According to results from a TheLadders.com survey, a quarter of all professional jobs were hybrid or remote-based by the end of 2022, and that percentage will continue to grow in 2023. In fact, the survey found that about a tenth of high-paying job opportunities are advertised as remote-only. Those surveyed said working remotely was better for their mental health vs. commuting to an office on a daily basis, and they intended to keep working remotely. 

Many businesses have come to grips with the fact that many highly skilled workers want to work remotely. They need specialized technology to do so as (or more) effectively from home as they can in the office. Virtual phone systems and related communications & collaboration platforms are critical to keeping your remote staff in touch with colleagues, customers, suppliers, and partners. In most cases, virtual business phone systems provide a strong communications foundation for a company to grow on, and it can help them compete for skilled talent that won’t settle for an employer that requires a daily commute to an office. Now that we know why a virtual phone system makes sense for organizations, let’s start by asking the first, and most obvious question…

What is a virtual phone system?

Virtual phone systems, such as voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) services, enable hybrid workers to make and receive calls through their preferred method – mobile device, desk phone, or softphone application. VoIP communication systems from companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom and Poly can be utilized within an employee’s home office, or other place of work. Calls can be directed  via a virtual business phone number, just as if the employee was in the office. 

Many VoIP phone systems integrate with collaboration applications like Microsoft Teams, Webex, Zoom, or Slack to support multiple communications channels and formats. Cloud-based voice solutions have been available for nearly two decades, and the sharp increase in remote and hybrid workplace adoption over the past three years has driven a sharp increase in adoption. A Transparency Market Research report predicts the VoIP market will be worth over $278 billion by 2031. 

How does a virtual phone system support a remote or hybrid workplace?

A virtual phone system enables professionals to seamlessly interact with internal and external contacts from their home office through voice, instant messaging, and video conferencing. Many remote office phone systems enable users to transfer conversations from their IP desk phones to their cell phones via a mobile application. 

A Gartner/Metrigy research study forecasts that by 2024, 43% of businesses will have adopted cloud-based voice systems. With innovations in 5G networks, voice calls and video communication, quality over the internet will continue to improve. According to BecomingHuman.ai, Artificial intelligence (AI) integration with VoIP technologies is enhancing contact center agent effectiveness. It’s also improving internet voice response systems to better direct and support consumers with personalized, relevant data from previous interactions. AI bots even advise contact center agents on how to interact with clients based on their mood signals.

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Advantages of a remote phone system

According to the Forbes Advisor, these are some of the must-have features and benefits of the best virtual phone systems:

  • Automated attendants for professional-sounding call greetings and directions via IVRs or voice response units (VRUs)
  • Caller ID to help your employees mentally and strategically prepare for inbound conversations
  • Call queuing for inbound sales, customer service departments or contact centers
  • Speed dial for frequently used numbers
  • Long-distance cost savings
  • Live chat for internal and external interactions during calls or intra-office communication

Many VoIP solutions integrate with business applications like CRM, ERP, and sales enablement tools to improve employee productivity and effectiveness. 

Virtual phone service options

Choosing the right voice devices and applications demands experience and expertise. Solutions from virtual business phone service providers like Zoom, Cisco, and Microsoft often require contracting a managed service provider or consulting firm that has partnerships & experience with all of these vendors. The true benefits are that they understand the strengths and weaknesses of each solution. This relationship can help your business reduce costs, deploy faster and more securely, and it can provide advice on the most optimal adoption strategies for your organization. 

Our Modern Workplace Solution experts are here to help you take voice solutions remote

Is your business looking for comprehensive advice on a virtual office phone system that can support your employees who do their best work inside or outside your corporate office? Contact Yorktel to discuss how our Remote Work Consulting services can help you make smart choices with processes and technology that empower your people to work in the environment that keeps them happy, healthy, and productive.

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