Five Tips to Keep Employees Connected

By Adam Simpson, CEO, Easy Office Phone — February 05, 2014

Today’s workforce increasingly demands flexibility in physical location.  More employees than ever are choosing to work from home offices, from the road using smartphones, or in some cases, from abroad.  Below are tips on how employers can use a cloud-based phone service (also called Hosted PBX) to keep employees connected, no matter where they are located. 

  1. Call forwarding and find me/follow me.  If an employee doesn’t answer his/her desk phone for a specified period of time, you can use the “find/follow me” feature on cloud-based phone services to locate alternative numbers.  Those numbers can be outside your company – for example, an external cell phone or landline.  Think of these alternative numbers as “locations.”  You can specify how long calls should ring at each location, and chain up to three locations together using either concurrent or sequential dialing. 
  2. Multiple locations per extension.  Cloud PBX service allows a user to register his phone at more than one location. Your employee can have more than one desk phone and set them all up to ring and make calls from an identical number.  This is ideal for those who occasionally work from a secondary office or from home.
  3. Smartphone apps.  Most major smartphone platforms – Android, Apple and Blackberry – have app options available for users looking to integrate directly with their company’s Hosted PBX service.  These apps register with the PBX provider and then behave in a manner identical to the user’s desk phone, becoming essentially a mobile “clone.”  When the user makes outgoing calls, the receiving party will see the company’s caller ID, not the caller ID of the smartphone.  When running the app, the smartphone will also obey all rules set for that user’s extension, such as memberships in hunt groups and call queues.
  4. Soft phones.  The desktop or laptop computer version of a smartphone app is called a soft phone.  These programs emulate phone functionality, again behaving as a “clone” of a user’s physical desk unit.  Users working remotely via computers can simply install the software and quickly begin to make and receive calls.  The only requirements include a USB headset and a suitable Internet connection.  A variety of soft phones are available for PC, Mac and Unix operating systems. 
  5. Business Hour Rules.  You may wish to give your clients different options outside of regular business hours, such as reaching an emergency after-hours support team, or even route calls to a separate group of staff in a different time zone.  By using business hour rules, routing calls by time of day is simple and automatic.  You can also manually “open” and “close” your office by entering a feature code if you prefer direct control or if your office hours fluctuate.
Whether your business is looking to attract talent by offering work flexibility, or seamlessly integrate geographically distant staff, or to simply become more responsive to clients, the best path to follow is the one that leads to the cloud. 


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