Work is changing. More and more individuals are choosing to work as their own employers. Over 15% of UK workers are self-employed, and this number is rising. This trend took hold as Western countries began to de-industrialise in the 1980s, but it has accelerated exponentially across the world with the rise of the internet.

The internet has permanently fractured the business and communications landscape. Now, anyone can start their own business with only a domain registration. Anyone can become a journalist with nothing more than their iPhone and an instinct for stories. The so-called ‘knowledge economy’ has permanently altered the 9-5 work routine and untied the dynamic entrepreneur from their office.

Even our university and college systems are reflecting this change. The Open University is now the largest university in the UK, with over 174,000 enrolled students during 2015-16. The vast majority study off-campus: that is, either at home in their own time, or around another job. Our top-tier universities encourage students to facilitate their own learning through the expansion of coursework projects such as dissertations, and the continued expansion of humanities-based degrees which involve high levels of independent study. The best and brightest of tomorrow are adapting to the new world of work: one which is task- rather than time-based.

What can VoIP do for freelancers?

Freelancing demands a greater level of flexibility in the way you communicate. Gone are the days of fixed landline systems with geographic numbers. But for the aspiring freelance entrepreneur, a mobile phone can’t quite cut it. They don't have the same enterprise features that business phones have. If they want professionalism, they will need a VoIP system instead.

Internet phone systems, known as Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, use the internet instead of traditional landline systems. 

VoIP systems have all the enterprise features you would expect, such as call transferring and recording, at a price which is affordable to start-ups. You can install your own VoIP phone system for as little as £7.49/month. They can be connected directly to the internet, and permit calls to all numbers, national or international, at the same rate, which is lower than that of standard landlines. What’s more: you pay per phone on a monthly basis, maximising flexibility.

Internet phone systems can be coordinated with your mobile. You can program your VoIP system remotely via Cisco Call Manager, a cloud-based software which gives you control over all incoming and outgoing calls. Through Call Manager, you can make sure that missed calls go straight to your mobile device, or any other phone connected to the internet, when you’re on the move.

As many freelancers work out-of-office (whether that be outside or inside the home), they also need maximum flexibility with their contact number. By using a virtual non-geographic number, VoIP systems can be taken anywhere, even abroad, at no extra cost. Keeping the same number is especially important for establishing and maintaining business relationships when on the move.

Internet phone systems provide professional features which set freelancers apart from the rest. Customised on-hold music and voicemail services make a big difference when competing with larger firms. Call routing allows incoming calls to be organised via separate numbers to the same phone. This means that customers and partners can call according to need, and their calls will be organised and displayed clearly for the freelancer to respond to.

The potentials of VoIP telephony for the future of freelancing are obvious. Self-employed entrepreneurs need professional features to maintain a credible image. For bloggers and journalists, a clear and efficient communications system which saves important contacts and voicemail messages, coordinates with their mobile, and allows complete freedom of movement is essential.

As work changes, so should our communications. VoIP telephony harnesses the same powers of the internet which have revolutionised every other aspect of our working lives. The UK is home to over 3 million VoIP users already, and the industry is growing. No wonder, then, that more individuals are harnessing its power to take control of their own work lives.

GRiP Communications is a UK based VoIP Service provider providing high quality affordable business telephone systems to organisations with one phone or many. All you need is an internet connection.

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