Category: Roaming

The New Normal: How to Navigate Hybrid Working

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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/

How Can I Continue Using My Phone Abroad Without Paying New Roaming Charges? 

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Use your UK mobile number fluently for travel? Worried about the return of roaming charges, but unsure what to do? Keen to avoid the roaming fees in 2022? Here’s what you need to know, as well as what you can do to continue to call, text and roam, without new costs, with your UK mobile number from anywhere in the world.


 

Why are UK Networks reintroducing roaming fees? 

After five years of free roaming, how can you avoid roaming fees returning in 2022? For those of us that use our UK mobile number for travel regularly, this is concerning.

In 2017, the EU launched their ‘Roam Like at Home’ initiative, essentially banning EU mobile networks from being able to charge their users for using their mobiles while abroad in EU countries. However, since Brexit has removed the UK from being an EU member, the initiative no longer applies to UK networks, allowing them to reintroduce roaming fees for their customers. If you are a UK resident living abroad, someone who travels for work, or someone who travels outside of periodic travel, it is essential that you know exactly what this change means and how you can avoid roaming fees coming in 2022.


 

When will the fees come into action? 

Although many UK mobile networks stated that they would not reintroduce roaming fees after Brexit, many have since changed their stance. The biggest networks to reinstate roaming charges are Vodafone, EE, Three and O2. 

If you are a Three customer, you may be aware of the changes already as they have been the first network to enact the changes, as of September 2021. Vodafone and O2 have announced they will turn on roaming charges at the end of January 2022 and EE will follow their example and turn off free roaming in March 2022.


 

How will these costs affect you?  

Depending on what network you are currently with, these costs will affect you differently. 

If you are an EE customer with a plan that started before July 2021, you don’t need to worry. However, if your plan started after July 2021, or your contract is due to expire, you will be affected. Starting from March 2022, to make and receive calls and texts, or use your data from abroad, you will be charged £2 a day for each day that you use your mobile. 

If you are a UK citizen living as a resident outside of the UK, you will be subject to roaming fees on O2 as well. However, the good news is that you can switch providers and leave O2 without having to pay any termination fees.

Starting at the end of January 2022, Vodafone customers, who had a contract that started on or after August 2021, will have to pay £6 a day to use their data, as well as make and receive calls and texts, if they are abroad in Africa, Australia, Canada and America. 

If you are a Three customer, you may already be aware of the changes to your plan when abroad, as Three reintroduced roaming fees in September 2021, being the first UK mobile network to do so. As a Three customer, if you want to use your UK mobile to travel, you will be charged £5 a day to do so. 

The reintroduction of roaming fees also allows these UK networks to implement a fair usage policy that can monitor and limit the time spent by a customer on their phone while abroad. Meaning, you will no longer be able to use your UK mobile phone all year round abroad; and if you do, you will be subject to extra fees. Moreover, if you have a foreign mobile contract, and visit the UK, you will be limited to how you can use your phone in the UK as well. 

EE will implement a 50GB roaming fair usage policy, and if reached, you will be charged £3.60 per 10MB. O2 are introducing a 25GB roaming fair usage policy, and if reached, you will be charged £3.50 per GB. Vodafone are following in their steps and also capping data use at 25GB, but charging £3.13 per GB once reached. Lastly, Three have already implemented a 20GB limit a month, and £3 per GB beyond that. 

20 to 50 GB is not quite enough for one person every month to use their mobile phone with full access to the internet, to search, stream or socialise. The limitations placed on usage by UK networks makes it very likely that those living, working and travelling abroad will have to pay extra fees on top of roaming charges and their normal contract payments.

No matter which network you are on, these changes and extra payments could cost you an extra £52 a month for simple mobile use. 


 

How can you avoid these costs?  

These looming changes may seem daunting but there are solutions to assure you can continue to travel and use your UK mobile number and avoid roaming fees in 2022 and onwards. 

Devyce have been working hard to provide an easy, efficient and, most importantly, affordable solution to the reintroduction of roaming charges, so that you can still use your UK mobile number for travel and more. We came up with Xpatfone, powered by Devyce; designed especially for those UK mobile users who are living, working or travelling abroad who do not want to pay more to call, text and roam while away from home. 

What makes this especially easy is that many networks, similar to O2, have scrapped exit fees so that, if you wish to move and avoid roaming fees in 2022, you can do so freely.


 

Benefits of Switching? 

So why switch? Simply, you will avoid paying roaming fees in 2022 and onwards when abroad. Giving you the freedom to call and text your family and friends back in the UK and use the internet without any usage limitations. 

Xpatfone charges a fixed monthly fee, with no extra payments no matter your usage, starting at £8.99. 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. 

Xpatfone offers two packages fit for UK travellers abroad. The monthly plan is ideal for expats and starts at £8.99, with benefits such as SMS and Whatsapp compatibility, free number porting, unlimited calls to the UK, America, Canada and Ireland, unlimited inbound calls and texts globally and a 24 free trial! The ‘Brexit Buster’ plan is ideal for the UK global traveller, adn starts at £12.99. With the Brexit Buster plan, you get all the features of the monthly plan, plus 400 minutes per month to call mobile and landline numbers in New Zealand, Spain, France, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Germany, Australia and Thailand. 

 

Get ahead of the game and switch now to avoid roaming fees in 2022. Start your journey with Xpatfone and get set up within 24 hours here: https://xpatfone.com/pricing-1


 

Sources 
https://www.o2.co.uk/help/pay-monthly/roaming-in-europe
https://www.vodafone.co.uk/roamingupdate22
https://ee.co.uk/help/help-new/roaming-and-international/using-your-device-abroad/what-impact-will-brexit-have-on-roaming
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45064268
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-roaming-charges-eu
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/09/three-becomes-latest-mobile-firm-to-bring-back-roaming-charges
https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/mobile-networks/1415167/vodafone-roaming-charges-explained 
https://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/guides/internet-data-allowances/ 
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