Top Tips for Business Continuity – ‘I can’t get into the office’ – preparing for the unexpected

Klaus AllionKlaus Allion is the Managing Director of ANT Telecom.

Opinions expressed by EM360 contributors are their own.

 

There are a number of external factors that can significantly impact a business of any size, especially for employees travelling to and from work and to customer meetings. From extreme weather conditions, train strikes and industrial action to road delays and national emergencies, there are many reasons that can prevent staff reaching their end destination on time, or at all, when travelling during their working hours and this can result in the employee needing to work remotely.

Business continuity planning is something that most senior executives and business owners need to consider. More often than not however, current business continuity plans are focused on catastrophic failures, such as the company’s headquarters being destroyed by fire, but it needn’t be so clear cut. Issues surrounding business continuity can occur for many reasons and at any time.

So, what can be done to overcome these issues and to make a business more resilient to such unforeseen events? The answer, in many cases, is for the business to ensure it has a flexible and robust communications systems in place that allows for workers to be able to work from any location.

A modern telephony system can enable enterprises of all sizes to build a comprehensive business continuity plan that can be rolled out at a moment’s notice.

It’s important that businesses remember that remaining in good contact with remote employees requires both voice and data communications. Here are three top tips for businesses seeking advice on the type of technology and systems that can improve business continuity for their organisation:

Voice communications – seamless integration
Home working and flexible working are becoming increasingly popular solutions for employers to offer to staff in order to attract the best talent. There are also countless organisations who rely on the mobile workforce to complete their business objectives such as mobile engineers, sales managers and many others.  When a member of staff is working remotely, it is imperative that their communications systems provide a simple way for staff to stay connected to the workplace and for potential customers to be able to reach them.

The one number philosophy allows staff members to keep the same contact number, no matter whether they are in the office, working from home or remotely, by automatically routing incoming calls to wherever the staff member is logged in. This saves the head office or individual staff members from having to provide individual contact numbers and creating a hassle for callers who may have to try several numbers to get a hold of their contact. Instead, callers can dial one number and if the staff member is available, they can answer – an efficient and seamless solution for the mobile workforce.

Voice and data communications – the single network
Connecting mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets, to a business’ main server is essential if home-based and remote workers are going to be able to work efficiently and be able to keep colleagues regularly updated. When dealing with customer enquiries, for example, customer service staff will need to access the main database to look up records and make notes. Additionally, staff who are in business meetings with clients and doing inspections on site might need to upload their reports immediately from their mobile device so the information they have recorded can be shared in real time. All of this takes a level of data communications which is fit for the growing needs of the mobile workforce.

Future success – replacing a telephony system
Businesses need to ensure that any new technology not only fits the current IT infrastructure, but also meets the current and future needs of the business too. Today, investing in an on-premise IP or cloud-based telephony solution makes good business sense with PSTN and ISDN services coming to an end by 2025. Plus, with the increasing demands on mobile staff, it also offers the best joined up approach – resulting in staff being far better connected with colleagues, customers and suppliers.