While for many the office remains critical to business life, it’s equally true that companies want to support different ways of working. There are good reasons for this – a general trend towards increased mobility, cost savings, productivity and efficiency gains.
Despite this, there can be scepticism about the participation and involvement of remote colleagues, as a recent article from Quocirca points out. Remote workers may be seen as not fully engaged or missing out on key elements of company life and society.
But virtual organisations have many benefits and remote employees can contribute as much as those in the office. Remote employees in the field are often closer to customers and can operate at the coalface. Additionally, as organisations grow, remote working options can both be a long-term solution and a key first step to the establishment of new permanent teams and offices via pioneers.
Such employees need solutions that enable them not only to be part of the same communications infrastructure, but perceived to be part of it. They must be a seamless element of the complete team and not seen as someone reachable only via their mobile phone. As the article notes, a Mobile PBX solution can achieve this, but only if the mobile is treated as an equivalent of a desk phone.
The mobile needs to be a fully integrated part of the PBX and the best way to achieve this is via a cloud-based solution that enables all devices – mobile, fixed, soft, IP – to be treated as extensions of the same platform. The user simply nominates the preferred device on which to receive and place calls and the solution ensures that the same functionality is available across all devices, for both inbound and outbound calls.
Such a fully integrated solution isn’t easy to achieve with today’s IP Centrex platforms, but new, mobile centric solutions are able to manage the complex routing and call control necessary to deliver this.
Only by removing the distinction between fixed, mobile, IP and soft phones can truly virtual teams be enabled and empowered – and deliver the expected productivity gains. For virtual teams, the focus should be on communications, not devices.