Is hybrid working here to stay? The long lasting effects of Covid
As businesses battle to get back to a pre-pandemic normal, it seems that long-Covid symptoms aren’t the only lasting physical effects.
Before Covid, unless you worked in sales, you’d probably had very limited experience of homeworking. The odd day working from home when you were waiting for a heating engineer. Or a few hours after an offsite meeting that was closer to home than the office. Or maybe a rare day working from the sofa with a sick child in tow.
Some of us longed for the flexibility of homeworking (especially if we owned a laptop and company mobile) and some of us hated the idea of working from home without the office buzz and bustle. But whichever side you were on, when Covid hit, there was no choice.
And although opinion still varies on the pros and cons of remote vs office life, there’s no denying the time saved on commutes and meeting travel. Not to mention the benefits of teams still being able to work without coughing over colleagues (Covid or not).
The time savings and flexibility that we’ve all experienced with remote working have also been a catalyst for conversations around four-day working weeks and alternative working hours which means that hybrid working is probably here to stay.
But if Covid was the catalyst for hybrid working, technology is the enabler. So we chatted to Katie Richards, to find out how a simple thing like changing to a cloud-based phone system is enabling hybrid working and transforming businesses across the UK.
What is a cloud-based phone system and why can’t we just use our mobiles?
“A cloud-based phone system just means that you don’t need physical hardware. Calls are made over the internet so you can use any internet enabled device as a soft phone. It means anyone that’s logged in can make and take calls all from the same system. So it’s perfect for remote or home working.
Of course, you can use a mobile device as a softphone too. Accessing a phone system in the cloud just means you don’t have to make calls from your mobile number (particularly important for teachers and schools) or have calls ‘transferred’ to you. It’s as if you are all in the same office and anyone can jump on an incoming call.”
Which platforms do you recommend?
“We love the Xelion system. It’s got so much functionality and so many features. So many of our customers have told us that having a new cloud-based phone system has transformed everything about the way they work. What’s even better is that every time Xelion release new features, customers automatically get upgraded. So it’s a brilliant way to future-proof your comms.”
So how does Xelion help with hybrid working?
“During the pandemic, the need for a phone system that could handle remote working was huge. So many organisations just weren’t set up to work in this way, especially schools and medical practices. You can access Xelion on any device that’s connected to the internet so it means you don’t have to be in an office to take calls. It also removes the need for additional mobile phones or office hardware. We were able to get organisations set up with Xelion really quickly and they were so grateful because it was bringing teams back together and helping businesses to continue trading.”
What can we expect from Xelion?
“We’re rolling out the latest version of Xelion (Xelion 8) to our customers at the moment. The app is super easy to use; it’s a really intuitive tool so we’re finding that people get the hang of it really quickly. Which takes the pressure off. You can use it for video calls too, even if people outside your organisation don’t have Xelion.
“The new version is also fully integrated with Microsoft 365 and Teams so you can sync contacts and make calls through Teams. It’s all the little time-saving features like this that can help businesses run more efficiently.
It’s great for team working too; anyone who’s on the system can see live availability based on your calendar, which makes resourcing much easier and call handling much slicker. Being able to view call data and manage call volume is helping companies work out what resource they need and when. Which comes back to that all-important flexibility which is so important for employee engagement and positive mental health.”
“It does sound too good to be true but most of our customers actually save money. All the calls are free and you just pay a fixed fee so we make it really easy to manage costs. For example, doctor’s surgeries can reduce the cost of remote triaging because calls to patients are free.”
Whilst we’re all hoping that we’ve seen the last of lockdowns, hybrid working is probably here to stay. And whether you’re an office owl or a home bird, flexibility is probably the one thing we can all agree on.
If you'd like to see how much money and time you can save home working with Xelion, call us on 0800 652 7861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for your FREE no-obligation quote