Archive for September, 2012


How to Eliminate Workplace Stress

As summer vacations become a distant memory and the holidays near, it’s inevitable that our schedules are going to become a little more hectic. While a certain amount of stress is inevitable, the fact is stress is toxic to the body. The American Psychological Association says that stress can result in headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, anxiety, lack of motivation, lack of focus, irritability, depression, and the list goes on.

The following are some useful tips that can help you reduce stress in the workplace, and limit the time it does occur.

Time Management

Managing work time effectively is a sure way to help you prioritize and get projects done at a reasonable time, which can drastically lower your work stress levels. Create a balanced schedule between work and your family/personal life. Also, don’t over-commit to doing too much and scheduling more than you can handle. Planning regular breaks helps to break the monotony and come back feeling recharged.

Control your Emotions

Even if you’re in a job where the environment is stressful, you can retain your own inner calm through your “emotional intelligence” says HelpGuide.org. “Emotional intelligence is about communicating with others in ways that draw people to you, overcome differences, repair wounded feelings, and defuse tension and stress.”

Emotional intelligence in the workplace has four major components:

  • Self-awareness – The ability to recognize your emotions and their impact while using gut feelings to guide your decisions.
  • Self-management – The ability to control your emotions and behavior and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Social awareness – The ability to sense, understand, and react to other’s emotions and feel comfortable socially.
  • Relationship management – The ability to inspire, influence, and connect to others and manage conflict.

Exercise

One sure way to dispel unwanted stress is to step outside and go for a quick walk, or even a jog. You can eat lunch at your desk and spend your lunch break at the gym or outside jogging.

Laugh

Laughing doesn’t mean you don’t confront challenges seriously, it means that you can smile at a task and meet it with lightness, rather than being overly serious or stressed. If you can get somebody else in on the joke, all the better.

 


Why Go Mobile?

VoIP is a powerful communication tool that is helping businesses of all sizes take advantage of numerous features. While significant cost savings is often the primary advantage of VoIP, mobility is quickly becoming a deciding factor for businesses to transition to VoIP communications.

The United States has the highest percentage of mobile workers, with 72.2% of the workforce mobile in 2008, according to IDC. By 2013, an estimated 75.5% of the U.S. workforce, or 119.7 million workers, will be mobile.

Mobility helps company employees stay connected anytime, anywhere by having access to important company information wherever they may be. There are three key areas where businesses can expect ROI from a mobile workforce, according to the Yankee Group:

  • Improved services
  • Decreased costs
  • Increased revenue

A mobile workforce that has constant access to real-time information and software can make smarter decisions and process requests faster, which leads to improved services. This also improves overall productivity since employees can work faster and more efficiently. IP phone technology like Cisco SPA phones feature productivity features like video conferencing, call forwarding, visual voicemail and other features to help a mobile workforce.

Plus, a successful mobile workforce helps decrease costs by reducing workflow volumes and streamlining business processes. New mobility solutions like IP-based phone systems reduce costs through Internet-based phone calls. Also, businesses ultimately reduce costs by streamlining both Internet and phone into one communications system. Internet-based calls and conferencing help to reduce costs by up to 85 percent, compared with legacy phone systems.

How Mobility is Helping SMBs Compete with Enterprises

Today’s small to medium-sized business customers expect SMBs to deliver service, support and products that are on par with big businesses. However, SMBs are often burdened with the need to provide these services with limited resources.

VoIP has emerged as a powerful new communication tool that is helping SMBs compete with larger businesses by providing enterprise-level support, service, mobility and more.

“SMBs know that having reliable, always-on communications helps them maintain the kind of quality of service that has traditionally been provided by much larger competitors with an established 9 to 5 culture,” according to the Wall Street Journal article, Technology is Helping SMBs to Become a Global Force.

There are numerous ways SMBs benefit from VoIP technology. The following are some of the more important ones SMBs use to help them better compete with larger companies:

  • Cost Savings - One of the biggest benefits of VoIP to SMBs is cost savings. With VoIP technology, phone calls are made over the Internet and can reduce a phone bill by as much as 85 percent, when compared with legacy phone lines.
  • Anywhere, Anytime Access - Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever and SMBs need to provide access to employees working out of hotel rooms, airport lounges, remote branches, and home offices. Without it, mobile and remote workers lose valuable time. VoIP connects remote and mobile workers to an SMB’s critical applications such as customer-relationship management and sales force automation tools, e-mail, instant messaging, and more. 
  • Employee Collaboration - Frequent collaboration among employees is often essential for SMBs. Yet does an SMB develop a richly collaborative environment when many employees collaborate remotely or on the go? A cloud-based network with integrated voice, video, data, and wireless communications delivers interactive calendaring, Web-based videoconferencing, IP telephony, and other tools that foster collaboration.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Connectivity - An estimated 88% of executives worldwide report employees are using their own personal computing technologies for business purposes today, according to a report by Avanade. 58% of respondents said the greatest outcome of BYOD was the ability for their employees to work from anywhere, followed by their employees being more willing to work after hours (42 percent).

These are just some of the key ways SMBs are leveraging VoIP to enhance their business productivity and efficiency, and help them compete against larger corporations. To see how much money your business can save with Nextiva business VoIP, call us today at 800-983-4289.


The Business Advantages of VoIP

VoIP has emerged as a powerful tool in a business kit, allowing for reduced costs, greater efficiencies, and increased productivity through new communication tools. A 2011 report by Infonetics Research explains that VoIP and UC services and subscribers note that predictable billing schedules, paired with reduced toll charges, make hosted Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) services ideal for small businesses.

The following are some key reasons why organizations continue to transition to VoIP communications systems:

  • Low cost - One of the primary advantages of VoIP is lower costs compared to traditional phone systems. VoIP combines both voice and data onto a single unified network, which reduces total cost of ownership. Plus, with a hosted VoIP network, there is no need to invest in costly hardware purchases and maintenance, since upgrades and support are provided by the carrier. You can also sign up with a VoIP service provider which charges a monthly fee in return for unlimited calls within a certain geographic area. For example, VoIP services like Nextiva allow you to call anywhere in North America at no extra charge. Overseas calls are charged at a relatively small rate.
  • Portability - With VoIP, you can make and receive phone calls wherever there is a broadband connection simply by signing in to your online account. For workers who travel, they can pack a headset or Internet phone and make calls that are economical and easy. VoIP service also provides customers with a unique phone number that remains valid at whatever location they may be in. All you need to do is plug in the phone to a broadband connection anywhere in the world in order to make and receive calls just as if you were in your home or office.
  • Advanced Features - There are many other features that make VoIP attractive. Call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID and three-way calling are some of the many services included with Internet telephone at no extra charge. Plus, VoIP technology integrates with other communication tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and Microsoft Outlook.
  • Scalability – VoIP allows subscribers to add or delete users easily and make changes to the system without relying on outside IT support. Business VoIP phone systems come with a simple plug-and-play setup process.

If you are interested in setting up VoIP for your small business, call us today at 800-983-4289 and one of our dedicated Nextiva VoIP Specialists will be happy to assist you!

 


5 Things Any Company Can Learn from Apple

With the iPhone 5 on the horizon, Apple is in the spotlight this week as tech lovers are on the edge of their seats waiting for the newest smartphone to be revealed. Year after year, Apple has had consumers mesmerized by the sleek design and innovative features of their computers, iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny the success of Apple over the past decade.

But how did they get there? We’re diving into some practices and techniques that Apple abides by, and showing how you can apply them to your own business.

  • Make products user friendly – Sometimes less is more. Apple’s products are arguably the most intuitively functional devices on the market, with clean icons and straight-forward functions. Don’t overthink your products or make them unnecessarily complicated. Your customers will appreciate it.
  • Deliver the total experience – Apple is known for their integration within products. You can quickly transfer your iTunes music from your iPod to your iPad. Plug in your iPhone to your MacBook Pro and your camera pics are quickly uploaded to your iPhoto app. This cohesion is visible through all of their products and apps, which inspires users to buy the full line of Apple products. Reinforce consistency throughout your products to give users confidence in familiarity. Apple’s success proves that people are willing to pay a little extra for this convenience.
  • Amp up your public relations – Last spring, the hype was all about the iPad 3. This month, everyone’s talking about the iPhone 5. The newest Apple rumor is that an iPad Mini is in the works. Apple talks a lot, but in reality – they say very little. Observers are left to throw around product rumors until the company speaks up – and then they listen. Apple breaks all the public relations rules, but it works for them. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when launching a new product or service. A little mystery can go a long way.
  • Focus on making products, not money – Steve Jobs was known for focusing on new technology and the future of Apple rather than on making money. The goal of most companies is to “make more money.” Of course Apple wants to make profits, but their bigger goal is to make a product that people will want to use. This theory keeps them in the lead in terms of innovation and design, and, in turn, keeps money coming in the door. When you focus on making a great product or offering a superb service, the money will follow.
  • Differentiate yourself – Everything about Apple is different than its closest competitors, and their products are designed to be well ahead of the curve of comparable technology products. iMac’s desktop layout and software work in a completely unique way compared to the PCs of Dell, HP, and the like. iPhone’s flat, screw-less design with a single button and large touchscreen was one of a kind when it first debuted. iPad was the first tablet computer to achieve worldwide commercial success. Many companies are now contenders with products similar to Apple’s, but it’s no secret who paved the way. Apple even differentiates themselves from PC companies by offering an Apple Store where potential customers can test drive products and ask questions. By investing in research and gaining a strong knowledge of your products and services, you can set your company apart as a leader in your industry.

As a relatively new company, Nextiva looks up to successful companies like Apple for inspiration. We strive to offer innovatively unique products, such as our new NextOS 3.0 technology platform, and create a total customer experience through our social media and Amazing Service™ team.

For information on Nextiva’s business VoIP and to start saving your business money today, give us a call at 800-983-4289 and we would be happy to help!


Feature Spotlight: Call Forwarding

A few weeks ago, we told you all about hunt groups and how they help distribute calls to appropriate extensions or multiple phone lines. Today, we’re going to break down the activity of call forwarding, which is the tool that redirects all incoming calls to specified hunt groups or single line destinations.

This incredibly flexible feature can be programmed when you first set up your phone, and managed through the Next OS dashboard or your phone’s keypad when modifications are needed. Nextiva’s call forwarding offers multiple options of where you can route your calls, including:

  • Call Forwarding Always – This service allows a user to redirect all incoming calls to another destination automatically, all the time. Calls are sent to a specified location unconditionally, whether the user’s line is busy, idle, alerting, and so on. A handy reminder indicator is set to remind users that the CFA function is activated, and Nextiva performs verifications to make sure the forwarding attempts do not create a loop.
  • Call Forwarding Always to Voice Mail – Have too many meetings and tons of work to get done? This forwarding setting will send all of your calls to your voicemail so you don’t have to worry about answering them when you’re busy.
  • Call Forwarding Busy – For users who are extremely busy on active phone calls, the call forwarding busy feature redirects incoming calls to another destination when the desired one is busy.
  • Call Forwarding Busy to Voicemail – Redirect your incoming calls to your voicemail when you’re tied up on a phone call.
  • Call Forwarding No Answer – When you aren’t available to answer your phone within a specified number of rings, this feature sends the incoming call to a designated line.
  • Call Forwarding No Answer to Voicemail – Similar to the option above, when your phone is not answered within a set of designated rings, this function forwards the incoming call to your voicemail message.
  • Call Forwarding Selective – The most intricate call forwarding option, this feature forwards an incoming call to a specified destination when the call matches a set of selective criteria specified by the user. For example, you can select to have incoming calls that are outside of your business hours sent directly to voicemail.

Are you already a Nextiva customer? Watch this “How To” video that will give you step-by-step instructions on utilizing the call forwarding function at your office.

Or, are you thinking about choosing Nextiva for your business’s VoIP needs? For more information about Nextiva’s business VoIP communications, give us a call at 800-983-4289 and one of our VoIP Specialists will be happy to help you find a solution that fits your company’s size and budget!


Nextiva Turns 4!

This summer, Nextiva celebrated four years full of helping small businesses cut costs and enjoy high quality VoIP service. Four years full of new employees, training seminars and office growth. Four years full of technological developments, new products and industry awards. Four years full of learning, expanding and maturing.

This anniversary timeline examines Nextiva milestones from our company’s launch to today. We’re looking forward to delivering top-quality business VoIP to companies just like yours for many years to come – thanks for sticking with us!




 
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