~ A third of UK businesses consider their home workspace unusable ~
Written by Ross Slogrove, UK and Ireland country manager at Ringover.
Gone are the old background noises of office chatter and printers whirring. Since remote working has become the norm, more homely sounds have come to the foreground. Although these sounds might add a personal, mildly endearing touch to your calls, it’s not always welcome. Here, Ross Slogrove, UK and Ireland country manager at business phone systems provider Ringover, explains how technology can help workers handle remote working effectively.
When working from home (WFH), it’s easy for the lines between personal and professional life to become blurred. Dogs barking, doorbells ringing and kettles boiling are sounds that have become commonplace when communicating with colleagues and customers. But is this right? Maintaining a level of professionalism is important for all work-related interactions, so how can technology help remote workers to avoid chaotic working conditions?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) report Flexible working: Lessons from the pandemic revealed that hygiene factors — that is, issues or workspace, technology and home circumstances — are a key challenge for individuals facing permanent remote working post pandemic.
31 per cent of respondents from UK businesses considered their home circumstances unsuitable, while 15 per cent cited their technology set up as inadequate to handle permanent remote work.
However, a far from ideal home set up doesn’t have to hinder professionalism for remote workers. For generation WFH, although businesses are responsible for providing employees with a suitable home set up, ensuring employees can use their set up strategically holds the key to maintaining a positive professional image.
Video conferencing chaos
Virtual meetings are an integral part of the 21st century working day. A study by Virtira Consulting, The Webcam Survey: Exhausted or Engaged?, found that 63 per cent of remote workers participate in more meetings online than they would have in person, In fact, one third spend two to three hours per day in virtual meetings.
With video conferencing being so commonplace in the working world, it’s important they’re always conducted professionally. However, 59 per cent of workers consider background distractions from other participants a top struggle when participating in regular video calls.
Distracting background noise can be hard to avoid at times, but having the right tech set up can prevent it impacting others. If remote workers experience unexpected background noise, consider turning off your microphone or camera to prevent interrupting others unnecessarily.
Ringover’s cloud communication solutions software has a “Press-To-Talk” function, which ensures meetings are productive and distraction free. Users can quickly activate their microphone when they want to speak by holding the space bar, while staying on mute for the remainder of the time.
Once the user releases the space bar, their microphone is automatically muted again. This allows meetings to take place without awkward silences waiting for users to unmute themselves, while simultaneously avoiding background distractions that a meeting with all participants unmuted is likely to face.
Preparing for the future
Remote working is not the only challenge that businesses have to contend with. Ensuring an acceptable quantity of good work while WFH is one thing, but quality communication is also vital. The next biggest communication challenge that businesses must prepare for is the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), which will take place in December 2025.
The switch off has been influenced by greater digitalisation of telephony, which goes hand-in-hand with remote working. It’s also where Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) comes in. VoIP phone systems transmit voice calls over the Internet, rather than phone lines, which improves quality and responsiveness of phone calls, and reduces costs by up to 50 per cent.
Traditional telephones rely on analogue lines to carry voice signals, which requires physical installation before calls can be placed. This is costly and time consuming — not to mention unfeasible for remote working.
Although the soundtrack to remote employee’s work may have changed drastically from the era of the office, their tasks and responsibilities remain the same, and so must their professionalism. Equipping employees with the right tech will empower them to thrive in their new working environment as it becomes the norm. But looking beyond the immediate requirements for a successful WFH plan, technology like VoIP can prepare businesses for the long-term.
No loss in productivity, time, or revenue and certainly no more limits.