International Office moving across to MS Teams Telephony

David Tarbun, St John International’s Digital Officer, explains the benefits of the International office moving to Microsoft Teams Telephony.

Since the end of the COVID-19 restrictions, we have found that staff working practices have changed dramatically. Staff are more likely to work from home for a few days a week, and this has led to challenges when it comes to our existing phone solution. Currently, we have a Panasonic desk-based phone system that has no flexibility when it comes to home working, resulting in people using their personal mobiles for work calls. Because of this, we in the International Office are looking at moving to a Microsoft Teams phone solution.

A Teams phone solution will allow a member of staff to take an office number with them wherever they go or choose to work from.

You can use any device that can log onto Teams either via the app or in a browser, which means the solution can work on mobile phones, tablets, and computers. There are also dedicated Teams handsets available for purchase.

With a Teams phone solution, you get many features that an expensive physical phone system would have for a fraction of the price. Such as:

  • Auto-attendants: The ability to have a welcome message when a caller dials the main number, which can re-direct the call to the right person or department depending on the caller’s button press (e.g., Press 3 for Finance).
  • Call Queues: Equally dividing incoming calls to the main number between a group of staff members or having them call around in a particular order
  • Calendar and time messages: You can set messages for when the office is closed, either out of hours or for a public holiday, which can direct the caller to a voicemail.
  • Voicemail to email: For all numbers, a voicemail can be set up that sends the voicemail message as an email to either the user or a group of users. The email contains not only the audio file of the message but also the transcribed text of the message in the body of the email.
  • Easy forwarding and redirecting: A user can easily forward their number to a main number, another user, or voicemail if they are not available or on leave.

With Microsoft’s charity pricing, the solution is very affordable. Assuming the user already has a licence that includes Microsoft Teams, you can set up a user on a Teams phone system for as little as £2.81 per month. Call charges are also extremely competitive and, in a lot of cases, significantly cheaper than those of other providers.