Five Must-Have Tools for the Virtual Workspace

Companies aren’t comprised solely of people working in a single location anymore — which makes it more important than ever to have an effective Unified Communications solution in place.


The modern employee isn’t at their desk — they’re at client sites or working from their living rooms. They’re spread across satellite offices and branches. They’re making rounds between various buildings in a healthcare or educational setting. They’re traveling on a commuter train between meetings and talking on a Bluetooth headset. Many of these workers utilize their smartphones and laptops to conduct calls as opposed to traditional desk phones — even if they’re at their desks.


Employees need to communicate and collaborate with co-workers, vendors, customers and other stakeholders across the continent just as easily as they do with their friend in the next cubicle. And they need to appear to customers and business partners as if they’re all part of a unified, professional entity, not a hodgepodge of personal phone numbers lacking any corporate identity.

How Unified Communications Increase Productivity in a Distributed Workplace

The ability to communicate more seamlessly via powerful collaboration and mobility solutions has allowed the business community to be more productive than ever, overcoming the dispersed nature of its workforce. The trend shows no sign of slowing — which means businesses need comprehensive unified communications solutions now more than ever, so they can be prepared for the increasingly virtual modern workforce.


Sophisticated cloud service providers, such as our partner cielo, have developed comprehensive tools that facilitate fluid collaboration for on-site, on-the-go, and distributed workers alike, resulting in increased productivity. And facilitating voice traffic in geographically disparate locations isn’t enough to satisfy the demands of modern businesses. In fact, any communications solution worth its salt must provide a robust set of features that handle other media channels—like chat, text, and messaging — across a multitude of device platforms, including desktops, mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

What Businesses Need in a Unified Communications Solution


Versatile Softphones
: With cloud-based phone systems, workers don’t even have to own a physical phone in order to make and manage calls. Effective software-based phone systems allow users to simply open the application and make calls with a click of a link—eliminating dialing (or misdialing), and painful searches through a separate directory to locate numbers.


Extension Management
: Workers in an office setting can easily apply rules such as “do not disturb” to their lines with one-click. Extension rules can be changed with little effort using a mobile app, allowing the user to manage calls within or outside the office. An effective softphone will incorporate other tools such as contact management, call history records, and recorded voicemail.


Presence Management
: Through this feature, workers can view the real-time status of anyone in the company. The system shows who is available to take a call, who is not at their desk, and who is busy. These insights allow users to transfer calls to the team members who are readily available, resulting in swift and effective call resolution and increasing customer satisfaction. It also allows an employee to view the availability of his or her co-workers across the entire company regardless of whether that colleague is at their workstation or off-site.


Attended Transfer
: These tools allow users to select different methods for transferring calls. For example, an attended transfer feature allows the employee to speak to the caller first, while a “blind transfer” feature sends the caller to another destination with just a click. Users can also apply rules that automatically direct calls to a specific extension if theirs is busy, such as to an assistant, or to a co-worker with specialized expertise. This makes it easier for employees to delegate or share tasks by automatically routing calls to the appropriate colleague.


Mobile Apps
: Easy-to-use applications let workers who are out-and-about view their call histories, retrieve their office voicemails, and take advantage of many of the same functionalities that they can in the office. A huge advantage of mobile tools: Users can make calls from their cell phones that appear to be generated from the regular office. Clients and business partners are none-the-wiser about their actual whereabouts. The organization continues to present itself as a cohesive, well-organized, professional entity.


As the workplace continues to evolve, unified communications solutions will continue to meet — and even drive — the technological needs of the workforce of the future.