Four Tips for Avoiding Communications Down Time

Credit: Fonality

September is National Preparedness Month, and it’s a good reminder to get ready for what Mother Nature might send our way. But a survey by Fonality found companies may not be as prepared as they should be.

The business phone system and unified communications company found nearly half (47.8 percent) of workers lack the technology they need to stay productive when their offices are closed or aren’t accessible.

“Keeping communication flowing is essential for business continuity. Many organizations do a great job communicating externally using websites and social media in these situations,” said Jeff Valentine, Fonality’s chief marketing officer and an expert on remote work. “However, they may not be making the most of arguably their most important and proven office technology – their phone system. Modernizing to a cloud VoIP and unified communications solution minimizes or even eliminates potential disruptions.”

These disruptions can add up fast. More than half (56 percent) of those surveyed couldn’t work one or more days in the last year due to bad weather, power outages, or other issues. Nearly one third (30.3 percent) lost one to two days, while 3.6 percent reported a whopping 13 or more. When you consider how much being closed costs businesses in terms of customer satisfaction and lost revenue, the need to plan ahead becomes clear.

4 Tips for Avoiding Down Time

Fonality offers the following tips as you put the business communications portion of your business continuity plan in place:

  • Communication is crucial. Phones remain the lifeline for most businesses despite rising popularity of other technologies. Taking and making calls is essential for reaching employees and being available anytime customers need you. Problem is, traditional private branch exchange (PBX) business phone systems are subject to power outages and don’t reach employees’ homes or mobile devices. Hosted VoIP phone solutions with unified communications (UC) extend phone features and collaboration tools wherever you’ve got Internet access – even to the smartphone you charged in the car while the lights were out.
  • Disaster-proof key office resources. Many companies subscribe to cloud-based services for critical functions like data backup, file sharing, accounting, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Two of the many benefits of cloud computing include remote backup and redundancies and the ability to access these tools anywhere you can get online. Likewise, a cloud-based phone solution hosts your server data and collaboration tools in a data center where companies like Fonality take care of backup power, redundant servers, and giving you access from anywhere with an Internet connection. So even if your home or office is affected by bad weather or other circumstances, your team is back up and running in as little time as it takes to get online. For businesses with more than one office or remote employees, it’s also easy to forward calls to another location that isn’t affected.
  • Be ready to work remotely. Work is no longer a location thanks to bring your own device (BYOD) policies and webmail. If power is down at the office or roads are iced over, the option to work remotely using a softphone through a web browser or an app on your mobile device becomes even more important. During the 2014 winter storms in the Northeast, quite a few Fonality customers took their desk phones and headsets home to work just like they do at the office. All they had to do was plug into their home network using an Ethernet cable. Others used the company’s smartphone app or softphone. Even blizzard conditions couldn’t strand these businesses!
  • Test your readiness with a free quiz. Is your business prepared to keep employees and customers connected? Take Fonality’s Disaster Preparedness Quiz here and find out.