Need to Cut Costs? Switch to a VoIP Solution

rows of VOIP office phones

VoIP, the shortened form of Voice over Internet Protocol, can be considered the latest and greatest in telecommunication, a far superior solution to traditional landlines. Some businesses have embraced this technology with open arms, whereas others still cling to their landlines as their lives depend on it. At the end of the day, relying on your landline when a VoIP solution exists is no different from throwing money away.

The numbers reported below are pulled from a guide put together by Harbor Networks. They show just how much the average small business can save by something as simple as a shift in telecommunications to a VoIP solution.

The Capital Savings Are No Joke

The first savings you might notice from VoIP are from the costs associated with traditional telephone communications. A report by Telzio states that businesses save up to 50% on monthly communication costs by switching to a VoIP service. It must also be noted that this 50% was separate from the additional cost savings that come from hosted VoIP’s lack of maintenance costs, which further drives the solution’s value. As if that weren’t enough, startup costs for hosted VoIP are low or nonexistent. Additional VoIP cost savings come from those cut from teleconferencing (30%) and local calls (40%).

Enhanced Productivity Leads to Additional Cost Savings

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adopt a more flexible stance on remote work, this trend was increasing long before. Businesses have been adopting VoIP for a while now to accommodate the increasing requests for remote work, and businesses that did saw a significant increase in productivity. Productivity then transforms into savings. Just imagine what your staff could achieve with a 20% boost to their productivity and an average savings of 40 minutes per workday. It can add up quickly!

Hosting Alleviates the Challenges of a VoIP Solution

One of the biggest challenges that come from a solution like VoIP is figuring out who will manage and maintain it. This is especially pertinent for small businesses that have limited resources at their disposal, particularly for IT. If your small business is already struggling to get by and has a limited budget, hosted VoIP offers significant savings that makes managing a VoIP system as easy as can be but much more affordable as a whole.

If you don’t have someone on-premises to manage your VoIP solution, a managed service provider can help to address this shortcoming. We can host your VoIP solution for you and manage and maintain it so that you can focus on making use of it. Only 14% of businesses without full-time IT staff have issues with VoIP, and we think it’s largely because of the existence of MSPs like 4 Corner IT that this number is as low as it is. We strive to make our services as accessible to small businesses as possible, especially those that do not have in-house IT resources.

The longer you wait to implement a solution like VoIP, the more savings you are missing out on. To get started today, reach out to 4 Corner IT at (954) 474-2204.

How to: Use Windows 10’s Screenshot Tool

Female hands showing cropping composition gesture. Isolated on blue.

The screenshot is one of the great tools that users can use to capture information in their browsers. If you are using a PC, you have access to many of them. Once you set one, you can typically use the Print Screen key to capture the image. Today, there is a Snip & Sketch tool that provides better functionality and is much easier to use.

How to Use Snip & Sketch for Screenshots

Snip & Sketch is integrated right into Windows, not a browser. It provides users with several screenshot options that you can access by pressing Windows Key+Shift+S. Here is a list of the available options:

  1. A basic box selection, allowing you to click and drag to encompass your selection
  2. A freeform selection, allowing you to draw out your boundary
  3. Window snip, allowing you to select an active monitor to screenshot
  4. Fullscreen snip, taking the place of the Print Screen key, allowing you to take a picture of all your monitors simultaneously

This tool gives you a wider range of useful options than most of today’s screenshot programs and it can be used throughout Windows to capture images.

We hope you can use this extremely useful tool to make your “screenshotting” needs easier. If you like the tips and tricks we provide, return to our blog weekly!

Key Steps to Take Before Reopening Your Organization

key steps to take before reopening your organization

While many states have at least partially opened, it remains to be seen if they will continue a steady pace forward to an eventual full reopening, or if they will decide to pull back for a time. In other words, the process of recovering from a world-wide pandemic seems to be a two steps forward, followed by a one step backward process. Thankfully, many organizations have employed creative and innovative methods to keep their doors open as much as possible, while protecting both employees and the clients they serve.

For those who may have gotten off to a shaky start, we will provide some helpful tips on how to make the transition back to normal life as smoothly as possible.

Employee Safety First

While customers may come and go as they like, employees are obligated to remain in the workspaces their employer provides. Of course, organizations must follow government guidelines as to how many people are allowed within a building at the same time. Employers may need to expand the distance between employee workstations, whether they spend most of their time sitting or standing. It’s also a good idea to keep up with the latest information regarding PPE (personal protection equipment) to determine whether employees are being provided with the correct instructions on how to wear their various forms of protection. 

Stay Flexible

While many companies allowed their employees to work remotely right from the beginning of the pandemic, some have found today they need at least some of their employees to work within their physical buildings. Still, some employees may have pre-existing health conditions that put them at a higher risk, or they have a family member who is in a high risk group.

While in a normal world it may be advantageous to have these people back in the office, if they do get sick, not only will it add an extra burden to their physical and mental health, at best they’ll still be required to quarantine for a two-week period. Now is the time to remain flexible and realize it might not be possible to have the entire company operating as effectively as it could. 

Reassure the Public 

Let customers, vendors, and other company staff members with which your organization regularly comes in contact know that you are making every effort to honor their health and safety as well. This may include sending out a corporate email outlining all the steps your organization is performing to ensure their interaction with your employees will remain a safe, positive experience.

If an organization has a physical building that customers or vendors will enter, let them know what you are doing to ensure their safety as well as your expectations of them, by posting a sign on the door which they can read prior to entering. Some organizations may want to include some details about their safety practices in their corporate phone greeting. Others may want to inform the public by way of an advertisement shown on TV or through a radio commercial.

Reevaluate Corporate Technology Security

Many organizations have employees working in entirely different settings than they did before the pandemic. This could mean the new settings open them up to additional security risks as they use technology devices and software apps in a way they never did before. For employees in a remote work environment, organizations need to consider who in the environment may potentially have access to confidential information and/or computer equipment, including logins used for various apps. 

All the different ways in which employees now use corporate computer equipment and software applications must be reevaluated to ensure that a company’s technology system as a whole, remains safe and secure.

If you would like to know more about how to successfully navigate your organization through the pandemic, please contact us.

6 Tips for Supporting Your Remote Workforce During the Pandemic

6 tips for supporting your remote workforce during the pandemic

During this pandemic, businesses have been forced to quickly adapt to changing realities. One of the major changes we have seen in society is the shift towards telecommuting. Teams are working remotely to avoid having to go into the office. It can be difficult to acclimate to this new reality, so you need to provide your employees with the necessary support they need for your team to be successful. Today, we will be going through six tips for supporting your remote workforce during the pandemic. 

Focus on Team Building 

Just because your team is working remotely, that doesn’t mean that you can forget about team building. Working on improving communication and rapport between team members will lead to better collaboration and improved performance. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work Report, one of the top challenges remote workers face is loneliness. 

Although team members can’t get together physically, you still want them to be able to chit-chat with each other and create meaningful relationships. Consider setting up an after-hour video chat “work party” or create a group “coffee room” chat. It is important for each team member to have a feeling of belonging to the team. 

Up Your Communication

A top challenge for remote teams is communicating effectively. In the office, team members can drop a note on their manager’s desk or walk a few steps to a colleague to ask for advice. Managers can regularly check in with team members when they bump into them in the office.

When managing a remote team, it is important to make a concerted effort to increase communication. Check in with your workers every day to ask if they need anything, and tell them not to hesitate to contact you if they have any sort of question. 

Set Up Effective Channels

Every remote team should be utilizing video chat. One-on-one chats allow you to check in with individual team members and stay on top of their progress, while group chats can take the place of daily briefings and meetings. However, not everything has to take place over a video chat. Assign different channels for different tasks — for example, team members can use email or a group chat board instead of video chat for more mundane tasks and questions. 

Create a Schedule and Set Goals

Creating a schedule can help teams stay focused and productive. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown schedule planned for the entire day; it can be a simple 15-minute briefing at the same time every morning or a 15-minute progress check at the end of the day. Establishing a ritual is important, and so is setting goals to help your workers stay focused. 

Be Flexible and Understanding

Another major challenge of working at home is facing distractions. Some team members may have children running around — kids aren’t going to school either. Offer understanding and flexibility. In addition, not every team member will need the same level of communication. For example, some team members may have a lot of questions and doubts and will benefit from an open communication channel; others may not need to ask as many questions and may flourish better when left to concentrate on the task at hand.

While it is important to stay on top of things and check in with your employees regularly, you may have to stay on top of some employees more.

Invest In Quality Cloud Solutions

If you haven’t yet done so, now is the time to invest in high-quality business cloud computing solutions. This will help avoid hiccups and ensure that your business runs smoothly day-to-day.

Contact us for more information on how we can set up versatile and reliable cloud solutions for your workforce so your team members can work from wherever they are, on any device.

4 Tips To Get More Battery Life from Your Laptop

4 tips to get more battery life from your laptop

No matter what you use it for, your laptop’s portability is what makes it your most important tool. The busy lifestyles of students and workers rarely allow anyone the luxury of staying in one place long enough to complete everything. A multitasker’s laptop serves as a workstation, a homework helper, and a source of entertainment. You can’t afford to be chained to an outlet all day, so try these tips to get more life from your battery.

1. Change the Battery Setting

Laptop manufacturers want to cover all the bases. Your laptop needs to work at peak performance to access important information. However, when it’s crucial to conserve battery life, you probably don’t mind some compromises. Windows uses a slider to allow you to decide how much functionality you are willing to sacrifice for the life of your battery. Mac has all of the same options in the energy saver window using a checklist. Choosing from these settings can decrease screen brightness, limit background apps, and prevent mail apps from syncing.

2. Close Energy Hogging Apps

The apps sucking up all the energy on your laptop may be apps you aren’t actively using. Check your downloaded apps to see which ones are using the most energy. The easiest way to do this in windows is to simply type what you are looking for into the search bar. Searching “See which apps are affecting battery life” or “See which processes startup automatically” will allow to you detect apps you might be able to deactivate. Mac users can search for Users and Groups and click the Login Items tab. Often apps you have forgotten to close are using a lot of power.

3. Use Airplane Mode

If you aren’t using the internet or Bluetooth, airplane mode can be a great battery saver. Disabling WiFi and Bluetooth also saves energy through the apps that constantly use them for updates and notifications.

4. Keep a Spare

A spare battery can be a lifesaver when you are somewhere you can’t plug in. Many laptop manufacturers even offer batteries that last longer than the original one that came in your laptop. External battery packs are also available.

For more information about how to keep your laptop at peak performance, contact us at 4 Corner IT. We are happy to answer all of your questions and meet all of your computer performance needs.