee, playing ukulele, or cheering on his NY Giants.