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The Virtual Office: Tools for Effective Online Collaboration

Businesses Australia-wide are waking up to a new social distancing reality and the threat to both our health and the economy from COVID-19. It’s a deeply uncertain time for many small businesses as we face challenges to mobility and communication, but all is not lost. A plethora of affordable, game-changing, virtual tools is available to your business right now that can keep your staff working, your phones ringing and your business moving. 

Business Soft Phones and IP Phones Systems for Small to Medium Businesses

As we’ve explored previously, Soft Phones and IP Phones (aka VOIP Phones) can easily be set up to connect back to your phone system. To set up a soft phone connection, all it takes is a headset, an app and phone call to Expert and we can set up your receptionist, sales, service or back office staff to take calls through your phone system via their laptops or desktops at home.

If they have an IP Phone, all they have to do is plug it into their internet connection at home (and with some minor programming to the handset from Expert) they will automatically connect to your phone system. Not quite business as usual, but almost!

Video Conferencing for Small to Medium Businesses

With all non-essential travel banned in Victoria, F2F meetings are going online and the world is about to discover the incredible efficiency of video conferencing.  Most people will be familiar with Skype and Apple’s iphone to iphone ‘Facetime’ application, but what if you need a whole team to conference call?  Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams are excellent F2F solutions for productive meetings.

Microsoft Teams, for example, automatically switches the focus of the camera from person to person
as they speak, which really ads to the visual experience of the meeting.

Then there’s Avaya. If you’re looking for next level solutions, or Unified Communications as Avaya calls it, you can combine everything from chat, video conferencing, calendar invites, mobile, apps and more all though a single cloud-hosted phone system. We’ve written before about Avaya’s IP Cloud before on The Expert View and we’re big advocates for this solution. Effectively, it means you’re managing everything in one place in one system and that makes it way more convenient and efficient for staff and your business. 

File Storage and Management for Small to Medium Businesses

G-suite, Microsoft 365 and Dropbox are all excellent cloud-based options for managing file storage. Instead of sitting on someone’s desktop on their personal desktop, all files can be stored in the cloud where any employee can access them. All you need to do is set up a file structure and assign the relevant permissions for each employee. Your team will be collaborating in no time and you might just be amazed at how efficiently and easily it can all be done.  And if you’re worried about security, don’t stress because we have back-up solutions for that as well.

IT Support for staff in their home

Expert IT Services can also provide your staff with desktop support through applications like Team Viewer and RemotePC where our IT specialists can remotely control your employee’s computer to manage issues, fix bugs or transfer files.

In the weeks and months ahead, speed is the name of the game and adaptation will be the key to surviving and thriving online. Thanks to the NBN rollout, almost 70% of all phone lines in Australia now run over the internet and this stands us in great stead to harness these tools that would simply be unimaginable just a
decade ago.  

Give Expert a call now on 03 9474 0044 and ask us about transitioning your business online and implementing remote working solutions for you and your staff.

About the Author: Mauro De Girolamo

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