We’ve already determined that working remotely is beneficial for some employees and businesses, that is, if everything is set up correctly so the two can communicate seamlessly. Let’s talk about collaboration tools.

Consider how you work in your office: The important things include your computer or laptop, your cell phone and business line. If you work in a remote office, it’s easy to have all of those things, and you can keep the appearance of working at headquarters by getting a business phone extension using cloud technology called “hosted PBX” (private branch exchange). You don’t even have to have a physical telephone for it to work.

With hosted PBX your phone line is in the cloud. You can choose to use a handset, headset, or simply setup a “soft phone” on your computer, or thru an app on your cell phone. With your “hosted” telephone system, an answering system or receptionist can simply transfer a call to your preferred answering method over the internet via the cloud.

If you’ve already invested in traditional PBX, ask your vendor if they offer a soft phone option via the internet. Some companies may offer it as an additional feature, in the event you want to set up an employee to work remotely.

If you choose to go with hosted PBX, unlike traditional PBX in your office, you will not need to buy the hardware initially. You won’t even need a telephone line coming into your office. But you will end up paying more per month if you have more than a few employees on the hosted system. The hosted PBX will charge you per seat (meaning per user) and it can be expensive.

Asses what you need and how much you are willing to spend initially vs. annually (or monthly) on remote office locations. Before making any changes or commitments to your employees, determine whether the benefits of telecommuting outweigh the potential increase in operating costs.