Not 20 minutes after I arrived at work yesterday, my desk phone rang. It was my boss. He works remotely and he called to tell me that starting today, we would all be working remotely.
My first thought was ‘Awesome! I never have to get dressed again!’ Then I looked around my cubicle and started thinking about what I was going to take with me and what I was going to leave.
Working for a software company that develops communication technology for small businesses, it was a little embarrassing that I didn’t even notice my phone sitting there. To me, it was like my lamp or the legs of my desk. A permanent fixture that was here before I arrived and would be here long after I’m gone.
And so, as I was leaving for the day and ready to head towards my fun new work-from-home-life, I didn’t take my phone with me. On my way out though, I passed by my boss’s old desk and thought back to earlier when he'd called. Only then did it dawn on me...
He'd called me on my work phone.
And I don’t have a work phone at home.
Just a cellphone...
For many of us, our desk phone is our work cornerstone. It’s how we help customers and keep in touch with our bosses.
When you absolutely need to talk to someone right away, the desk phone is your go-to piece of equipment. Nothing replaces that personal connection.
As our workforce transitions to working remotely, replacing that personal connection is even more important. There’s value in recreating the same routine with the same equipment at home as you do at the office. It puts you in the same headspace regardless of your surroundings so you can start every call off on a professional foot.
Mobile apps and web-based computer phones don’t quite cut it. They can be annoying to use and are sometimes cumbersome. Headsets never seem to work perfectly, I can never get the settings quite right.
That’s why I’m partial to my desk phone and I’m glad I took it home with me. It fits me like a glove. It works the way I need it to, every single time, just like FluentStream. Funny, huh? We’re like the desk phones of the communication game. Our service just works like you need it to. All the time; every time.
On that note, it’s good to remind everyone that if you have a VoIP phone (like the kind we provide service for here at FluentStream) and you want to take your desk phone with you when you work from home, you totally can.
Here’s how you can do it if you do use FluentStream (the process should be the same for most VoIP phones, but check with your provider):
HOW TO SET UP YOUR DESK PHONE AT HOME
WITH A VOIP SERVICE
Step 1: Unplug your phone from the ethernet port at your work desk
Step 2: Take your desk phone and ethernet cable home with you
Step 3: Plug your phone into an ethernet port at your home desk
I’m not kidding. It really is that simple.
Because your extension information is stored in the cloud, your “desk” phone is actually your “everywhere” phone. You can keep your normal routine and stay on top of your game from your home office or even your couch--no annoying apps required.
NOTE: When plugging your desk phone in at home, make sure you’re using an ethernet cable/port and not an analog phone cord/port.
WITH A TRADITIONAL ANALOG SERVICE
Step 1: Get a VoIP service
Step 2: Refer to the previous section
Unfortunately for desk phone lovers around the world, old-school phone systems don’t allow you to move devices or work remotely. You’ll need to switch to VoIP if you want to keep using the handset you know and trust from your home office.
HOW TO CHECK IF YOUR DESK PHONE IS WORKING AT HOME
The first step to making sure your desk phone is good to go is to just look at it.
Do your extension number and Caller ID info look correct?
Do all of your speed dial keys go to the right people?
If the answer is yes, congrats! Your phone is successfully connecting to your company’s communications service from your home.
The second step is to actually make a call.
We usually recommend calling your cell phone so you can make sure the audio is working both ways. However, that first call is a landmark moment in your remote work career. Consider capitalizing on your momentum and try to make a one-call sale. Or dial up your favorite restaurant and put in a lunch order. You earned it.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DESK PHONE IS NOT WORKING AT HOME
Adding your work phone to your home office should be as easy as plugging it in and watching your regular extension information pop up on the screen.
However, if you’re having difficulties, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try.
REBOOT YOUR ROUTER
Sometimes home internet services have trouble connecting to an outside server. Usually a quick reboot of your router will reset those connections and allow your phone to come online.
ADJUST YOUR FIREWALL SETTINGS
In some rare cases, firewall restrictions can block internet traffic to your phone and keep it from accessing your extension information.
If you’re comfortable changing settings for your router, allowing SIP and RTP traffic should help a signal reach your phone. Whitelisting your phone provider’s IP addresses can also fix connection issues.
If you’re a FluentStream client, you can reach our award-winning Support team 24/7 at 303-GO-CLOUD for help with any and all of your remote work needs.