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SMBs see potential in remote connectivity

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While the evolution of the business phone system can help large enterprises improve operations and reduce costs, the transformations can also provide small companies with the opportunities they need to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive private sector. Decision-makers that take the time to understand how implementing new collaborative strategies could give their organizations an edge in the coming years will be more likely to experience success in the long run.

While there are many benefits associated with replacing an old phone system, the ability to support remote connectivity is often seen as the most important. This is largely because bring your own device and other mobile trends are encouraging companies to embrace teleworking strategies that provide individuals with anytime access to the same resources used in the office.

Small firms now see the benefits associated with supporting a remote workforce. In fact, a recent study of more than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) by MYOB revealed that approximately one-quarter of employees primarily work from home or some other location. Another third of respondents said they split their time between home and the office.

While supporting a remote workforce is often seen as a way to reduce costs, the truth of the matter is that the same initiatives can strengthen revenue streams.

"The link between teleworking and improved business results is clear in MYOB's research," said Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB. "SMBs whose employees worked remotely most or all of the time were 24 percent more likely to experience a revenue rise in the past year. Twenty-one percent experienced a rise, compared to 17 percent whose staff only worked from the office."

The business benefits of telework

From a financial perspective, the ability to let individuals work from home can be extremely appealing to SMBs. By allowing employees to connect to the network through small business VoIP systems or another advanced telecommunications system, decision-makers can eliminate the need to keep costly equipment in the office. This can reduce maintenance expenses and give organizations more spending money.

Beyond the economical reasons, MYOB revealed that 31 percent of firms with remote working strategies have happier workers, while another 27 percent said their employees are more productive. Approximately 13 percent of respondents also said teleworking makes business managers more content with the way operations are carried out.

"This speaks volumes as to why empowering employees to work outside the traditional confines of an office is becoming increasingly prevalent," Reed said. "Businesses are realizing the bottom-line benefits and rewards from more engaged employees."

A study by IDC revealed that the trend for mobile working is expanding, as analysts expect the global population of remote employees to reach 1.3 billion people by 2015, comprising roughly 37 percent of the overall workforce. There are several reasons for this change, including the proliferation of advanced smartphones, tablets and other devices, as well as ongoing innovations in the traditional telecom landscape.

Because more businesses are using VoIP than ever before, executives are encountering unique opportunities to support remote connectivity - a capability that was difficult in the past with traditional land line phone systems. Decision-makers should take the time to assess their infrastructure and determine whether replacing their old phone system with newer solutions will provide them with any unique abilities.

There is no doubt that the private sector is becoming increasingly competitive, especially for small firms that have to compete with large enterprises. By supporting a remote workforce, companies may be able to open up new opportunities for growth.