We’ve had a lot of calls and emails of late with people asking the same burning question.  Do they need a new phone system to work from home?  The answer is rather difficult to provide without knowing a business’ current systems and setup.  However, we wanted to give you some handy hints to find out whether you need to upgrade.

The coronavirus crisis has got most of the world working from home, but now businesses are starting to put some thought into whether they can manage long term and provide flexibility for their workers.

Hints on whether you need a new phone system

Here’s some of the process we go through when we’re faced with when evaluating a customers’ existing legacy phone system.

An image of an old phone system to show what to look for

  • Do you have a physical system in your office – black box, flashing lights hooked up to lots of wires?

    In the case that you do, then it’s more likely that you may need a new phone system or at the very least an upgrade of the one you have. We call these boxes a PBX, a Private Branch eXchange. If there isn’t a black box in the cupboard, just networking equipment, then it’s probably a ‘cloud’ based phone system.  This could save you some cash on buying a new phone system.Old white BT style plug and an RJ11

  • Do your desk phones plug into an old BT style socket on the wall with the old white connector?

    It’s pretty certain that if this is the case, your phone system will need replacing to enable users to work from home.  In general, these are called Digital PBX’s and are now relatively old having been replaced by ones that run over your computer network.  You’ll almost certainly need a new phone system.

  • Do your desk phones look as if they plug into the same place as your computers?

    They’ll tend to have a plug on them called an RJ45 or Ethernet connector. Just to confuse you, some phone systems use the same type of leads but plug into a different place in your wiring cupboard.  An easy trick to see if they’re using the same wiring and network switch is to plug the PC into where the phone is plugged in. If the computer works, chances are your phone system is quite modern and would enable you to take your phones home with a bit of reconfiguring from your provider.
    Back of VOIP phone to show through ports

  • Another good thing to look out for is the phone being plugged into a wall port

The computer is then plugged into the back of the phone. We tend to call it ‘daisy-chaining’ but officially this is a pass-through port. If that’s apparent, then you’re likely to be able to take those phones home with some reconfiguring and a power supply and they’ll work.

If you don’t think you need a new phone system

The first step would be to reach out to the company who provided you with it.  They’re likely to know your options.

It is also important to consider that your staff, whilst they’re able to take the desktop telephone home with the aid of a power adapter, that it will still have to be plugged in somewhere near their home broadband router.

More modern phone systems, such as 3CX and even Microsoft Teams (yes, Teams can also be a phone system) allow you to have a combination of a desk telephone for the office, a mobile app on your mobile device and a softphone on your PC that you can use with a headset.  This prevents the need from taking a handset home with you and avoiding a lot of complexity.#

There’s also usually more than one benefit from taking the plunge and upgrading to a brand new style system.  Internally here, we use 3CX and as you’ll see on our website, the chat function is powered by our phone system with your messages appearing directly on our softphones.  There could be of course many benefits for your business, so it’s always worth doing your research.

Here at Unleashed, we don’t often install physical phone systems anymore.  We either use hosted, multi-tenanted systems – what used to be called hosted VoIP or we set up a business’ own dedicated phone system on the cloud.  The latter has all the power of having your own phone system, configuration and bespoke settings – but lives on the internet so you can connect to it from anywhere.

We love talking phones too – some of our staff are tame and reformed ex-BT phone system experts, so if you’d like to talk about whether or not you need a new one, then just contact us.