Natural History Museum Unveils Teleworking Ambitions with Mitel

Mitel says that London’s Natural History Museum will be offering its staff the opportunity to work flexibly from home and on the road. Proposed, specified and implemented by Mitel Platinum Solution Provider, Universal, the Mitel teleworker solution has been initially rolled out to a select group of power users who are trialling the system.

With 2,500 staff, many of whom stay late to deal with museums in different time zones or travel frequently for research purposes, the Natural History Museum expects demand for teleworking to be high. Teleworkers will have a single number wherever they are, avoiding the need to divulge their home phone numbers. It also increases their availability and provides the flexibility to work from any of the museums three offices, at home or on the road with the same functionality.

Bob Estcourt, group telecoms manager at South Kensington Museums, said: “The Mitel teleworker solution is being rolled out in a bid to reduce costs and improve the work-life balance of our staff. With teleworkers using the IP network instead of mobile phones at home we will make significant cost savings. We intend to advertise teleworking as a service to the business and anticipate at least 50 employees using it in the first year.”

South Kensington Museums group, which incorporates the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, has undergone a significant technology refresh in the last six months. It is migrating from traditional Mitel PBX telephone systems to a robust Mitel IP communications network, which started last year.

Following the success of this migration the museums group is now taking advantage of the new functionality that having an IP infrastructure offers, including flexible working, hot desking and working from home.

Graham Bevington, managing director of Mitel UK, said: “Natural History Museum has proved to be more innovative and forward thinking than many UK enterprises with its strategy to offer teleworking. As a public institution the more lean and efficient its operations, the more it can invest in offering better services to its visitors. Moving to IP communications and taking advantage of new applications, such as teleworking, will make a huge difference in generating cost savings for the museums group. Also in an event of a disaster the business can continue to operate with staff working at home.”

Recent research by Mitel revealed that many UK organisations are reluctant to offer teleworking, with 42% of respondents commenting that they did not trust employees to work beyond the office. Natural History Museum has taken the view that if it gets the job done, saves costs and improves the working conditions for its employees then teleworking makes perfect sense.

The IP backbone that underlies the system is made up of three Mitel 3300 IP Communication Platform (ICPs), Mitel Enterprise Manager and dual port IP phones. Following the trial, adding new teleworker users will simply be a matter of adding new licenses and providing an IP phone that can access the network over broadband.

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