Are you ready for remote working?

Are you ready for remote working?

At a time when so many people are asked to work from home, it’s important to create a comfortable, secure and distraction free space. However, creating a home office can be a big change and we want to share productive guidance and tools to help you and your employees be at their most productive.

Connaught has been supporting businesses and organisations with their telephony systems for more than 30 years and has always encouraged remote and flexible working. Our employees and customers have great suggestions and tips for what they’ve learned in that time.

Here are six essentials for setting up your workspace and staying productive from home.

1.Establish a designated work area. This might not be a separate room, but define your workspace and make it as free of distraction as possible, away from noise and clutter.

2. Create habits that establish your workday. It’s easy to start working in your pyjamas without eating breakfast, but showering and putting clothes on will mentally gear you towards your workday and establishes healthy routines.

3. Set up your virtual workspace. Whether it’s internet providers or communications software, a technology system that works will be key to enabling your communication and collaboration. Connaught’s Xelion software enables any of our customers to take and make calls from home (with all installation and programming work carried out remotely).

4. Keep on communicating. Without a physical presence, and with changing daily habits and routines, it becomes more important to find new ways to communicate with your colleagues. You can set a status or let team members know via instant chat – all features which come as standard with our Xelion software.

5. Look after your health. It often feels like it’s never the right time to take a break and even though remote work can help with your work life balance, it can also make it hard to disconnect. Maintain structure in your days and make sure to build in breaks.

6. Set guidelines with your family and your work. Establish clear boundaries with work to make sure that you are not “always on” and have a clear workday switch with work and home intent clearly mapped out.

Connaught’s range of home working solutions can help you to keep your communication seamless, make you feel like you’re in the office and help you stay part of the conversation.

In order to support businesses during this time, we are offering our cloud based Xelion platform on a simple, non-contract subscription. This means that you can have a flexible, short term solution to enable you and your employees to work from home. Our expert engineering team can carry out the installation and programming remotely, so there is no need to visit your office or home.

If you’d like more information on our various options call our dedicated team today on 0800 652 7861. 

When will “normal telephone lines become obsolete?

When will traditional telephone lines become obsolete?

The benefits of switching to cloud-based telephony are undeniable. Goodbye hardware and hello sleek functionality, easier ways of working and cheaper calls.

That said, making the jump from “normal” telephone lines to the more modern cloud-based services can feel daunting, and it is often tempting to just put it off as long as possible. But just how long can you put it off, and is putting it off the right thing to do?

In this blog, we will answer these questions and more.

The days of “normal” telephone lines are numbered
Firstly, the right name for “normal” telephone lines is ISDN, or Integrated Services Digital Network. This type of phone line was introduced by BT over 30 years ago, and it is now an almost completely obsolete technology. In fact, BT has not installed an ISDN line in central London since 2014 – showing just how old hat it really is.

The truth is, businesses are now abandoning ISDN lines at a rapid pace, and rightly so, because their days are numbered. BT has pledged to have all its ISDN and PSTN networks switched to more modern alternatives by 2025.

What are the alternatives?
VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has been hailed one of the top alternatives for UK businesses, because it offers reliable communications using the internet. Call costs are lower, scalability is simplified, and the enhanced features will make you wonder how you ever did business before VOIP.

Is it right to put off the switch for as long as possible?

There is absolutely no sense in putting off the inevitable, especially when there are so many business benefits to be gained from switching. It has been proven in countless studies that businesses which switch to digitised systems are more profitable and deliver increased customer satisfaction. So ask yourself, can you compete with that?

How should you go about starting the switchover?
The first step is to book a free of charge audit of your business, to give you a complete and comprehensive understanding of your requirements. You can book that here.

Next, take time to talk through our recommendations with stakeholders and decision makers, coming back to us with any additional questions.

Then, get your switch over booked in. You will have the support of our technical team from beginning to end, you will receive training on your new system and aftersales support too.

Lastly, enjoy the benefits of cloud-based telephony, streamlined processes, improved business communications and even a healthier bottom line. What are you waiting for?

Call 0800 652 7681 or email enquiries@connaughtltd.co.uk

Three ways to make business communications easier

Three ways to make business communications easier

Communication is undeniably one of the most important foundations of any business. Get it wrong, you will lose customers, misplace data and be inefficient. Get it right and you will be lean, profitable and efficient in serving your marketplace.

Any investment into business communications, be that time or money, is an investment well spent and now more than ever there is a clear path you should be following to improve how you communicate at work.

That path is digitisation. In other words, switching manual means of communication for digital alternatives which are connected and convenient. You can read more about digitisation in here or read on to discover how digital communication could make your working day more efficient and your business leaner.

Here are three investments that could make business communication easier for your organisation:

Hosted communications
When you connect your workers mobile devices to their desktop devices through one easy to use platform, you enable them to make cost-effective voice calls and communicate with colleagues and customers via conference call wherever they are. Platforms like this can be connected to other software packages too like Salesforce or ACT! Which means your team has access to all the data they need on the road, at home or in the office.

The best bit? With all of this hosted in the cloud there’s no need to purchase or maintain physical hardware, so you’ll have more space in the office and lower ongoing maintenance costs too.

VOIP
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is one of the main replacement services for traditional telephone lines, which are due to become obsolete in 2025. Using the internet to make calls is cheaper and delivers a better-quality connection every time.

Ideal for growing businesses, VOIP is highly scalable, meaning you can add and remove lines in a matter of seconds. Switching to VOIP is far easier than many people expect, it is most likely compatible with your existing phone system and will give you access to a range of features like answer machine messages which are automatically transcribed and sent to you as a text or email.

Business broadband
Business grade broadband brings reliability and speed to any business working towards digitisation. Connecting your workforce, data storage and telephony improves team performance, and when your team is working efficiently, customer satisfaction will soar.

There are different options to choose from including fibre optic broadband, Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) and fibre optic ethernet, depending on your business requirements. Whichever one proves right for you, switching will allow you to move core business applications over to a fully hosted platform for the ultimate in lean communication and business efficiency.

You can discuss all of these options and more, with our dedicated team of specialists. You could even book a free of charge, no obligation audit which will give you a full and comprehensive list of recommendations for digitisation. Call 0800 652 7681 or email enquiries@connaughtltd.co.uk

Five reasons you need VOIP

Five reasons why you need VOIP

VOIP, or ‘Voice Over Internet Protocol’, is an advantage-rich alternative to traditional telephone lines. There are a host of good reasons why a business like yours should be considering VOIP, and we’re here to reassure you that whilst switching to internet-based calls may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be, if you have a hands-on provider like Connaught to support you throughout. 

Before we give you our five reasons to switch to VOIP, let us firstly cut through some of the jargon:

VOIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol. This is the process of making and receiving voice and multimedia communications like video call, email and texts over the internet.

PBX: Private Branch Exchangers. These are traditional phone lines also sometimes called TDM (Time Dimensional Multiplexers).

IP: Simply a shorter reference to Internet Protocol. An ‘IP phone’ for example is a phone that uses the internet to allow you to communicate by voice or video. 

So, without further ado, here are our top five reasons to consider VOIP:

1: No more hardware and no disruptive installation
That’s almost two benefits in one! VOIP is internet based, which means it is ‘virtual’, so there are no installing telephone lines and other hardware throughout your building. This makes switching to VOIP quicker, far easier and a lot more straight forward than simply extending or adding to your current PTSN lines. 

2: Flexible access for remote working
Connecting to the corporate telephone system remotely is easy with VOIP, which makes working remotely efficient and easy. With VOIP, employees don’t need to be in the office, affording many businesses the opportunity to save on utilities and office space. 

3: Seamlessly scalable 
Recruit without worry or even open a new branch, safe in the knowledge that new users can be added to your VOIP system at the click of a button. Compared to a traditional system, VOIP scales seamlessly with your business, keeping profit up and stress down. 

4: Money saving 
VOIP is considerably more cost effective than traditional landline and mobile providers because it uses the internet to facilitate calls and videos. It really is that simple. 

5: Added extras to make your working day easier
Because its internet based, VOIP brings with it a host of added features designed to make businesses more profitable and your working day a lot easier. You can route external calls to your mobile and all other calls to answer machine, have voicemails automatically dictated and sent as emails or text messages or even connect your phone to your corporate database (like a customer relationship management system) so that you can access previous notes when calling customers. 

Truth be told, we could carry on to ten reasons, maybe more, but we know how busy you are. But if you want to know more about VOIP and, more specifically, how it could directly benefit your business, speak to our dedicated sales team and arrange a detailed audit of your requirements at a time to suit you. 

What is digital transformation and why do we need it?

What is digital transformation and why do we need it?

Digital transformation has been a buzz word on the business scene for many years now, but what is it and is it something you should be thinking about?

The short answer is yes, let’s be clear on that. Digital transformation is not optional, it is essential for all businesses big and small, and you’ll be glad to know the benefits are plentiful. More about that later, let’s establish what digital transformation is in more detail:

The term “digital transformation” means creating a working environment that is flexible, interconnected, seamless and, well…digitised. It’s how we describe the act of moving in favour of working online, instead of on paper, storing documents and data in the cloud instead of in the filing cabinet, communicating over the internet (by voice, video or with written words), rather than using traditional means which require hardware and the associated installation and maintenance.

It is, in a nutshell, moving our businesses towards the digital age so that we can operate in a digital world. Fail to do so, and you will eventually struggle to compete in a market which will have digitised around you.

The benefits of digitisation
There have been numerous studies conducted which are all conclusive when it comes to the profit and productivity benefits of digitisation. If we were to take two identical businesses, one digitised and one manual. The digitised business would out-perform its manual counterpart in every business task. They would be more productive, save time and make more profit.

Did you know it takes an average of 12 minutes for a knowledgeable employee to find the paper document they are looking for? But with all documents digitised, this can be reduced to a few seconds. This concept can be applied to almost every basic business process – make it leaner, save time, improve customer satisfaction, make more money.

Let’s list some quick-fire benefits to digitisation:

• Document visualisation software can reduce printing costs to a minimal level, freeing up capital for investment elsewhere, fuelling growth or, dare we say it, further digitalisation.

• Adopting online processes, from making calls through your computer, filing in the cloud and not requiring large office printers, all saves space and who knows, may enable you to downsize your premises to save costs, or expand your business without the need to rent a larger place.

• Workers can be connected in an instant, to a vast array of databases, contact lists and workflows, whether they are in the office, onsite with a client or working remotely.

• Cloud-based services make day-to-day collaboration and data storage really easy which saves time.

Remember, as younger professionals enter the workplace, we will find ourselves working alongside colleagues what have grown up in a completely connected world which will make digital ways of working the norm.

Research shows that early adoption is key and those businesses who are beginning their digital transformation early and rolling it out strategically, with the support of a knowledgeable provider, are reaping the most rewards in their market place.

Are you ready to take the first steps? You can read more about our cloud services here, or learn more about making calls over the internet with VOIP. When you feel ready, you can book a comprehensive, free of charge audit of your business to really understand how you can move towards digitisation. Call 0800 652 7681 or email enquiries@connaughtltd.co.uk

The major benefits of a cloud phone system

The major benefits of a cloud phone system

A cloud phone system is something which eventually all businesses will have, with BT aiming to stop its use of traditional telephone lines entirely by 2025.

This is nothing to worry about, because chances are you are already using the cloud for other things without realising it. Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365 and Dropbox are all examples of cloud-based applications which have been commonplace within businesses for some time now.

Cloud phone systems are benefit-rich and designed to make your working day easier, more efficient and even more profitable.

Here are some of the major benefits:

Accessibility
The ‘cloud’ is just a software or service that is run on the internet, rather than equipment housed in your building. Emails, documents, images and videos which live in the cloud are available to view, edit and download on any device with an internet connection, which means colleagues with secure access to your system have access to them anywhere, anytime.

Never missing a call, email or conference call help your team to perform in a profitable and professional fashion, no matter now busy their diaries, or how remote they work.

Free-up IT management resources
With a cloud phone system, you will have all the functionality of a regular phone system, plus a lot more, but it will all be managed by the cloud service provider, which means small businesses can use their limited IT resources elsewhere. All maintenance and troubleshooting will be handled by the provider quickly and effectively, which means you won’t be reliant on an onsite or external IT technician.

Scalability
With the ability to add or remove lines in a matter of seconds, you only ever pay for what you need. Scaling your phone system up or down in line with your business growth and objectives is cost effective and fast.

With a cloud phone system, you will not have to wait for an over-subscribed IT department to set up new lines, meaning new employees will be able to communicate and access data and documents, allowing them to hit the ground running.

Reliability
Power outages and digital glitches can have a negative impact on the running of a business, but cloud phone systems have a triple layer of redundancy at the network, infrastructure and application layer, which means there is no single point of failure. Keeping your team online, communicating and working efficiently at all times.

Security
Software upgrades are pushed out seamlessly and you can work safe in the knowledge that you will always be working on the latest, most up-to-date, version. Fraud checks happen continuously without affecting your business and should anything suspicious be detected, the system will automatically lockdown and issue an automated notification so that the problem can be resolved quickly.

Cost efficiency
The cost of communicating through a cloud phone system is cheaper than a conventional phone system alternative. Not only that, but the business efficiencies it delivers directly translate into profit too. If that’s not enough, many businesses find that they can afford their cloud phone system as an OPEX expense rather than a CAPEX cost because there is no substantial upfront investment into hardware.

Additional functionality
Cloud telephone systems offer functionality above and beyond that which is capable using traditional telephone lines. Digitally enabled communications allow for easy access conference calling, a range of call forwarding options and even the chance to have voicemails automatically dictated and sent to you as a text or email.

If your business is ready to explore how cloud phone systems could benefit you in more detail, call our dedicated team today on 0800 652 7681.