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Benefits of Telecommuting
September 23rd, 2014

The modern workplace is changing, and in many ways, for the better. Today more Americans telecommute than ever before, saving millions of dollars, tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and untold amounts of stress by exercising this simple option for work. This is all made possible thanks to advances in telecommunications technology, notably the use of VoIP softphones like the Desktop VirtualPBX Softphone. By switching from traditional utility providers to a VirtualPBX service, you can take your office with you anywhere you need to work.

Do you already benefit from working from home? Could you? What about your employees? Take a look at this simple infographic, and feel free to compare your current phone system to any of the VirtualPBX options.

The Benefits of Telecommuting by the Numbers

BYOD: Understanding the Benefits of “Bring Your Own Device” as the Market Grows
September 15th, 2014

Bring Your Own Device

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) refers to the action of allowing employees to use their own personal mobile devices or computers for their work, with access to company information and applications. BYOD is expected to increase in popularity over the next few years – 82% of people expect smartphones to play a critical role in business productivity in two years, according to IBM. And globally, the BYOD market is expected to grow to $181.39 billion by 2017, according to Markets and Markets. BYOD offers a variety of benefits for both employers and employees, including improved employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and cost savings.

Employee satisfaction – Employees are typically happier using their own devices that they’ve chosen based on their personal preferences. Users can avoid carrying multiple devices around, such as a work cell phone and a personal cell phone by integrating the two.

Increased productivity – Oftentimes, it is cumbersome to make the transition back and forth from a personal computer to a work computer, as they’re usually two completely different setups. By allowing employees to bring their own devices, more time is spent working on the actual task rather than working on technological details. Personal devices also tend to be updated more frequently by the user and offer more cutting-edge features.

Cost savings – BYOD can help save businesses money by shifting costs to the user. Rather than the business using money to purchase company laptops and cell phones, employees pay for their own devices.

Before implementing BYOD, it’s important to keep in mind that BYOD must be managed safely in order to protect your business’ privacy and assets. As the telecommuting trend grows, BYOD is expected to grow as well, with softphone technology leading the way. Contact VirtualPBX to learn more about softphone technology and how you can integrate it into your BYOD plan today.

5 Advantages of Telecommuting for Employers and Employees
September 11th, 2014

Advantages of Telecommuting

Did you know that 40% of jobs in the U.S. can be done from home? While working from home isn’t feasible for every person or every type of job, there are a variety of benefits that both employers and employees should take advantage of when possible. Many of the barriers that have limited telecommuting in the past are waning, including the evolution of softphone technology, which makes it easier and more common for employees to work from home.

  • Increased Productivity
    Telecommuting results in a 10-20% increase in employee productivity. When working in an office, employees tend to drag out the length of time tasks take to finish, as finishing quickly likely results in additional assignments to fill time… as a result there is no incentive to maximize daily task performance. Oftentimes, the time spent at the office is filled with unproductive tasks – chatting with coworkers, surfing the web, smoke breaks, long lunches, etc.
  • Increased Job Satisfaction
    Employees who work from home are reportedly more satisfied with their jobs, as the stress that an office atmosphere creates is alleviated. In fact, 25% of telecommuters report having less stress than their counterparts. Increased job satisfaction leads to more productive, happier employees that want to stay with the company and see success.
  • Reduced Costs
    Businesses can cut office costs with few to no employees present in the office ranging from furniture to electricity used, while employees save money used on gas to get to and from the office.
  • Improved Life-Work Balance
    80% of telecommuters say they are able to maintain a better life-work balance by telecommuting. The average commute to work is 45 minutes, so on average, telecommuting can offer workers an extra hour and a half to spend to themselves or with their family.
  • Decreased Pollution for the Environment
    If every employee who could work from home did so, 50 million people could save a grand total of 587 million barrels of oil – this is equal to 74% of United States gulf oil imports. Only one day of telecommuting could save a whopping 423,000 tons of greenhouse gas.

It’s important for businesses to take a look at the benefits of having their workers telecommute, whether it’s one day per week or five days per week. With new and improved technology, employees can work from virtually anywhere. The tools are there; it’s up to employers to take advantage of them.

Sources: Staples Advantage, Workopolis, The Telework Coalition, The Telework Research Network, The Oil Drum, Opportunity Now

Three More Ways to Use Virtual PBX
February 8th, 2012

Create Podcasts – Podcasts are basically audio recordings that can be posted online and downloaded by anyone. Today, more and more businesses and individuals are choosing to communicate via podcasts as an alternative to radio and blogs. Unlike radio and T.V., podcasts are free to subscribe to and create. Interested in creating your own podcast?

Lucky for you, Virtual PBX makes it easy for you to record your own podcast right from your phone. Simply use Virtual PBX’s call recording feature to record an interview, discussion or anything else you want to share with the world. Every Virtual PBX system includes call recording at no added cost. In addition, the call recording feature is greatly customizable and easy to use. Every user with a Virtual PBX extension can record all calls automatically or select calls to record manually by simply pushing #9 during a call.

Have an alternate number – While having a single incoming business number gives your business a unified presence, it can often be very useful to have multiple incoming business numbers. In fact, every Virtual PBX plan can have an unlimited amount of phone numbers as part of the system.

Anyone can benefit from having multiple phone numbers. Let’s say, for example, you want to use one group of employees to answer phone calls for several different business identities. Virtual PBX can answer calls with different greetings on each incoming line and then route the calls to those employees. A preview announcement indicates which business identity was called, so the employee can answer correctly.

Another popular use for multiple numbers is to track response to marketing campaigns. Each advertisement or other marketing activity can include a different telephone number for prospects to get more information. Tracking the incoming activity on each phone number gives a real-time indication of which marketing activity is generating the most calls.

Get a soft phone – Every Virtual PBX system includes VoIP Anywhere technology, which can turn your cellular phone or computer into a full-featured Virtual PBX VoIP phone. Using VoIP phones with your Virtual PBX system adds great new features like direct extension to extension dialing.

Do you want to keep your personal cell phone number private? When you dial out using a softphone registered to VPBX, the caller ID you send is your Virtual PBX number, not your personal cell phone number.

In addition, by making calls through your Virtual PBX system, you can avoid roaming charges. With VoIP Anywhere, you can make calls from around the world through your softphone and Wi-Fi connection, getting U.S. dial tone for free. Don’t waste your money on costly international roaming fees. Call Virtual PBX today and save yourself some hard earned cash.

Are You Ready for 2012?
January 11th, 2012

5 ways to start the New Year right

With the end of 2011 at our heels, it is time to look ahead to 2012. Focus on setting your goals and putting plans is place to achieve them. Need some help? Here are five ways Virtual PBX can help you start the new year with a bang.

  1. Examine your History – One great way a business can plan ahead for the New Year is to look at data collected from the previous year. Use you Virtual PBX reports to analyze your call stats from 2011 to help you staff more appropriately. Run a Call arrival Pattern Report to see what times of day you took the most calls. This report will clearly show you peaks and valleys in call traffic. This way you know what hours and in which queues to staff more representative.
  2. Use Call Recording to Monitor Agent Effectiveness – Using free call recording, managers are able to ensure rules are being followed, representatives are giving the best possible customer service, and customers are given accurate information. You can also use the call recording feature to train new employees.
  3. Save Money by using VoIP Phones and Soft Phones – There is never a bad time to save money so why not start saving this year. With Virtual PBX Complete, most companies will save between 40% and 80% on monthly phone costs. Use our VoIP phone service with a VoIP phone or soft phone and stop paying for expensive analog phone lines.
  4. Improve your Greetings – The main greeting is the first thing a caller hears when calling your number. This greeting should welcome callers and direct them to your departments and information. With Virtual PBX, there are multiple ways to customize your main greeting and make your small business sound like a big company. For instance, you can create different daytime and nighttime greetings and use our Day/Night scheduler to switch between them automatically.
  5. Keep up with the Latest Virtual PBX News and Offers – Make sure to check out our Virtual PBX Facebook page to hear first about news, new products and special offers. In addition, read tips to help you grow your business and connect with other business owners.
Virtual PBX Reduces International Dialing Rates
December 8th, 2011

Making international calls has often been an expensive proposition for small and medium businesses. If you have clients living overseas or live abroad yourself, you know keeping in touch with people around the world can be extremely expensive.

Just in time for the busy holiday season, Virtual PBX is making it easier than ever to stay connected by lowering their international dialing rates. With Virtual PBX, you no longer need to purchase an international calling card or waste time searching for lower rates. Virtual PBX is excited to announce new international rates, with some cut by as much as 80%.

Virtual PBX worked hard with its carriers to push rates lower while maintaining high quality, crystal clear calls, and they are passing all the saving onto you. Call land lines in London or Buenos Aires, or mobile phones in Hong Kong for as low as 1.9 cents per minute. So stop watching the minutes on the phone when you are calling abroad and enjoy the savings.

Virtual PBX also offers two other great ways to save big for global phone calls.  If you have employees in other countries, you can set them up with an extension that incorporates a VoIP phone or softphone.  Then, calls to their extensions can be free.

If your client base is international, Virtual PBX can get you a local phone number in thousands of cities around the globe for a low monthly rate.  Your clients can call in at little or no cost because the number is local to them, and you get no extra per-minute fees for the inbound calls.  .

These discounted international options give excellent value and are part of the many reasons Virtual PBX is an easy choice for companies with global interests. With Virtual PBX You can be sure that you’re getting the best value for your dollar no matter who or where you call.

Specific rate information can be found on our website at www.virtualpbx.com.

What Exactly is a Softphone?
October 27th, 2011

I am sure you have heard the term softphone recently with the huge growth of everything VoIP, but do you really know what one is? Common sense will tell you that it is a phone but what kind of phone and how could it affect your business?

Basically, a softphone is a phone that lets you make calls over the internet from a computer or other smart device. As the name would imply, it is a piece of software that acts as a phone interface, allowing you to dial phone numbers and carry out other phone related functions via a screen (PDA or Computer) using your mouse, keypad or keyboard. Conversations usually take place through a headset or a microphone and computer speakers.

The softphone software or application can be downloaded from a variety of providers such as Counterpath or SNOM. These are sometimes also referred to as ‘clients’. Many of these applications are free although some have a modest cost. Softphone clients are available for Macintosh, Windows and Linux computers, and many smartphones, such Androids and iPhones.

In most cases you will find a softphone used in conjunction with VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. This form of computer telephony uses an internet connection to deliver voice information over the internet. For more information regarding VoIP, please check out this blog. VoIP calls can go over a standard internet connection on your local network, wireless networking (WIFI) or even a cellular data network, such as 3G or 4G.

So, we have a softphone client and an internet connection. There is one more component needed to use a softphone and that is a provider. Although anyone can download and use the free softphone software, a VoIP service provider must provide the underlying VoIP phone service over which the calls are carried.  A softphone is registered with the service provider, and often a phone number is assigned.  Calls to and from the softphone are routed over the service provider’s network. The features and functionality of each softphone will vary somewhat from one softphone provider to another.

So who can benefit from using a softphone? Telecommuters and anyone who travels frequently for starters. For users on the go, especially those who travel overseas, softphone service allows them to conveniently make calls from their smartphones and laptops, saving them the hassle and expense of using a hotel phone or roaming on a cell phone. Also, softphones are well suited for small and medium size businesses that save money by cutting their ties with expensive traditional phone companies. Furthermore, softphones do not require expensive hardware which needs to be maintained. Softphones are inexpensive and easy to upgrade.

Thinking about trying out a softphone yet? If so, Virtual PBX would be happy to help you set up you softphone to best fit your needs. Every Virtual PBX system includes VoIP Anywhere technology, which can turn your cellular phone or computer into a Virtual PBX VoIP phone. With VoIP Anywhere and our award-winning open-systems approach, you can use any standard SIP softphone, from almost any vendor, to make and receive calls over your data connection. We’ve reduced the bandwidth requirement so that high quality calls can be made over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connections. You simply register your softphone as a VoIP device in our service, and open the softphone application to make calls.

Benefits of a Virtual PBX Softphone

Tons of Included Features

All standard Virtual PBX features that are available to a VoIP extension are available to all calls to and from a softphone, like call recording, or choosing your caller ID. And softphone calls are included in your Virtual PBX business reports so you’ll always have records of every call. You can make outbound calls from your cellular phone without giving up your personal phone number. And call-backs go to your company number, not to your personal phone. You protect yourself while looking more professional.

Little to No Cost

Our flat-rate plans include the ability to add softphones at no charge. And any extension in a usage-based plan can be enabled to use VoIP, for both VoIP phones and softphones, for just $5 per month per extension. Minutes used on a soft phone are part of your plan. Flat-rate plans have no per-minute fees for calls to a softphone or to a destination in the continental U.S. or Canada (within our fair-use policy), and calls through usage-based plans simply use plan minutes.

Getting Started

To put a softphone on your Virtual PBX account, you should first download a softphone from a good provider. Then, you add the softphone to your account starting from the VoIP Phones page of our vConsole web portal. For more information visit our VoIP support pages.