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Teleworking for SMEs

SMEs generally decide to replace their old telephone systems with … a new telephone system. But there is software available now that does everything a telephone system can do. It doesn’t just make phone calls cheaper; it also includes lots of options for teleworking and better remote collaboration too. Here are a number of considerations and practical tips. 

 

More than just making calls

Simply making telephone calls is no longer sufficient as a sole means of communication. Lots of time is lost on unanswered calls. So a suitable solution for efficient collaboration is required; not just for communicating with colleagues in your office, but also with other employees, customers and partners elsewhere. Unified Communications solves this problem with the combined use of instant messaging (chat), email, telephony, and audio, video and web conferencing. A presence function allows you see immediately if someone is available and you always work in real time, wherever you are.

 

Which software?

There are only two solutions that offer all the benefits of Unified Communications and allow you to completely replace your old telephone system: Microsoft Lync and Cisco Jabber. Skype is not an option because it’s intended for private individuals or sole traders, and so doesn’t have adequate possibilities for SMEs. Lync and Jabber are the only two software tools on the market with all the whistles and bells for professional use. Cisco Jabber uses network equipment and is a bit more expensive, whereas Lync is more software-based. It’s also perfectly integrated with Microsoft Office, so can become part of the normal working environment more easily. It makes most sense for companies already working with Microsoft to opt for Microsoft Lync.
 

The first condition for teleworking

We don’t think it’s a good idea to let people work from home without software such as Microsoft Lync. Colleagues can get the feeling that a teleworker isn’t available if he or she is working alone and isn’t involved in the work at the office. But sometimes people want to work from home just so they don’t get disturbed and can concentrate on a particular task. In this case you can set your presence status to ‘do not disturb’ so your colleagues know you’re temporarily unavailable, and the teleworker can still contact colleagues when they need to.

 

Other benefits of Microsoft Lync

Employees can get to work straight away, without needing a fixed work station or installed cables and telephones, when moving to a different location. New or temporary employees can also get started straight away.
 

You don’t need to travel every time you want to consult with customers and partners; you can efficiently hold meetings and share knowledge remotely with video conferencing and by sharing your computer screen. This helps you work faster and more flexibly, and organize your calendar better too.

 

Why instant messaging?

Instant messaging is the perfect communication tool for asking a colleague a quick question without disturbing them too much. Emails are too inefficient for quick questions, and telephone calls are too intrusive. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that instant messaging is only suitable for ‘hip’ business sectors such as advertising and communication. Anyone who collaborates with customers a lot and works intensively on computers will benefit from instant messaging.

Still hesitant? Ask your software supplier for a demo version and try Lync out for a couple of weeks. If you then decide to switch to Lync, your supplier can take care of the Lync integration with your existing IT environment. Alongside this integration, a company like Orbit One will also pay attention to change management and provide training, inspired by their own experience with Lync.

Working efficiently Working efficiently

Op 20/02/2014 door Olivier

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