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How to optimise your phones during the lockdown

Now it looks like we will be experiencing different levels of the lockdown for the next three to six months perhaps you should be considering whether or not to do something more permanent with your telephone system.

The first and most obvious thing to do is to is to redirect clients to you and your staffs mobile numbers. This at least does provide short term connectivity but as time goes by it means you can struggle to switch off and try to have some kind of work life balance. It also means that you can’t connect with other staff as easily or transfer calls like you used to.

The next step depends on what telephone system you have in the office. If you have a VOIP (Voice over IP) system you can connect your phone to the works main switchboard via the internet. But you still need to get a handset and connect it to your router and make a connection through to your office all of this is possible but can be technically challenging.

So a great alternative is to use a Cloud PBX this is the same as a traditional phone system with one important exception that the Switchboard is virtual and based in the Cloud. This means that you can connect to it via a traditional handset i.e. a proper old school phone, a app on your Android and iPhone, or even an normal application on your desktop and laptop. This flexibility is great during the uncertainty we are facing now.

One blocker to adopting this system is that you need a certain things in place to be able to migrate to a Cloud based PBX, normally you would need to move (port) your telephone number to a new provider and wait whilst that was scheduled. Now BT has pretty much stopped porting numbers so what can you do?

One idea is that you simply buy a brand new temporary number and forward your existing number to that. When you do this you can then use the full functionality of a proper cloud based PBX including call recording, voice mail and the ability to transfer calls between staff working at home as if they were in the office. Clients won’t see the temporary number and it will look as though you are using your existing telephone numbers.

Better still one provider has offered to ship preconfigured handsets to individual addresses meaning staff just need to plug them into their routers at home and they will automatically connect to the office system with minimal fuss.

Some of the Cloud PBX providers or indeed Microsoft themselves can also add voice functionality to Microsoft Teams. This can be setup remotely and managed by your Office 365 provider. Again it allows you to forward your existing number through to a new Teams number and carry on, this is particularly useful if you already have Office 365 and only want a short term solution to cover you whilst this period of uncertainty exists.

If you need any help setting this up or understanding who can deliver these solutions please drop me an email happy to help free of charge.

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