Backed by Y Combinator - Summer 2022
Coming soon to Europe & Brazil Sign up for early access

Category: Hybrid Working

How you can leverage technology to reduce pressure on customer support teams

  |   By  |  0 Comments

 

The demand for customer support has increased greatly over the years, putting pressure on companies to meet consumer demands. However, many businesses struggle to keep up due to lack of resources and evolving landscapes for customer support teams. 

In a survey carried out by Intercom [1], it was found that the top challenges faced by customer support teams are:

  1. Poor workflow efficiency
  2. Attracting and retaining quality staff
  3. Inefficient handling of customer queries

Support teams can leverage technological advances to optimise their way of working in order to adapt to growing demands. Here are a few ways you could utilise tech to alleviate the pressures your customer support teams face:

 

        1. Use a phone system that supports remote work 

Customer support teams have reduced in size due to the pandemic resulting in increased pressure on staff. Team leads have also faced difficulties attracting and retaining staff due to large scale burnout. 

To overcome this and adapt to the changing landscapes of work, support team leads should look into investing in phone systems that support remote working like Devyce. 

With the Teams Plan on Devyce, you can provide your employees with two numbers on their phones allowing them to work from anywhere meaning employees can prioritise their wellbeing. This will also enable hiring of talent remotely – an attraction point in hiring which could lead to increased retention of staff. 

 

        2. Use a phone system that facilitates call groups and forwarding

Customer expectations have grown and only 24% of support teams surveyed stated they were confident they could meet them [1]. Often customer queries can’t be answered by the first person they get in contact with. The biggest challenge here is transferring calls to the right person on the team in a timely manner.  

To improve the efficiency of your customer support service, look out for phone systems with features to aid your customer’s journey. For example, on Devyce’s Teams Plan you are able to set up an auto attendant which filters inbound calls to the relevant call groups, streamlining the workflow and minimising wait and transfer times. 

        3. Utilise CRM and analytic software with your phone system

Poor workflow management is a key reason for staff burn out. To optimise, team leads need to regularly revise operations by setting up and tracking call metrics. This is hard to do on traditional phone systems so companies should explore newer phone systems. At Devyce, we offer a Teams Management Portal – a platform to view call analytics, allowing optimisation of workflow to meet goals. 

The Teams Plan also offers integrations with CRM softwares like Hubspot so you can manage your customer’s journeys. Creating an integrated tech stack improves workflow efficiency as it reduces the need for switching between softwares and ensures all team members can quickly access relevant data to handle customer queries. 

 

Leveraging tech to optimise your support service strategy is the key difference between companies that exceed customer expectations and those that fall behind due to not having the infrastructure to handle the growing demands. Help your team flourish today by embracing innovative advances in technology with Devyce. 

 

References:

[1] https://www.intercom.com/resources/books/customer-support-trends-emea-2022

 

10 Reasons Why Customers Choose Devyce

  |   By  |  0 Comments

 

What are the reasons our customers choose Devyce you ask? 

Here are the top ten reasons why our happy customers chose us and what you could benefit from by switching to Devyce for your small business:

  • Improve efficiency

We know the feelings. Carrying around two phones can get frustrating. Then getting confused which phone to use for a call and accidentally using your personal phone to call a client. Also feeling irritated from having to switch between Apple and Android systems if your work phone is not a system you are particularly used to. So inefficient right?

Devyce solves this problem by providing you two numbers on your phone. 

Your Devyce phone number is stored in the cloud and phone calls/texts are sent over the internet instead of traditional phone lines which means you can have an additional operating number on your phone.

  • Save money with affordable pricing

We help our customers cut down on a costly business expense by removing the need for a work phone. With Devyce, you don’t need to sign up for expensive handsets and contracts for your employees as they can bring their own device. 

Our pricing plans (hyperlink to price page) are simple, affordable and transparent. No hidden fees, no lengthy contracts that are hard to get out of and an easy sign-up process. Within minutes you’d have an operating UK number ready. Save time and money for your business so you can focus on the more important things. 

  • Improve Sustainability

While saving money and time for your business, why not contribute to saving the planet as well? Deloitte global predicts that around 146 million tonnes of CO2 or equivalent emissions will be generated from smartphones in 2022 and 83% of these emissions comes from the manufacturing, shipping and first year usage [1]. 

It’s estimated that 910kg of CO2 is generated per employee working in offices each year [2] and the use of a work phone contributes to this figure. Using Devyce decreases your yearly in office carbon footprint, helping to promote more sustainable practices within SMEs.

  • Fast and reliable

Our customers are always able to receive those essential business calls wherever they are. 

Devyce works by facilitating calls and texts over the internet. This means all you need is a strong internet connection either over wifi or 4G/5G. 

Advancements in internet access technology means staying connected wherever you are, has become increasingly easy. You’ll rarely have to worry about downtime which can happen more often with traditional phone line services. Never miss business calls again with Devyce. 

  • Improve work life balance

It can be difficult to switch off from the workday when your work phone is still pinging or maybe even still getting calls. Many people find it hard to resist looking at their work phone out of work hours “just in case” there is something important that has popped up. From there it can be easy to fall into the rabbit hole of responding to work notifications well past business hours. 

Devyce have helped our customers improve their work life balance with a single button. We have a handy ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature where you can set the business hours after which you won’t receive notifications. 

  • Work from anywhere 

Take your Devyce anywhere… and we mean, anywhere in the world. Over 50% of our customers currently use Devyce abroad. Whether you are travelling for business or working remotely abroad, you can keep your UK phone number operating from there while also saving your business money on roaming costs. 

If you have a phone number attached to your business that you’d like to keep using while abroad, you can easily port your number to us (if you need help with this, contact us here: https://devyce.com/contact-us/). All of this means you can facilitate remote working for your business and even hire globally, further saving you money from lack of need for office space. 

  • Easily manage your teams

It can be tricky to stay on top of your team’s client call activity with a remote or hybrid based working model. For rapidly growing businesses, you might also struggle with managing a fast-growing team. Devyce makes this easier by providing team leaders with access to a Team’s Management Portal on our Teams Plan (hyperlink to pricing page)

From the portal you can quickly allocate/de-allocate numbers and create call forwarding pathways or groups within your team. This means you can easily keep numbers operating while an employee is away and quickly route client calls to the right person, allowing you to create a seamless customer service experience for your business. 

  • Monitor the performance of your calls

Get access to a variety of key metrics like in/outbound call durations to monitor your performance as well as analysis tools. These can be easily navigated on the Team’s Management Portal and allows you to keep track of how well your business calls are performing, optimise your calls to drive KPIs and achieve those all-important business goals. 

  • Streamline your customer relationship management

Ensure that all your customers are taken care of by integrating a CRM platform like Hubspot with the Devyce Team’s Management Portal. This allows you to stay on top of individual customer queries and makes sure you never miss business calls. It also allows your team to have access to customer query logs so that any member of your team can quickly provide help. Streamlining your customer support flow is crucial to any growing business and Devyce helps you take that extra step for your customers. 

  • Flexible scalability

Whether you are growing or taking a step back before the next stage in your business, you can easily activate/deactivate numbers on your network to grow (or downsize) your Teams Plan. Our affordable price point also makes it easy for you to scale the usage to your businesses’ needs whether you are just starting out or already a medium sized enterprise, Devyce is flexible. 

To quote The Sound of Music: 🎵These are a few of (ours & our customers’) favourite things about Devyce. Our customers have thrived from using Devyce and we’re pretty sure your business will benefit too 😉 

If these 10 reasons aren’t quite enough to convince you yet and would prefer to see Devyce in action before you commit, that’s no problem! It’s super easy to book a demo with us here https://devyce.com/demo/ 

 

References:

[1] https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/insights/industry/technology/technology-media-and-telecom-predictions/2022/environmental-impact-smartphones.html

[2] https://observablehq.com/@mrchrisadams/how-do-i-work-out-the-carbon-footprint-of-providing-space-to-w

5 ways Devyce will improve your Real Estate Business

   |   By  |  0 Comments

  1. Improve your mobility
    Tell us we’re wrong but, estate agents are always on the go. Devyce allows you to call from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Additionally, realtors are finding SMS useful when on the go to communicate with clients, with nearly 93% communicating through text [1]. By using our app, you can message your clients, as well as phone them! 

    We can also improve your geographical presence, as you can select a phone number from a specific area, meaning you can create a local presence!

  2.  Secure and protect your personal and client data
    Devyce will protect your personal number, by providing you with a business number, meaning your personal details aren’t exposed. Whilst also protecting your client data, as data is handled in line with GDPR and messages are encrypted between the app and the carrier.

  3. Improve your Customer Experience
    Building good relationships with buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords is a critical component of being an Estate Agent. Devyce can enhance your customer experience, by allowing you to hear other team members voicemails and forward any calls, meaning no calls are missed whilst making it easy for others to pick up where someone else left off. The auto attendant feature filters calls and delivers them to the correct destination in the business. Creating a seamless and consistent customer experience. 

    Easily integrate with Hubspot, and import your CRM’s contacts, so you can pull up your client information easily. See who’s calling and prevent prospects slipping through the cracks!

  4. Reduce your costs.
    Devyce can help you reduce your calling costs! No set up fees, no hidden fees and no contracts!

  5. Track sales and monitor performance
    We track calling analytics, including the proportion of unanswered calls, call duration, and call recording. This way agents are able to find the optimum time to reach clients. Whilst also providing valuable insights into how you can improve your calling techniques, for the future. Better calls, more leads! 


    References:
    [1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/12/17/implement-business-text-messaging-to-draw-more-local-customers/?sh=2b69c5be731a

5 Unexpected ways businesses could be more sustainable

   |   By  |  0 Comments

Small businesses have a greater impact on the environment than you might imagine.

Sustainability is an increasingly important aspect for businesses of any size to consider as the environmentally led decisions owners make can be a deciding factor for consumers.

Consumer wallets are becoming increasingly green with 1 in 3 consumers stating they’d prefer eco-friendly product options in a survey. Over 35% of these respondents revealed they would buy an environmentally friendly product over a cheaper option [1].

Not only will adopting sustainable practices in your business benefit our planet, the figures show eco-consciousness is key to staying competitive in the market.

Take a look at some of these unexpected ways you could make your business more sustainable:

 

1. Eliminate the work phone
Smartphones are small devices with a surprisingly mighty impact on the environment.
Its life cycle impacts the environment greatly – with 80% of the carbon footprint coming from the manufacturing process [2]. Greenhouse emissions from smartphone manufacturing are forecasted to be 146 million tonnes of CO2 in 2022 [3].

62.3 million people in the UK used smartphones [2] and approximately 32.7 million people in the UK were employed [4] in 2021. Potentially 32.7 working adults use a second phone at work meaning doubled impact of using smartphones on the environment.
Eliminating the use of a “work phone” can reduce the environmental impact your business has. A sustainable alternative to consider is Devyce.

The innovative VoIP service provides your employees with a second work phone number on their phone with a great do not disturb feature that enables seamless transition between work and personal life. It also includes a team management portal allowing business owners to keep track of employees’ calls.

Getting Devyce for your business is not only sustainable but also a cost effective measure!

 

2. Sustainable storage
Storage of products is an often overlooked aspect of small business sustainability.

Some storage considerations for your business are:

  • Ensure electrical appliances eg. freezers, have green energy ratings
  • Opt for eco-friendly facilities eg. warehouses making use of solar panels
  • Reducing usage of pollutive plastic containers
  • Track inventory and reduce your storage need ie. consider donating or recycling items you no longer use

3. Limit paper usage
It’s a common misconception that paper doesn’t negatively impact the environment due to its biodegradable nature. In fact, paper can remain legible and intact for decades with 75% of our paper entering waste streams [5].

The average UK employee uses up to 10000 sheets of paper in the workplace each year – most people in the UK use up to 4.5 trees worth of paper each year. That’s a whole lot of trees!

Work towards:

  • Digitising processes where possible (also reduces your storage space!)
  • Using sustainably sourced recycled paper
  • Repurposing paper waste
  • Offsetting environmental impact through charity programs eg. replant trees

4. Switch to green web hosting services
Believe it or not, running a website also impacts the environment. The servers hosting your website and data centers are constantly running, using vast amounts of energy.

Some things to consider to decrease the environmental impact of your website:

  • Opt for host platforms using renewable energy sources
  • Offset your internet carbon footprint through sustainability schemes

5. Make your physical spaces greener
Whether you have an office or physical stores, there are many measures you can take to be more eco-friendly:

  • Choose spaces with plenty of natural lighting to reduce energy usage
  • Reduce single-use items eg. paper coffee cups
  • Improve air quality by bringing plants into your spaces
  • Switch to LED lighting
  • Limit cooling/heating of the space
  • Encourage composting of waste
  • Use green cleaning products/services
  • Incentivise eco-friendly commuting from staff

Making even a few of these changes to your small business can have a great impact on helping your business grow towards a more sustainable future.
Which of these changes will you be making for your small business? Head to our socials to share your business’ sustainability journey!

References:
[1] https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/more-consumers-are-opening-their-wallets-for-eco-friendly-products/

[2] https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/environment/the-hidden-environmental-toll-of-smartphones/#:~:text=Smartphones%20generate%20more%20greenhouse%20gases,the%20energy%20sector%20and%20transportation

[3] https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/insights/industry/technology/technology-media-and-telecom-predictions/2022/environmental-impact-smartphones.html

[4] https://www.statista.com/statistics/281998/employment-figures-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/

[5] https://www.lancashirebusinessview.co.uk/latest-news-and-features/why-do-we-still-use-paper-in-2021

How the pandemic affected work communications and how to navigate the new ways of communication

   |   By  |  0 Comments

 

When we were hit with the pandemic in 2020, almost everyone had to adopt remote working. Now as we ease back into living post pandemic, fundamental changes have happened to our ways of living – one of the most prominently affected being work communications. 

Navigating the new ways of communication can be hard so here are some ways you can overcome these challenges:

 

More digital communication = changing how we communicate face to face 

 

Companies quickly utilised digital communication tools like Zoom or Teams to facilitate video conferencing alongside various other softwares. Even now as we return to offices, digital communication is the new norm for many people. 

 

46% of workers found it more challenging to communicate with one another as a result of the pandemic [1]. 

 

Digital communication tools have blurred communication boundaries and taken the “human” aspect out, impacting how we interact with one another. To overcome this you could:

  • Ensure phone calls with clients are quickly handled and directed to the right people within the company by using an integrated phone system like Devyce. 

Teams Plan – Devyce

  • Create clear communication guidelines for video conferencing eg. blurred background customary 
  • Be considerate of time zone differences when setting up meetings 

 

Less face to face interaction = feeling less connected 

Many companies have adopted a hybrid working model and remote working is still widely practised. With 45% of professionals noting they see their colleagues less than pre-pandemic, it comes as no surprise that many find it hard to stay connected. 

To help employees combat this, companies can:

  • Provide incentives for employees to come into office regularly eg. bring your pet to work day
  • Create comfortable working environments that they’d enjoy coming in to eg. create a dedicated area for short breaks 
  • Set up regular external team events to encourage team building 
  • Create welcoming onboarding experiences for new hires to seamlessly integrate them into teams

 

Colleagues are sharing less personal information with each other

We don’t always want to know what our colleague had for dinner last night, however it can be healthy for colleagues to have open dialogue on topics like mental health. 14.7% of people experience mental health problems in the workplace [2] and many do not reach out for help. 

Helping employees feel more able to talk to each other about workplace wellbeing helps to create a sense of community and improve team engagement. To do this you can:

  • Encourage open dialogue at the workplace about mental health
  • Create a safe environment for employees to talk to one another eg. have a designated space they can go to for privacy
  • Ensure you regularly check in with colleagues about their workplace wellbeing 
  • Invest in education for employees eg. seminars on diversity and inclusion, mental health etc

 

With the abundance of digital communications tools at hand, workplace communications have become more complex – requiring continual development of new working models. 

 

We can help you better navigate this! – Head over to our socials to find out more 

 

References:

[1] https://www.grammarly.com/blog/pandemic-work-communication-trends/

[2] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/mental-health-work-statistics

How To Keep Your Work and Personal Life Separate

   |   By  |  0 Comments

Maintaining a work life balance can prevent burnout and increase productivity, but learning to hit the do not disturb button, literally and figuratively, is harder than you think. Keep your work and personal life separate when remote working with these simple tips. 

Work life balance

Maintaining a work life balance is key in reducing stress and preventing burnout; a state of mental and physical tiredness.

It’d be great if separation between work and home was easy, but in reality mobile phones and social media blur the boundaries between professional and personal. It is hard to switch off from work to personal when your colleagues follow you on Instagram, you get calls from family during work hours or your work ‘bestie’ invites you out to drinks on a Friday night. How do you make this separation to allow you to switch off from work and avoid burnout? How do you press pause until your next working day? 

Why Press Pause?

The ability to press pause at work is essential in maintaining a healthy work life balance and avoiding stress and burnout. 

Pressing pause and taking time out for yourself can help you not only enjoy both parts of your life, work and personal, but also increase your productivity. The Sun reported that 8 out of 10 parents feel they are running on ‘autopilot’ and feel disconnected with their family because of their busy schedules. 

This can apply to working environments as well. Those who are running on autopilot risk burning out and becoming unable to do basic tasks because of stress. 

Setting up strict boundaries between your work and personal life can help decrease stress and make your work and personal life more fulfilling. 

Remote Working

Remote working, made the new normal by the pandemic, has made it harder to separate work and personal than ever. When your home becomes your work space, it seems almost impossible to draw a line between work and play. 

Remote working is new to many of us and so are the challenges that come with it. Adjusting to remote working has not only caused stress, loneliness and lack of productivity for some people, but also caused people to lose the healthy balance between their work and home lives. 

A study done by Buffer, revealed that 22% of remote workers have struggled with switching off after work. Maintaining a healthy work life balance during remote working can take a lot of extra energy; the best way to set up healthy boundaries is to commit to a routine, manage your time and learn to prioritise work or play, when needed. 

It can be hard to commit to work hours when you’re not leaving the office, if you are working remotely, it can be easy to let your job turn into a 24 hour job. In April 2020, Blue Jeans conducted a survey that revealed remote workers spent an extra 3.13 hours a day on the job. Social plans can force you to stop working and start the personal part of your day, in order to help cement the work/home boundary. 

Physical boundaries can also be a good way to highlight mental boundaries between work and home, when working remotely. Create an area or corner of your home that is strictly a ‘working zone’, so that when you are in it, you aren’t focusing on personal things, and when you leave the zone, you are officially clocked out of work. 

Most importantly, set a routine. When working in an office, a routine is effortlessly embedded into your mind; get up at a certain time, travel to work, get into the office, have a coffee and start your day. When working from home, however, it can be hard to wake up and transform into an employee when you don’t have a journey to get you into the mindset. For example, even though you are not leaving your house, still get up at the same time every morning, follow that by an activity you can do every morning, like showering or meditating. When you are ready to enter the work mindset, start your day; you do not need to immediately start working from the moment you wake up just because you are not commuting anymore. 

Using your Work Phone to Press Pause

Communication in these times is extremely important, for remote and hybrid workers connecting with colleagues, clients or customers. 

One major way to switch off and separate work and personal can be to actually physically press pause on work. 

Following routines, setting time boundaries and carving out time for socialising can help separate the line between work and personal but there will always remain some crossover. Finding a comfortable balance between the two may be the answer; separate what you have control over, such as your work and personal phones. 

Many businesses are beginning to rely on mobile phones instead of office phones. Not only is this cost effective for companies, it is also supportive of the remote or hybrid working models. This does not mean that you will have to give out your personal number to customers or clients, however. 

Devyce is a VoIP system which means your number lives in the cloud, so you can have a second number on one phone, without having a SIM or second contract. This is perfect for those who don’t want an office phone but want to keep their personal and work numbers separate. 

Having your work number on your personal phone may sound daunting but actually can help you separate your work and personal life. A work phone can be hard to put down and ignore, but with a work number on your personal phone, there is no physical reminder that the work number is there, or that people are trying to reach you. 

With Devyce, you can customise the Do Not Disturb feature to suit your business hours, for example, people will only be able to call or text your work number during office hours, leaving weeknights and weekends completely work free. 

Advantages of having a work number on your personal phone are endless. Not only is it the simplest and cheapest option, for both employer and employee, it gives personal control and familiarity to the user. Instead of using an unfamiliar work issued phone, you can use your phone as you wish, update it when you want, and have personal control over the settings and changes; unlike with a work phone where there may be limits and boundaries set up.

Communication is also improved when you use a work number on a personal phone, as you will always have it on you. You won’t need to worry about misplacing a second handset, or having to keep track of two phones; your customers will appreciate being able to get in touch with you quickly and easily. 

Discover more about how Devyce can help keep your personal and work lives separate here: https://devyce.com/product/what-is-devyce/

To download Devyce click here: https://devyce.com/pricing/

 

Sources 

https://timemanagementninja.com/2014/02/10-times-you-need-to-press-the-pause-button-in-life/

https://asparker.com/2020/02/do-you-take-the-time-to-push-the-pause-button/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/6206155/how-to-consciously-push-the-pause-button-and-be-more-present-at-work-and-home/

https://www.careercontessa.com/advice/privacy-work-life-balance/

https://www.inc.com/inc-masters/how-to-set-great-work-life-boundaries-as-a-remote-worker.html

https://medium.com/publishous/set-healthy-boundaries-to-get-work-life-balance-cd95abcc414f

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/using-personal-phone-for-work

How Will New Roaming Charges Affect Me?

   |   By  |  0 Comments

Travel after Brexit has never been harder for a Brit. New roaming charges in 2022 are limiting mobile use outside of the UK, affecting holidaymakers, long-term travellers, British expats, digital nomads and those travelling for work. 

 

What Are Roaming Charges?

You may have heard a lot about roaming charges recently, being the latest in fees after Brexit when it comes to travel. You may be wondering what roaming charges are, or why they even exist? 

In short, roaming charges exist to contribute to what mobile providers have to pay to local operators to allow their network to work abroad; 20-25GB usage of roaming data in Europe will cost a UK mobile operator roughly £63, according to Enders Analysis. 

In 2017, the EU introduced the ‘Roam like at Home’ initiative that granted free roaming to all EU citizens, no matter what network you were on. Since Brexit, UK mobile service providers are not subject to this plan, putting customers at risk of having to, once again, pay roaming charges while abroad. Although many UK mobile providers claimed they would not reintroduce roaming fees, they have done just that. 

New roaming charges are bringing an end to five years of worry free roaming from abroad. Different networks are implementing different charges, so it is worth checking with your provider, as you can also be at risk of getting a blocked phone as networks have also introduced fair usage caps. It is difficult to keep an eye on how much roaming data you are using, especially since many phones are using your data without you knowing, for example if your phone automatically saves your data, such as messages and photos, to the cloud. 

 

What Do New Roaming Charges Mean? 

Depending on which network you are with, roaming charges in 2022 can mean different things. 

Roaming charges will activate for most big networks in 2022, charging you to use roaming data, calls and texts. 

Vodafone will begin charging for roaming in January 2022, EE will follow in March and Three have already begun charging roaming fees, as of September 2021. 

Although O2 was among the networks who announced they would reintroduce roaming fees, they have since announced that they will not. However, O2 customers will still be subject to fair usage limits and also a limited availability of data they can use while abroad. 

 

How Will Roaming Charges Affect Me? 

As a Three customer, you will be subject to a payment of £2 a day to use calls, texts and data from Europe. Outside of Europe, in many countries you will be charged £5 a day, when it was previously free.  

If you are with EE or Vodafone, you will also be charged £2 to use roaming data, calls and texts in Europe. 

Fair usage policies enable networks to monitor and limit the amount of time you can spend using your phone when outside the UK. Going over the limit can result in your phone being blocked or extra charges. If you are on a local mobile network in Europe, you will be subject to fair usage policies in the UK. 

EE’s fair usage limit is 50GB and, if reached, you will be charged an extra £3.60 per 10MB. 

O2 have introduced a 25GB fair usage limit followed by a charge of £3.50 per GB, if reached. Vodafone have also limited usage to 25GB, but will charge an extra £3.13 per GB if reached. 

Three have cut their fair usage limit from 20GB to 12GB a month, and a charge of £3 per GB beyond that. 

If you are living, working or travelling abroad for long periods of time, it is very likely that you will have to pay extra fees on top of roaming charges in order to use your phone without limits. Whichever UK mobile network you are with, the charges are likely to cost you up to £45/€50 a month to use your phone abroad. 

Whichever mobile network you are on, new roaming charges will affect you when travelling outside of the UK. It is also important to be aware of how the changes can affect you depending on what type of travel you are doing. 

Expats

Deciding to relocate abroad is as complicated as it is exciting. Becoming a British expat can depend on changing visa requirements among other things, and now roaming charges have been added to the list. 

Having a stable connection to the UK is essential for many expats, whether it is to stay in touch with friends and family or for work calls. The risk of getting cut off is too great if you stay with a UK mobile network. 

Nigel Ayres, founder of The Expat Network and an expat himself, was concerned about the possibility of disconnection, as he told the Express, “We wanted to retain our UK number but we get increasing charges due to Brexit and their ‘fair use’ policy on calls from Spain”. Ayres turned to Xpatfone, powered by Devyce, a virtual number built specifically for the needs of British expats, adding, “Xpatfone… allows me to keep my UK number, receive text and verification codes from banks etc via an App on my phone” 

Digital Nomads

Another group of travellers that will be hit by roaming charges are digital nomads. VoIP systems are the best bet for digital nomads, as they do not require any extra payments to ensure they work as you hop from place to place. For digital nomads, WIFI or data connection is essential, for work and to navigate their home for the month. 

Travelling as a digital nomad, it is likely your UK mobile service provider will cause you issues, alongside roaming charges and usage limits, as they do not support long-term travellers. Porting your number to Devyce is the best way to avoid extra charges and keep your phone working wherever you are in the world. 

Long-Term Travellers 

Similarly to digital nomads, gap year adventurers, solo tourists and working explorers will rely on WIFI or data connection to connect with others, plan their further travel and learn about the places they land. 

Mobile providers that are reintroducing roaming charges will not support customers who are regularly moving to different locations around the world. Travelling outside of periodic travel, you are more likely to be charged for using roaming data and subject to fair usage limits. Service providers have different rules and charges depending on which country you are in, which can be a pain to check and stay on top of when you are travelling. 

A virtual number allows you to use your phone no matter where you are in the world, even if you just need a number in case of emergencies, it is worth having a number that you can rely on, not at risk of disconnecting or charging you extortionate amounts.

Work Travellers 

The pandemic has greatly affected the way we live and work. Those who used to travel regularly for work have since gone remote or adopted a hybrid model of working, half at home, half in the office. 

Business travel expenses have decreased hugely due to coronavirus, however 2022 brings us new hope of a world without restrictions again, slowly reopening business travel to those in situations where it is essential to travel for work. Most businesses’ would have issued company work phones to their employees, letting them travel and use their phone without any hassle but new roaming charges have broken this system. Employers will have to pay unreasonable prices on devices used abroad and employees won’t want to have to explain why. 

Having access to the internet on your phone is a total necessity when travelling for work, whether it is to check in with your colleagues in the UK before a meeting, access your work email or keep up to date with the latest travel restrictions. Many businesses are switching to VoIP phone systems for their office, in doing so they avoid roaming charges and can allow their employees to use their work numbers from anywhere in the world. 

Holiday Makers

After two years of restrictions and cancelled holidays, Brits are keen to get out of the UK, to sunbathe on the beach or hit the slopes. 

Overall, those who will be most affected by new roaming charges will be those travelling outside of periodic travel, or those relocating outside of the UK. 

However post-Brexit travel will mean holiday goers will be charged roaming fees in Europe, including popular holiday destinations such as France, Spain and Portugal. Paying £2 for the days you want to use roaming data may not sound like a lot, but fair usage will also stop you from using your phone longer than usual. 

A British holiday maker told The Telegraph how their holiday took a turn for the worst after a skiing accident landed them in the hospital. While in the hospital, although they had ‘unlimited’ data, fair usage limits were hit and they were unable to use their data to reach family and friends to let them know how they were, or to organise travel back home. 

 

Solution 

The best solution for any type of British traveller is to purchase a virtual number. This may sound scary, but is actually a very easy, cheap and simple solution. 

A virtual number is a VoIP solution, Voice over Internet Protocol, which works by sending your calls and texts over the internet instead of traditional telephone lines; just as apps like WhatsApp and Viper do. 

Using a virtual number provider, such as Devyce, is ideal for any type of traveller, as there are no roaming charges, no usage limits, no extra fees, and no need for a second phone. 

Devyce charges a fixed monthly fee, starting at £8.99, for unlimited calls, texts and data. Completely cloud based, you don’t have to worry about a physical SIM or contracts. Get 24 hour support via email or phone to help guide you through the porting process, in which you can transfer your UK mobile number, or choose a new one to use, usually completely within 24 hours. This ensures your mobile will work just as it used to. Devyce is compatible with foreign networks, such as Lobster, so if you are an expat with a local SIM, you can still keep your UK number. 

Browse Devyce packages to find the right one for you here: https://devyce.com/pricing/

Port your number here: https://devyce.com/porting/ 

If you are an expat or long term traveller, get ahead of the game and switch now to avoid roaming fees in 2022. Start your journey with Xpatfone, powered by Devyce, and get set up within 24 hours here: 

https://xpatfone.com/pricing-1

Sources

https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2022/01/what-changes-to-mobile-roaming-charges-are-planned-in-2022

https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/why-are-roaming-charges-coming-back-and-why-are-they-so-expensive

https://www.cityam.com/holiday-goers-gear-up-for-roaming-fees-as-ee-and-vodafone-introduce-european-charges/

https://metro.co.uk/2021/06/25/europe-roaming-charges-how-will-they-work-and-what-will-they-cost-14826301/

https://businesscloud.co.uk/opinion/roaming-charge-impact-on-business-travellers-as-borders-reopen/

https://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/1495074/expats-brexit-roaming-phone-charges-eu-spain

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/katie-investigates/hospital-vodafone-going-cut-data/https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45064268

How VoIP Systems Work And How It Will Improve Your Small Business

  |   By  |  0 Comments

In an ever increasing digital world, it is key to keep your business up to date with the latest digital trends. VoIP phone systems are quickly becoming the new favourite for businesses; read more to learn what a VoIP system is, how VoIP systems work and which is the best VoIP system for you and your business. 

What is a VoIP system?

VoIP phone systems are the new age landlines. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) does as it says, uses the internet to make and receive calls completely wirelessly. VoIP systems digitise calls and texts and send them through internet lines, rather than ordinary landlines. VoIP has been around for a while, but is becoming more and more popular as it is evolving to be quicker, cheaper and more efficient. Many businesses and households already use VoIP systems for their communications, a seemingly clever move as landlines are slowly becoming obsolete. 

How do VoIP systems work? 

VoIP systems work over the internet, but what does that mean? 

Well, in the simplest of explanations, VoIP systems digitise your voice into online data and send it to your phone provider via the internet, which is then passed on to the receiver. 

VoIP phone systems rely on high speed internet to make and receive communications; this means you can make calls with a VoIP system on a computer, a mobile phone or a VoIP adapter. 

 

Advantages of using a VoIP phone system for small businesses

Small businesses all over the world are switching to VoIP phone systems and seeing great results. In a study conducted by CISCO, it was reported that small businesses who switched to VoIP systems saw a 77% increase in productivity due to the unique features VoIP phone systems offer that landlines do not. 

Features included with VoIP systems include: 

  • Virtual receptionist
  • Call forwarding 
  • Voicemail transcription 
  • Do Not Disturb button 
  • Conference call
  • Call recording 
  • Call logs
  • On-hold music
  • SMS capability 

These features are designed for small businesses to make communication easier, more efficient and streamlined. Whereas landlines only call, because VoIP phone systems are online, there is an unlimited list of features that can be added. 

So, what are the advantages of using a VoIP phone system for your small business?

Cost efficient
Perhaps the best advantage of the VoIP phone system is the price. Most VoIP providers charge a monthly fee, based on how many users are on it rather than how many minutes are used; meaning you can have unlimited calls for a lower price. For example, most VoIP providers will charge around £20-30 a month, whereas landlines will charge around £50-75 a month. 

Call from anywhere
Remote and hybrid working is the new normal since the pandemic. VoIP phone systems support the remote and hybrid work model, as it allows employees to communicate from wherever they are, whether it is at home, at work or on the other side of the world. 

Scalability
With a cloud-based phone system you can add or remove phone lines for new or leaving employees. As your business grows, your phone system can too, without any stress or hassle. 

Better Customer Support
Being able to contact customer support in case of an emergency is essential when running a small business. If your phone lines are down, it can negatively affect the accessibility of your business and leave customers stranded and unhappy with your service. Most VoIP service providers maintain direct contact with you and your company, so that if you have any issues they are available straight away to fix your problem; you won’t have to wait hours or days to get a reply from a big corporation. 

Simple Equipment
VoIP being a cloud based service not only provides better quality and service, it also presents a more practical solution for small businesses. To use a VoIP phone system you don’t need any extra equipment or IT specialists to install and manage it, which not only makes life easier for you but also saves time and money for your business.

However, it has to be noted that because VoIP systems are internet dependent, they can be at risk of cutting out if your internet is not strong enough, there is a power outage or a system failure on your router. Most small businesses will depend on high speed internet anyway, so won’t have to worry about changing their router to support a VoIP phone system. Still, the advantages outweigh the potential issues. 

The best VoIP system

There are many VoIP phone systems on offer to small businesses, you’ll want to get the best one for the best price. The good thing about VoIP phone systems is that all you need is high quality internet connection, a router and a modem, all which businesses have anyway, to get started. The big question is which provider to go with.

Devyce is a VoIP service that specialises in the needs of a small business. Devyce know what a small business needs in terms of communication, and they deliver. Devyce offer a special Teams Package tailored to small businesses at only £15.99 a month per user. With Devyce, the account manager has access to the Portal, which provides instant number allocation and deallocation, call forwarding, call recording, full call reporting and analytics and CRM integration. You can give your employees a new number, or bring their number to Devyce by porting. Devyce provides an easy, cheap and efficient VoIP phone system that optimises your small businesses communication and, with customer support available 24/7, supports you every step of the way. 

Learn more about Devyce Teams here: https://devyce.com/resources/onboarding-portal/

Purchase your company Teams Package here: https://devyce.com/pricing/

 

Sources

https://www.structuredcommunications.co.uk/how-do-voip-phones-work-a-step-by-step-guide/

https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/beginners-guide-what-is-voip-and-how-does-it-work-explained/

https://www.business.com/articles/voip/ 

https://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/guides/internet/internet-phone-voip-offers

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8924-voip-for-business.html

https://fitsmallbusiness.com/voip-vs-landline/

https://gisuser.com/2022/01/why-voip-systems-are-popular-among-small-business/

The New Normal: How to Navigate Hybrid Working

   |   By  |  0 Comments

As we enter yet another year of the pandemic, the world of work is unsettling. You may be wondering what is the hybrid way of working and how can you benefit from it?

As 2022 begins, many of us may be cautiously optimistic that this could be the final year of the COVID pandemic. Vaccine boosters and new covid treatments seem to be the answer to the ongoing chaos. However, in the meantime, how do we go about our day to day lives, returning to work as if all is normal?

Many of us are returning to work in 2022 with anxiety; social anxiety, work anxiety or merely anxiety of getting sick. So how should we navigate this? Remote working seems to be a thing of the past as more and more of us are returning to offices, but what about those of us who long to be in the comfort of our homes during work days?

According to Maureen Kennedy, head of coaching at Bravely in NYC, “for life at work, there is no ‘back to normal’”. So what is the new normal then? A survey conducted by Slack, of 3,480 remotely working employees, revealed that 63% of their employees favoured a hybrid working model, compared to 20% stated they wanted to keep working remotely and only 12% expressed they wanted to return to full time in-office work. Although some employees desire to continue working full time at home, most are attracted to a balance of the two, working in office some of the week, and at home for the rest; hybrid working.


 

So, what is hybrid working?

2020 made it clear to us that it was no longer safe to travel to work everyday amidst a global pandemic. Remote working took over, and many adapted to working at the kitchen table or makeshift office spaces in their homes, dealing with interrupting pets and children. This strange new way of working left us wanting to get out into the world again, eager to escape the over familiarity of our homes during lockdown. But now that things are open again, where does that leave the world of work? Do we return to the office, acting as if nothing changed? Most people would agree the world of work has fundamentally changed and the way we work, how we work and where we work ought to be rethought.

Say goodbye to sweaty tube commutes and the traditional 9am-5pm work schedule. Large numbers of companies, big and small, are embracing the hybrid work model, allowing employees the freedom to choose how and where they work.

The hybrid work model is a balance of working on-site and at home, a combination of the old style full time office work and the COVID era full time remote work. Perhaps, the best of both worlds; hybrid work is the new remote work.

Overall, the hybrid work model is appealing to those who are unsure if they are ready to fully return to the office in 2022 – or if they ever want to return full time again.


 

What can we gain from hybrid working?

Hybrid working allows employees to work in whatever environment they feel most comfortable in; some may shine working from home, others may enjoy the office environment. The combination of the two, not only gives more autonomy to the employee, but also increases employee productivity and satisfaction. A recent survey conducted by Envoy demonstrated that 47% of employees would be likely to seek different employment if their current employers would not offer hybrid work.

Flexibility and Productivity

The hybrid work model abolishes the traditional 9-5 office model giving employees the freedom to work when suits them. This doesn’t mean that employees all around the world are slacking off. In a hybrid work model, the flexibility allows people to work around their lives, which seems to be a major flaw in the office model. It seems the office model neglects to take into account that some people work better early in the morning, while others are more productive in the evening; or some work better in a social environment, and others better solo.

Health and safety

Health and safety is a big one. Envoy also reported that 66% of employees are worried about their health and safety when asked about returning to the office. A hybrid work model encourages less people in the office at one time, lowering the change of sick employees passing on their illness. Many companies have also begun to require lateral flow testing, health screenings or proof of covid vaccinations, before allowing people to return to work. It also allows a sick employee to stay home, and still work, protecting others, and reducing absenteeism.

Mental health

In some cases, the hybrid model has had a positive impact on employees’ mental health by getting rid of some of the stresses that go along with the traditional in-office work model. It has also, due to flexibility, given employees the freedom to practice wellness to improve their mental health throughout the workday. However, there are limitations, for some, having to work from home means isolation and a lack of inspiration; which is why the hybrid model works for both.

Physical footprint

Many companies are focused on eliminating or cutting down carbon footprint and going green.

Hybrid work relies on technology, so requires companies to switch to cloud based technologies and VoIP’s. E-waste is a huge part of the global climate crisis, as technology is manufactured in the thousands, as quickly as it is disposed of.

Instead of buying tens, hundreds or even thousands of physical handsets for employees, employers can remove their physical footprint by using a remote work phone, allowing their employees to use their office landline or mobile numbers in and out of the office.

Devyce offers a ‘Teams Package’ for companies, big and small, wanting to eliminate their physical footprint and cater to the new hybrid way of working. Employers can purchase as many numbers as they need and give them out to their employees, as well as monitor the calls on the Portal. Centralising calls, inbound and outbound calls, in one place can also benefit the employee, allowing them to work more productively and concisely with a remote work phone.


 

Are there issues with the Hybrid Work Model?

The hybrid work model is fairly untested, as an evolutionary adaptation of remote working, so there are some issues that ought to be addressed. Just as employees are learning the new rules of hybrid working, so are employers.

Equality

Will an employer be able to ensure fairness and equality in offering a hybrid model to everyone in their team? Or will some people have to continue to work entirely at home or in the office? This could cause resentment or upset among employees, affecting productivity or morale.

Some people may want to adopt the hybrid model but be unable to work from home, due to space constraints or WIFI issues; working from home may not be productive for them at all, therefore, would they be able to work in the office everyday of the week, or is that out of the question?

Ability to Collaborate

It can be harder to collaborate with team members or bounce ideas off one another over Zoom. How can we learn and connect with each other over the computer? Would someone struggle to have their voice heard in a meeting online?

Remote employees may feel disconnected from their coworkers, causing difficulties achieving work goals. A remote work phone number, separate from their personal number, can help connect people to their coworkers, even from home, without mixing work and personal too much.


 

Making the most of hybrid working

Adapting to hybrid working can be difficult and there might be some growing pains. Considering the pros and cons, both employers and employees have the opportunity to make the most out of this new way of working.

For example, ‘rituals’ at home can help separate the day out as if you were in an office. When going into work, you get up, get dressed and commute everyday, in the same fashion, so the same could be done when working from home, while being able to add new elements to your routine to boost motivation even more.

Creating a clear separation between work and home can be tricky when those two overlap for half of the week. It may be difficult to manage the boundaries between work and personal life when hybrid working; measures have to be taken to make sure employees can switch off at the end of the work day and leave, although not physically, the working day behind. Devyce supports this ethos, with its ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature, in which you can pick and choose what days and times people can reach you on your Devyce number, allowing you to switch off from work despite being in the same environment.

Hybrid working is new to all of us, but, in a way, we are familiar with each section of it. Office working is traditionally how we work, and remote working has been how most of us have worked since the beginning of the pandemic; doesn’t it make sense to combine the two? Considering the pros and cons, would you be keen to adopt the ways of hybrid working?

Is hybrid working not only the new normal, but the future? The world of work has been redefined by the pandemic and the outcome is a fairer, greener and more efficient hybrid way of working.

Devyce offers a remote work phone number to support the new normal of hybrid work; see our pricing plans here: https://devyce.com/pricing/

Sources:
https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/flexible-working/planning-hybrid-working#gref
https://envoy.com/blog/what-is-a-hybrid-work-model/
https://timewise.co.uk/article/make-a-success-of-hybrid-working/
https://billieapp.io/2021/10/12/the-benefits-of-a-hybrid-work-model-and-why-its-here-to-stay/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2022/01/03/the-great-redefinition-of-work-in-2022/?sh=35d59c7d4d9b
https://nypost.com/2021/12/19/how-to-navigate-a-part-home-part-office-setup/
https://www.orielpartners.co.uk/blog/hybrid-working 
keyboard_arrow_up