19 Feb 2021
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Has Your Office Phone System Kept Up With the Reality of Working From Home?

Now that many of us work from home, we need our office phone systems to do more. Face to face chats in the break room are gone. Meeting around a conference table is on hold. There are no more chances to tap someone on the shoulder to get a quick opinion on a document. That’s why office phone systems need to do more when people are working from home. An office phone system you use when you work from home isn’t just about calls, it’s about replacing all those other ways of communicating that aren’t available.

That said, many office phone systems haven’t met the challenges 2020 threw at them. That’s why so many knowledge workers and their organisations embraced technology like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. An office phone system that is optimised for employees working from home must have video conferencing. It must have chat. Instant messaging. Screensharing. Virtual whiteboards. Document collaboration. A modern office phone system isn’t just a phone system, it’s an all-in-one communication tool.

Video Conferencing

Old telephone and video conferencing features were rough. Remember hearing a loud BEEEEEP every time someone joined or left a call? Or worse, the highly interruptive robot voice screeching “WENDY HAS JOINED THE MEETING”?

New, better videoconferencing features include live chat for side conversations or a way to “raise your hand” so you aren’t talking over people. Although, the feature we use the most has to be screen sharing, because it’s the easiest way to show people what you’re talking about. That’s one of the handy things about Microsoft Office 365 integrating with calling from Microsoft Teams—two separate tools have basically become one.

Integrated Meetings & Calendars

When you’re on the same page as someone else, that page is frequently a calendar page. It can be a pain in the butt to figure out when everyone is free to book a meeting. Add in things like time zones and it’s extra annoying. But life gets easier when you can send out a meeting invitation with all the details, including a videoconferencing link.

User Status & Presence

Hey, do you have a sec?

If you don’t have a sec (or a minute, hour, day . . .), modern unified communications platforms let you set your status to Do Not Disturb. That way, you can block out interruptions when you’re busy concentrating on something. Similarly, you get the peace of mind to know that you’re not interrupting anyone.


Some meetings don’t need to be meetings, some calls are overkill, and some things are too low priority for even an email. That’s why chat exists and why it needs to be part of an office communications platform.

Voicemail 2.0

Dialling to reach your voice mail is so 2005. Modern voicemail includes visual voicemail, voicemail to email, and voicemail forwarding. If you want, you should get an email of your transcribed voicemail, with a sound file attached. Or, if you get a voicemail that you can’t address right away, you should be able to forward it to a teammate so you can focus on your project. The point is: you should have choice and flexibility when it comes to voicemail.

Find Me / Follow Me

So, you don’t want to miss calls, but you’re probably in any number of places? In that case, programming a line to ring simultaneously in multiple locations or in sequential order to avoid going to voicemail right off the bat is incredibly useful. Fewer calls get missed, so fewer potential business opportunities are missed too. For the at-home or remote worker, this frees them from being limited to only one location to receive calls, helping them stay effective and productive from anywhere.

 And that’s what an office phone system should be: a tool to help you be productive from anywhere.

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