By Tom Goldsworthy
Over the past twelve months the UK has seen a marked change in the working landscape. With three national lockdowns, home working is now the norm, with many businesses looking to make it permanent either full or part time.
Whilst many businesses supported by cloud communications have been able to continue seamlessly by deploying softphones or IP phones, other organisations have chosen to use mobile phones.
Is it that simple though? Not really. Here are some points employers should consider.
Many employers currently just expect staff to use their personal mobiles when working from home, and whilst this does not breach any employment laws, there should be some compensation and a clear company policy regarding mobile phone usage.
Staff using their mobiles are, in essence, giving out their personal number. This may be an issue for the individual’s privacy. Moreover, should they leave the company, they are in a strong position to take valuable intellectual property with them as they own their phone number which the employer has no rights to retain.
Some businesses are bound by regulatory bodies. Where does using personal devices sit within the regulations? For example, companies bound by MiFID2 must record calls. The FCA has stated that there will be no let up in regulations as a result of the pandemic. Personal mobiles do not tick the right regulatory boxes, and the ramifications can be severe.
There is a common perception that using mobiles is a cheap option, and it is if employees aren’t being compensated. However it is an unsustainable option, and once the decision is made to use company phones, the company will be paying £45.60 per month (on average as cited by Ofcom). This is before factoring the cost of the diverted calls from the office. Compare this to the average cost of a cloud communications solution, which is £15-20 per month and includes a host of other business telephony functionality in addition to home working.
What happens if you break a personal mobile, or it malfunctions? As we recently heard from a BYOD user who had their brand new smartphone fail, the process from start to finish to get the phone fixed was nearly two weeks.
If an employer wants to counter this it means keeping a stock of phones that they can send out to staff in emergencies - we are still talking days without communication, never mind the cost of the stock. This is not an option that offers any real business continuity.
There is next to no control or analysis of company mobile phone usage, and even less when its staff’s personal devices. How can employers ensure the productivity of remote staff when there is no measurement? How can you ensure the device is working properly when you have no access to it? With a cloud communication system, management can see exactly how many calls are being made and received on the user’s mobile, how long the user is speaking for, and even listen to call recordings.
When mobile phones are unanswered they either time out or go to voicemail. Compare that to the list of functions that are available to a cloud communications user. Multiple points of call coverage ensure complete professionalism and the best customer service. For example, calls can overflow to other users or groups of users, call queues or auto attendants.
Mobile phones don't always give out the right message. Publishing mobile numbers often give the message of a ‘one man band’. How does it look when customers can’t be transferred? Or end up in a personal voicemail box?
In summary, whilst it may seem simple to look to mobiles as a remote working solution, it really does not offer a genuine alternative to a cloud communications solution. After all, mobile devices were designed to keep us connected when we were away from a fixed line device, not as a replacement for it.
The bottom line? Mobiles simply don’t work for the long term as a professional work-from-home solution.
VTSL is a leading cloud communications technology company, providing organisations across the UK and Ireland with the solutions they need to work smarter. From integrated telephony-CRM systems, to video conferencing, to fibre connectivity and work-from-home solutions, VTSL is committed to helping companies use technology to get ahead. Find out more about VTSL's award-winning cloud business telephony system, network solutions and software integrations by emailing email@example.com or giving us a call.