Working from home, best practices (for the discerning VoIP user).

My working from home space, this desk won’t stay clutter free for long..

Over the last few weeks we’ve assisted a large number of customers in transitioning their SiPalto VoIP service (SiP Cloud) to a home working environment. The changes have ranged from simple call forwarding to mobiles, to full blown virtual contact centres using our mobile and desktop apps.

One of the main issues that has come to light is that users may not be technically geared up for working from home. Okay so they have home broadband, have taken their laptops home and found a corner to work in, but things aren’t working quite as well as in the office…

Below are a few best practice tips I hope you, your team or your customers will find useful to ensure you have the best home set up possible, resulting in better call quality when using your VoIP phone system and a better overall experience for your customers.

Ensure your home broadband can support working from home?

If you have an ADSL connection instead of Fibre do you have enough bandwidth for voice, cloud/web services and VPNs? It is not likely good enough.

But you can put measures in place to help. Ensure your partner and children are not streaming and using up what little bandwidth you have during working hours, any voice services will be impacted first, resulting in calls not connecting, calls dropping off and/or poor call quality.

Upgrade to Fibre if you can.

Can your ISP upgrade your existing service to fibre? If they can it may be a good idea to opt for the better service, you will see an instant improvement as soon as the upgrade happens (and is unlikely to need an engineer site visit).

If there are no upgrade options, a newer router is potentially available, ask them to replace your existing model with the latest version, which will probably be faster and more reliable.

Wired will always be better than wireless.

A wired connection will always be faster and more reliable than a wireless connection, wherever possible plug into the back of your router and avoid going wireless.

This will have an additional benefit of being faster for those devices that do need to be on wireless, the fewer devices you have on wifi, the better the wifi will perform.

Your work area should be close to the router.

As a general rule the closer you are to your wifi router, the better your connection is likely to be, if working on wifi you should ensure you are in the same room or no more than one room away, try to ensure you have full bars on your wifi.

Stay in one location.

If you are on a VoIP call using your mobile handset, do not wonder away from the wifi router or start pacing around your house, you will likely get bad call quality and/or the call is likely to drop.

We have had reports of people wondering into their garden, if your mobile switches to 4g from wifi due to walking out of range, the call will get dropped immediately.

Be the moderator.

You may need to set some new house rules, such as limiting internet usage to family members, give yourself priority to ensure you are working smoothly and problem free, at the end of the day you still have work to do and a poor set up will impact on your customer experience also.

Re-distribute call flow.

If you make and receive calls but do not have a good enough internet connection, coordinate with your team so that home workers with better connections handle most of the calls.

Ensure customers still receive the best experience when contacting your business. Speak to your VoIP provider about re-configuring ring groups so that calls go to the staff best placed to handle them.

Conclusion

There are many improvements and changes that can and will need to be made when transitioning to full time working from home. The most noticeable will be the effectiveness of communicating with colleagues and customers which should be as good as it was prior to the lock down.

For a lot of businesses it will take many months to iron out many communication challenges, make sure you speak to your IT or Telecoms provider regularly to discuss pain points and the best possible solution, and ensure you touch base with them monthly to feedback what works, and what still needs improving.

If they cannot provide the solution to getting you working efficiently, there will be plenty of alternative providers which can.

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