You probably started your business in one small space. Gradually, all of your hard work paid off, and the business grew. Now you have more employees and more than one location. You may also have employees working from home, as well as nomads who rarely come to the main location. Trouble is, many small businesses like yours struggle with integrating multiple locations and remote workers because they rely on old-school phone systems that were designed to work within four walls.

86 percent of small businesses are considering cloud-based communications.

The good news: Cloud solutions have matured to the point that even major multi-national corporations are rapidly adopting this approach. And small businesses are not far behind. In fact, according to a major 2016 survey, 86 percent of small businesses are considering cloud-based communications.

The cloud connects workers wherever they are—at multiple locations, home offices, or on the road.

Conventional phone systems have serious limitations when your workers are not all located in the same building. For example, they don’t allow you to direct-dial or transfer calls to outside landlines or to employees’ mobile phones. To stay in touch, workers need to give customers their home or mobile numbers. And if a call comes in to the office for that person, someone needs to take a message and ask the home office or mobile worker to return the call.

With an advanced cloud phone system like RingCentral Office®, remote workers can have an IP phone on their desk at home. Better still, to get set up, the home office worker simply plugs the phone in to an Ethernet jack, and it’s ready to go, including a business number and full access to the company directory and voicemail. The free RingCentral mobile app also turns your mobile workers’ smartphones into full-featured business phones, including access to voicemail and all the other features of your business phone system. Mobile users also make and receive calls using your business number—not their personal cell numbers.

To the outside world it looks as if all of your home employees are in the main office. Plus, the same approach also lets you quickly set up satellite offices. This unique ability to serve and connect multiple locations via a single, cloud-based PBX revolutionizes communications for a broad range of industries and business types, such as:

1) Real estate businesses can unify a number of small offices while providing customers with a single number for office phone and fax. With the RingCentral mobile app on agents’ smartphones and tablets, customers can call the office number and reach them on at an open house, for example.

2) Technology companies can accommodate rapid growth or expand into markets where they can access scarce talent. The cloud is also uniquely capable of supporting mobility, and many tech firms now view mobile workers as “locations.”

3) Construction companies can quickly start up temporary locations and seamlessly integrate site workers with the larger enterprise. This includes delivering critical features such as integrated faxing and conferencing.

4) Consulting firms can set up virtual extensions of the firm at client locations while maintaining a unified business identity for their consultants. They can also bring clients and specialists in distant locations together for high-quality video conferencing.

5) Distributed businesses as such dental clinics with multiple offices—which typically have only a handful employees in each location—can cost-effectively provide those employees with the power of a complete business phone system.

As you can see, the cloud allows all types of businesses to be in two places at once. At the same time, it allows your small business to project a bigger, more professional image. All calls can come in to a single business number and reach your workers anywhere. Your people who are working on the road, at home, or in branch or satellite offices also communicate with customers using your business number. So if you need a phone system that can scale and handle the growth of a distributed workforce, maybe it’s time to check out the cloud.