One of the biggest challenges in letting your team work from home is giving them the same tools and the same user experience as they’d get when they’re in the office. That’s especially true when it comes to communications. How can you ensure your team can still answer calls to their desk phone, pick up voicemail, hold video calls without using a meeting room equipped with video conferencing kit, or see if a colleague is free for a quick chat when they can’t just glance up at them across the office?
Unified communications (UC) is the answer, bringing together your desk and mobile phones, email, videoconferencing and instant messaging, as well as “presence”: showing a user’s availability and location. It’s not a new idea, but the original on-premise solutions failed to live up to the promise. Cloud-based UC is changing all that, because it really can provide users with the same experience —no matter where they are or what device they’re using — as long as they have an internet connection.
Google provides UC through a combination of G Suite and Google Voice. G Suite gives you email, videoconferencing, instant messaging and chat with Google Meet. If you add Google Voice, each user also gets a phone number for calls and voicemail that can be used to dial domestically and internationally from their web browser and mobile devices.
With Google Voice in place, you can:
- easily call people in your contacts list, as well as dial any other number, and see all the calls you’ve made, received or missed. When you’re on a call, you can mute your line or place the call on hold
- make and send calls from your work number on any device. You can divert calls to another number, such as your mobile if you’re out and about, or to a colleague’s phone if they need to fill in for you
- save time by reading automatically generated transcripts of voicemails sent to your email inbox
- automatically divert calls to voicemail automatically outside the working hours you’ve set in Google Calendar or when you set an “out of office” event in Google Calendar or when you manually set Voice to “do not disturb”
- protect yourself from spam calls and block unwanted callers, as well as screen calls before answering
- record your own voicemail greetings and choose which one of your saved greetings to use
Naturally, Google Voice is easy to set up and manage. Your Google administrators can assign and port numbers, manage billing and deploy Google Voice instantly and from anywhere through the G Suite Admin console. And Google Voice is available as an add-on paid subscription to any G Suite edition (including G Suite Basic) for anyone with a G Suite business account.
If you’d like to find out more about how Unified Communications, powered by Google Voice and G Suite, can benefit your business, take a look at our dedicated Remote Working site or come and talk to the Voice experts in our G Suite team.
Article updated May 2020
First published March 201