Brought on by the pandemic was a major shift to remote working. Initially, this was a solution to enable companies to continue their operations while in-person connectivity was halted, however, it was quickly realized by both employers and employees that there are many benefits to remote working. As a result of this shift, today’s business landscape has forever changed. Many organizations have now moved to, or are planning to move to a hybrid working model.
A hybrid working model is set up to allow employees to work remotely and in the office. The benefits gained from offering a more permanent and flexible arrangement for staff include increased employee satisfaction and retention, increased productivity and performance, a decrease in the overall environmental impact, and lower operating costs to your business.
It’s important to note, however, that to adopt a hybrid work model, businesses still require technology and tools to manage off-site work and enable seamless collaboration among their dispersed staff. Below we will explore some hybrid working tools that companies should consider when transitioning to a hybrid workplace.
Hybrid Workplace Model: Tools and Technology
Internet connectivity is the first priority when shifting to remote and hybrid work models. An employee’s at-home workspace now has to function as an extension of the company office so a fast, reliable Internet connection is essential. To improve communications and maximize productivity employees will need enough bandwidth and speeds to be able to access and deploy the business applications and services they need.
This requires connectivity solutions that have the ability to keep up with the network usage. Business grade and Dedicated Internet solutions will provide a strong foundation that will help to sustain a seamless hybrid work model, reducing lag time and increasing download and upload speeds.
To ensure network connectivity, providers like Execulink also offer solutions to help maximize speed and reliability and offer a network connection if your primary internet goes down. Hybrid Bonded Internet and LTE Backup can enhance your connection and give you peace of mind.
Remote Access Solutions
It is possible to recreate a physical office space remotely with dedicated networks and remote access solutions.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure, point-to-point connection between two network endpoints that allow users to connect to a central network remotely through the public internet. Employees are able to work remotely from anywhere and connect to their company’s intranet so they have access to shared files from their office computers that they usually could only access while in the office. A VPN is a secure and reliable method of sharing information across multiple computer networks.
Utilizing a VPN connects remote users through their business’ private network or a third-party VPN service, effectively avoiding the potential for data theft; anyone intercepting the encrypted data won’t be able to read it.
To put it simply, VPNs help bolster and assure security while allowing employees to make use of organizational resources, ensuring that business can continue as usual.
Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN) is very similar to a VPN, connecting to your main network across an ISP, but the main difference is that it uses multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technology to prioritize internet traffic and avoid public gateways to increase security. This guarantees that mission-critical applications always get the bandwidth needed while less important traffic waits in line.
Prioritizing internet traffic will help to better serve VoIP, video conferencing, and cloud services. If your business has multiple employees and branches that require remote and secure access to your company intranet to share sensitive data, an IP VPN is a great solution.
As businesses continue to adjust to the new normal, they are increasingly seeing the value in reliable communications systems that can adapt to their changing business models.
A Hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is an Internet-based or cloud-based phone system that is hosted off-site. It allows you to make calls using the Internet rather than relying on copper wires or fibre optics to make a connection as many traditional analog phones do. Your phones are physically on-site, but they connect to secure cloud servers through a new or existing Internet connection.
A hosted phone solution allows you to take your business with you, anywhere and anytime. You can customize your call flow based on your business’s specific needs, replicate a dynamic office environment from your mobile device, and take calls if you’re out of the office. Essentially, employees can work from anywhere! This is ideal for remote working as well as for any outbound staff who may be required to travel.
If your business has multiple locations, the hosted phone system enables all of your sites to function as a single organization, even when each site is separated geographically. A hosted phone provides a unified management platform and the extension of shared feature sets at each site. With direct extension dialing between offices and remote presence for home office users, phone calls are managed as if all of your employees are in the same physical location even when they’re not.
Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app within the Microsoft 365 suite of software and services. It’s designed for teamwork that combines instant messaging, voice, video, and file-sharing in real-time. With the number of employees now working remotely and communicating across different locations, many businesses are adopting Microsoft Teams and their advanced voice and calling features.
Calling was introduced in 2018 as a new communication feature enabling organizations to use their Teams platform as their primary business phone system with full PBX voice calling capabilities. By adding voice and PBX capabilities to Teams it allows businesses to standardize their voice services across all regions to lower costs, reduce complexity, and provide a consistent experience.
Execulink’s Direct Routing enables voice connectivity between your customers and employees through access to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) with the help of a secure, hosted Session Border Controller. Certified Session Border Controllers are a firewall for VoIP and provide a layer of security and protection from attacks, breaches, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) while providing Quality of Service (QoS) between multiple networks. Unlike other providers, Execulink leverages a geographically redundant SBC network hosted on Canadian soil to connect to a Microsoft Teams PBX.
There are many benefits of Direct Routing but many businesses opt for Direct Routing over Microsoft Calling Plans because it enables customers to choose their own telecom provider to host their PBX, allowing for greater affordability and flexibility with calling plans.
If you are one of the 66% of employers around the world that are considering redesigning their workplace to accommodate a hybrid workplace, ensure you have the necessary tools and technology to foster a more flexible and inclusive workspace. Centralizing communications for both on-site and remote workers will only help your business succeed in this new era of work.