Going Green with VoIP: 4 Easy Steps to Use Your Phone Service to Improve your Environmental Footprint

rachel_greenbergEveryone wants to improve their environmental footprints, but sometimes it’s easier to have good intentions than to make a change in your actual behaviors. However, there are lots of great and easy ways to change your environmental footprint without too much effort.

One great and easy improvement for your pattern of consumption is to choose the right phone system. Your business needs an office phone system that is a good fit in the same way that you need a suit that is a good fit. An ill-fitting phone system can cost a business owner extra overhead, and can contribute to a poor environmental office footprint.

Today, most business owners choose VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) for their office phone solutions. VoIP, or Internet telephony, provides inexpensive business telephone systems, and most VoIP plans come with lots of great features and functions that make it easy for even the smallest business to get a phone system with all of the same functionality as the phone system of global industrial business.

But on top of that, a new VoIP system that fits your business can help your change your business’s consumption habits for the better. Check out these four easy ways that you can use a well-fitting VoIP system to improve your environmental footprint.

1.) Save on Space, Equipment, and Energy Consumption with a New PBX
If you haven’t updated your phone system recently, you may be using a highly outdated PBX system. A PBX (public branch exchange) connects all of your office extensions to each other and to the external phone lines. You may be familiar with the image of a phone operator sitting in front of a large switchboard, receiving calls as they come in and routing them to the right extensions.

Today, you can get a VoIP PBX that is much less expensive and much easier to use. You can get a hosted PBX that is based entirely on a cloud platform, so there is no hardware for you to worry about. Everything is managed remotely by your service provider. You could also choose a SIP trunking solution. With SIP trunking, you buy or download an IP-capable PBX for your office and manage all of the internal extensions yourself, and your provider handles all of your inbound and outbound calling.

Both of these solutions are very inexpensive and space-efficient. Even if you want an in-house IP PBX, new IP PBXs are much smaller than old analog PBXs. And hosted PBXs have absolutely no equipment involved. With an old PBX, you would need to buy lots of equipment, find a storage facility, keep the facility temperature controlled, pay for maintenance, and hire a manual operator. With a VoIP PBX, you can eliminate all of those costs, and downsize your office to a smaller space with less equipment, which will improve your office consumption levels.

2.) Cut Down on Employee Travel with Remote Extensions and Mobile Apps
With improved remote connectivity with VoIP, you can employ people from all over the country and all over the world. Does the best web designer on the coast live two states away? With a remote office extension, you can still hire your dream web designer, while also keeping her connected to the main office PBX. This means that clients or other employees can still reach your remote employee’s extension through the main office PBX. In fact, clients may never even know that the employee works from a separate location.

Some providers also offer extensions or mobile apps for smartphones for their virtual teams. This means that an employee could get a remote extension or an app for their smartphone, and as long as they can get Internet access, and they can still send and receive VoIP calls through the office PBX. This means that an employee can stay connected and in the loop without having to travel into the office everyday. This will contribute to a lower environmental footprint for your employee and for your office as a whole.

3.) Use IP Conferencing and Call Bridging to Meet with Partners, Employees, and Clients All Over the World
If you do business with partners and clients all over the country or all over the world, an IP conferencing solutions can make all the difference in your connectivity and communication. If you can host a meeting with audio or video components, you can meet with employees and clients and feel almost as if you are in the same room. This is a great way to get everyone on the same page without having to pay for travel expenses for your employees whenever you need to have multiple people in on a meeting.

This will mean less in travel expenses for your business, but also less in energy consumption as employees won’t need to travel by plane, car, train, or bus. Vehicular transportation is responsible for much or our carbon emission, and any traveling you can reduce, the better.

4.) Cut Down on Paper, Ink, and Electricity with IP Faxing
With an IP faxing solution, available with many VoIP business solutions, you can do all of your faxing over an IP connection, rather than over a copper telephone line. You can keep your old fax machine if you want, and set it up with an IP connection, or you can get rid of your fax machine and send and receive all of your faxes as messages similar to email.

So you may be wondering, then, why would I get IP faxing if I could just use email? Many business owners have associates or customers who still need to send and receive messages as faxes. For example, many doctors’ offices prefer to send and receive faxes. With an IP faxing solution, you can still send faxes to these partners and receive faxes from them without having to keep an actual physical fax machine.

You send a fax as an email, but the other person receives it as a regular old fax, and they can send a regular old fax to you but it will arrive as an email. You can selectively print out these faxes as you want to. This will cut down on your paper and ink consumption as you don’t have to print every fax, and it will cut your electricity use as you won’t need to keep a fax machine turned on at all times.

Rachel Greenberg is site editor for VoIP Review. She writes about VoIP and technology solutions for businesses and homes.

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One Response to Going Green with VoIP: 4 Easy Steps to Use Your Phone Service to Improve your Environmental Footprint

  1. karen chase July 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    My company just switched to the PBX phone systems and I didn’t even realize how environmentally friendly it was! This phone system is more beneficial than I thought. Thanks for posting!

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