Managing common area phones in Zoom

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2022

Unassigned desk phones are common area phones that can be used by anyone in the facility without any restrictions. Any supported device can be added to a web portal by the account owner or administrator and can be provisioned to function as a common area phone within the account. The ability to allow users to sign in and out of a common area phone can also be enabled, allowing them to use the phone in and out of the common area.

Some examples of situations in which a common area phone can be used are as follows:

  • It is possible to set up a common area phone and enable hot desking in your office if you have a shared desk that does not belong to a specific employee. Therefore, any employee can use the shared desk at any time.
  • A common area phone can be used by visitors to contact an employee if your office reception area is unattended.
  • It is possible to set up a common area phone in a warehouse or office, so that any phone user can use it, if needed, if there are pagers or intercoms required.
  • There is an option for you to add phones as delegates if you have an employee who oversees the phones in the common areas. In this way, the common area phone will be able to make and receive calls on behalf of the phone user on behalf of the common area phone.

Note:

 There are now common area phones available in the users & rooms page of the Zoom website if you have a Zoom account that was created after May 21, 2022, or if you have enabled the New Common Area Experience in your Zoom account.

Prerequisites for managing common area phones

  • There are four types of accounts: Pro, Business, Education, and Enterprise
  • Permissions as an account owner or administrator
  • License for Zoom Phone
  • Devices that are certified

Note: You should review the provisioning process before you add a common area phone to the Zoom web portal so that you are aware of the steps involved.

Limitations of common area phones

The following features are not supported by common area phones:

  • Inbox for voicemails
  • Recordings can be done ad hoc or automatically
  • Business hours, closed hours, or holiday hours can be used as a basis for setting up call handling rules
  • Monitoring of calls
  • It is possible to customize the hold music (the default hold music is used on common area phones)
  • A blocked list that can be customized (common area phones use the blocked list that is stored at the account level)

Consider using one of these workarounds in case you are in need of one of these features:

  • The desk phone can be assigned to a user by adding that user as a phone user. If you want other phone users to be able to sign in to the device, you can still enable hot desking.
  • It is possible to forward a call to a call queue, auto receptionist, or a shared line group by using the Call Handling settings on the common area phone.
    Note: This workaround should not be used if you need nomadic emergency service in the event of an emergency.

How to add a common area desk phone

Adding a desk phone that anyone can use by following these steps is the best way to do so. As well as batch adding several common area phones at the same time, you can also add them one at a time.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal by entering your email address and password.
  2. Click on Phone System Management in the navigation menu and then click on Users & Rooms in the drop-down menu.
  3. To access the Common Area Phones, click the tab at the top of the page.
    Note: There is a new Common Area tab on the Users & Rooms page of your zoom account if you have recently signed up for a Zoom account or your account has been enabled for the New Common Area Experience. If you have recently signed up for a Zoom account or if the New Common Area Experience is enabled on your account.
  4. Enter the following information in the Add field:
    • Site (only visible if you have multiple sites): The common area phone should belong to the site to which you want it to belong.
    • Display Name: Please enter a display name for the common area phone so that it can be identified easily.
    • Description (Optional): For the purpose of identifying the phone in the common area, you may want to enter a description.
    • Extension Number: A number to be assigned to the extension must be entered here.
    • Emergency Address (only visible if you don’t have multiple sites): The common phone should be assigned an emergency address so that it can be contacted in an emergency. This phone will be assigned the emergency address of the site if it was selected as the site for the common area phone.
    • Package: You will need to assign a package for outbound calls.
    • Country/Region: If the phone has an emergency address in a different country, select that country. As a result of the country, the extension numbers that are reserved for this phone can’t be used by you.
    • Time Zone: You can choose a time zone to display the time on the common area phone by selecting a time zone.
    • MAC Address: The desk phone’s 12-digit MAC address should be entered here.
    • Device Type: The drop-down menus will allow you to choose the brand and model number that you are looking for.
    • Provision Template (Optional) – Only visible if the specified device is capable of supporting provision templates: For custom settings to be applied to the phone, you will need to select a provision template.
  5. Then click on the Save button.
  6. Provisioning needs to be completed in order for it to be effective.
  7. The next step is to assign a direct number to the common area phone (optional) by following the steps listed below.

You can change the settings of a common area phone after you have added it.

How to convert an unassigned desk phone to a common area phone

Without having to re-provision the desk phone, you are able to convert a provisioned, unassigned desk phone into a common area phone in a matter of seconds.

Note: There should be no problem unbinding the desk phone if it is currently assigned to the phone user by editing its settings.

  1. To access the Zoom web portal, you will need to sign in.
  2. You can find the phone system management option in the navigation menu, followed by the Users & Rooms option.
  3. Click on the Unassigned tab at the top of the page.
  4. Select the phone that you would like to convert by clicking on its display name.
  5. In order to create a common area phone, click on Set up as a common area phone.
  6. In order to add a common area phone, you need to provide the same information as you would when adding a local phone.
  7. Then click on the Save button.
    In the Common Area Phones section, you will be able to see the desk phone. In order to complete the conversion, it may be necessary to reboot the desk phone several times.
    Note: To bring the common area phone back online, you will need to reboot the device if it is currently offline.

How to convert a common area phone to an unassigned desk phone

Without having to re-provision the phone, you can convert a common area phone into a desk phone that is unassigned.

  1. Log in to the Zoom web portal by entering your email address and password.
  2. Click on Phone System Management in the navigation menu, then click on Users & Rooms in the drop-down menu.
  3. Select the Common Area Phones tab on the left side of the screen.
    Note: You will find that the common area phones have been relocated to the new Common Area tab on the Users & Rooms page if you opted for the New Common Area Experience when you set up your Zoom account after May 21, 2022.
  4. When you have selected the phone that you wish to convert, simply click on its display name.
  5. The Unassign button can be found at the bottom of the page.
    As soon as you click on the “Unassigned” tab, the phone will appear there. In order for the conversion to be successful, the desk phone may need to be rebooted several times.
  6. Choosing a phone user for the desk phone is an optional step.

How to add a common area phone to a call queue

The common area phone can be added to a call queue in order to be part of the queue.

  1. To access the Zoom web portal, you will need to sign in to the account.
  2. Click on Phone System Management in the navigation menu and then click on Call Queues in the submenu.
  3. To add the phone to a call queue, simply click on the name of the queue that you wish to add the phone to.
  4. Click View or Edit in the Member(s) section of the page.
  5. Click on the Add button.
  6. The Common Area Phone tab can be found by clicking on it.
  7. Make sure that the common area phone is selected and click the OK button.

How to add a common area phone to an auto receptionist

During an auto receptionist‘s business hours or when the auto receptionist is closed, you can route to a common area phone.

  1. You will need to sign in to the Zoom web portal in order to access the service.
  2. You can access the Auto Receptionist configuration under the Phone System Management section in the navigation.
  3. To add the phone to an auto receptionist, click on the name of the receptionist that you wish to add the phone to.
  4. You can edit your route by clicking Edit next to the Route to section in the section for Business Hours or Closed Hours.
  5. Firstly, select Common Area Phone, then type the name of the telephone and finally, select the phone to use.
  6. Then click on the OK button.

How to add a common area phone to an IVR

The callers can select an option from the IVR menu to route their calls to a common area phone, if you have an IVR system in place.

  1. To access the Zoom web portal, you will need to sign in.
  2. To access the auto receptionists, click the Phone System Management link in the navigation bar.
  3. Choose the auto receptionist which has an IVR that you would like to add the phone to, by clicking the name of the bot.
    Note: In the case that the auto receptionist doesn’t have an IVR, you will need to set one up.
  4. The next step is to click on Edit under Interactive Voice Response (IVR) under the Business Hours or Closed Hours section.
  5. You can edit one of the keys by clicking on the Edit button next to it.
  6. To forward a call to a common area phone, select the Forward button.
  7. When you have finished, click on the OK button.