Time for a conference call

It’s hard not to be aware of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, which started in Glasgow on 31 October 2021. And it’s hard not to overlook its importance. As Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate, commented: “COP26 needs to be decisive. Whether future generations look back at this time with admiration or despair, depends entirely on our ability to seize this moment.”

The event headlines may be taken by global leaders but underpinning the event is a UN High Level Champions’ campaign which calls on businesses, cities, and others to build a healthy, resilient, zero carbon economy. Admittedly our ability to reach climate change targets will partly depend on infrastructure changes at national and international level. But, as so many news headlines and commentaries have indicated in recent weeks, success will also require individuals and businesses to take their own steps to reduce carbon emissions.

Some of those steps can seem small but can still make a difference. Let’s start by looking at one aspect of business practice which came into prominence during the covid lockdown; using conference calling instead of face to face meetings. Even though people have started to return to the office, conference calling still has a part to play. Whether businesses are drawing together employees from different business sites or reaching outwards to connect with clients or suppliers; each time a conference call takes the place of a face-to-face meeting there is a potential for carbon reduction.

For smaller meetings, businesses may decide that a public access conference call is sufficient. Available for up to fifty participants, public access conference calls are accessed by PIN; with the cost of the call being billed to each participant in accordance with their own telephone package.

Private access conference calls can accommodate up to 500 callers. Here, businesses have a wider choice of phone numbers for participants to call depending on attendee mix. For example, businesses could allocate an international number to overseas participants whilst also allocating a UK regional number for more local attendees. Private access conference calls also come with a suite of features which can be controlled via a web-based management system.

Another option for businesses which have enabled their people to continue to work from home on a full or part time basis is to offer an internet calling (VoIP) package. VoIP to VoIP calls over the same system are free of charge. Set up all of your people on the same VoIP system and they will be able to make multiple calls within the business without cost. This not only helps them to work from elsewhere and yet stay in touch with the business, a VoIP call facility may also enable more home working without the need for people to feel they have to commute in order to interact.

For businesses which rely on customer footfall, another simple option might be the instigation of a customer information line. Providing information such as opening hours, prices or details of special events; information lines could help customers to plan their journeys, thereby avoiding unnecessary travel.

Steps such as those outlined above may seem trivial but every journey begins with a small step; and, to quote from a COP26 associated campaign (Count us in),those small steps can add up to something bigger.

Written by Alison