Connecting to flexible working
Connect – your office phone on your mobile
The boundaries between office desk-bound working and flexible, anywhere working are increasingly blurring. Data from only a few years ago showed that approximately 13% of the UK’s working population were routinely working from home (ONS 2015), while it is now estimated that by 2020 half of the UK workforce will be working this way.
This is a boon for employers who have variously reported increased productivity, fewer sick days, increased worker retention and lower office space overheads as a result. Workers like it too as they struggle less to achieve a satisfactory work/life balance, reduce their stress levels and get more enjoyment from their jobs.
In the main the transition between office and home working is seamless. Email stays consistent. The now almost universal trend towards virtualisation and cloud applications has made business systems location agnostic. Thanks to Virtual Private Networks secure access to corporate data is not a problem.
But thus far mobile phones – the weapon of choice for the majority of remote and home workers – have remained stubbornly outside the office telephone environment. Features taken for granted by deskbound colleagues – call groups, company phone directories, conferencing, call queues, group voicemail, call recording and more – are denied them.
of the UK’s working population were routinely working from home (ONS 2015), while it is now estimated that by 2020 half of the UK workforce will be working this way.
Part of the Team
The consequence of this fixed/mobile divide is that those workers who are very much part of the team when they are in the office, can sometimes feel like lone operators when they are working at home.
Now Gamma has squared this circle with its new Connect product – a marriage of the Horizon full-feature, cloud hosted telephony solution and the Gamma mobile telephony service.
Staff working away from the office have the full range of internal PBX facilities at their fingertips. They can answer incoming calls to their hunt group, transfer and accept calls to and from other team members, present the main office number when calling out and enjoy all the other facilities their desk-based colleagues use. All without needing a smartphone or a special app, just by using their standard mobile handset.
“It means flexible workers using their mobiles can stay a fully integrated part of their team regardless of where they happen to be working.”
A key feature of Connect is its support for centrally managed call recording and logging. With so many compliance and regulatory regimes demanding fully-traceable call records, Connect makes such recording available seamlessly across both fixed and mobile networks. There is also logging of calling patterns, times of day and call duration to allow supervisors to measure staff efficiency and productivity, and to ensure work schedules are being adhered to.
Visual voicemail is seen as another major benefit. Common to both fixed and mobile it provides one simple yet detailed interface onto all voice messaging, thus users are able to respond promptly and appropriately from any location.
But while the features and facilities of Connect will have widespread appeal, according to Gamma product director Alan Mackie it is likely to be its ease of adoption that will be the most compelling. “Industry wide, a lot of fixed/mobile deployments have failed in the past for one reason; complexity of adoption and use. People have had to find and install apps then really want to use them. Why would they go to this trouble when it’s much simpler for them to just pick up their mobiles and make a call?” says Mackie.
“They’re just making and receiving calls in the normal way, using exactly the same way of working whether they are in the office, on the move or at home.”
“With Connect it is utterly seamless. People don’t have to think about using it. They may not even be aware that they are using it.”
“The market is very much focused on replacing PBXs. Companies no longer want the burden of hardware and its maintenance and support. Instead we’re seeing office telecoms going the same way as desktop and business systems into the cloud,” says Mackie.
“With the first Connect users already well established with the product, and a lot of interest being shown by our existing Horizon users and prospects, we expect to see a substantial demand for our fixed/mobile offer going forward.”
The availability of Connect coincides with a growing trend being seen in the telecoms industry away from on-premise PBXs and towards hosted services like Gamma’s Horizon.