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Tag: remote work phone

Impact of rising living costs on SMEs

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SME business owners are going through it this year. 

They’ve been hit with various economic factors fueled by the pandemic and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This is leaving a steady trail of small businesses closing down as the pressures they face become insurmountable. 

So exactly what pressures are businesses facing and how can they stay afloat throughout a storm that appears to have no end in sight? We’ve pulled together a few tips for SMEs:

 

Rise of living costs:

Inflation is forecasted to peak at 13% in Q4 2022 and was at its highest rate since 1982 this July at 10.1% [1]. The soar in living costs has various impacts on SMEs:

  • Decrease in consumption, especially of non-essential products/services 
  • Raises in price of products/services heightens competition possibly leading to lowered customer retention 
  • Overhead expenses to be cut eg. lowered budgets for marketing etc
  • Pressure for increasing employee salaries 

SMEs will need to internally audit and re-calculate their operations and budgets to tackle this. You’d be surprised how many unexpected costs could be cut down with simple solutions. An example of this is telecommunications costs. 

Many businesses still operate their customer support via traditional landline phone systems requiring contracts with carriers. As these contracts come to an end and with inflation at an all-time high, SMEs are faced with big telecommunications bills for the coming years. To cut down on these costs, switching to a VoIP phone system like Devyce will be beneficial.

Devyce is a hybrid phone system that provides two numbers on your phone. This means businesses won’t need to invest in physical landlines or providing handsets to employees while still operating with a reliable phone system. 

 

Energy crisis:

The price cap of energy costs is set to increase to 80% in October 2022 resulting in an increase of roughly £1600 per year for “typical” consumption levels of energy per household [2]. What does this mean for SMEs?

  • Providers are removing lower cost tariffs 
  • Pressure to reduce essential costs to accommodate which have negative long term effects 
  • Closures of physical locations 

Ways to overcome the spike in energy costs is to invest in sustainability and adopt greener practices. For example, with an abundance of reliable communications tools available such as Devyce, many businesses could look into adopting remote working models to cut down on use of office space. This saves businesses money, reduces impact on the environment due to reduced commuting of employees and use of energy at offices. 

For more sustainable solutions that could save your business on massive energy costs, check out our blog post:

Five unexpected ways businesses can be more sustainable 

Supply chain issues:

The supply chain problem is a cycle of poor management of logistics both internally and externally for businesses. The challenges with supply chain logistics are partly due to less staff resulting from the pandemic and is expected to continue into 2023 [3].

 

This has resulted in:

  • 79% of SMEs facing increased prices from suppliers over the past 6 months [4]
  • Major delays in exporting of goods leading to long wait times for customers to receive goods, affecting customer experience
  • Exacerbation of inflation leading to increased competition between businesses

What SMEs could do to minimise the effect is firstly to internally audit their processes eg. stock intake and maintenance etc. By optimising these processes, SMEs can mitigate the supply chain challenge by ensuring they can plan well for stock replenishment. Business owners could also look into working with more local suppliers which are more likely to be able to deliver with minimal disruptions. 

The past couple of years have undoubtedly been tough on small businesses. The differences between businesses that are able to continue trading and those that are forced to close are flexible businesses making necessary adaptations to face the piling challenges. Make a smart business decision and find out more about how Devyce could help you cut costs and tackle these challenges here:

References:

[1] https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9428/

[2] https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9491/#:~:text=The%20energy%20price%20cap%20increased,consumption%20paid%20by%20direct%20debit.

[3] https://www.resilinc.com/in-the-news/supply-chain-delays-will-spread-well-into-2022-and-possibly-2023/#:~:text=Supply%20Chain%20Delays%20Will%20Spread%20Well%20Into%202022%20and%20Possibly%202023,-Sep%2002%2C%202021&text=According%20to%20an%20analysis%20by,the%20overstrain%20in%20transportation%20systems.

[4]https://startups.co.uk/news/supply-chain-inflation-uk-smes/

The Most Important Things Start-Ups Should Invest in Early

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When starting a business, you’ll undoubtedly have a million things to do, whether it be product development or fundraising. So, what do business owners need to prioritise for maximal growth? Truth is, there isn’t one area that should be prioritised more than another. This means it can get difficult to manage if internal processes aren’t optimised. 

 

Around 20% of businesses are dissolved in the first year according to research carried out by Fundsquire [1]. The reasons for startup failure could be one of many including: getting outcompeted, hiring the wrong people or burnout. 

To help better manage your business and avoid startup failure, owners should look to invest early into these things:

 

  1. Scalable Tech Solutions 

Whether it be long processes like data logging or physical equipment like work phones, there are almost definitely tech alternatives available that will make your life easier as a business owner. 

An example is Devyce – a modern business phone system.We provide you with two numbers on your phone through an app so you can affordably make business calls without having to commit to a lengthy contract with a phone provider. 

Devyce also offers a Teams Plan to provide your employees with business numbers and you have access to a Teams Management Portal where you can view call analytics and manage employee inbound/outbound calls. The Teams plan is scalable to your business needs and growth so it will save you money in the long run, allowing you to allocate more budgets to other departments such as Marketing. 

 

Check out our Teams Plan for your business here: 

 

  1. Marketing

So, getting Devyce has saved you a lot of money on the telecommunications side. Now what do you invest in? Marketing! 

Many businesses underrate the importance of marketing, especially in the early stages. An important component of marketing is customer relationship management. While many businesses’ marketing efforts are directed towards top of the funnel objectives and getting those sales, the actual relationship a business has with its customers is widely neglected. 

It can get difficult to stay on top of all your customers’ journeys without a system to collate all the information. To ensure you foster and maintain beneficial relationships with your customers, business owners should look to utilise CRM platforms like Hubspot. This will encourage more positive reviews to be generated for your business, further helping as 90% of consumers rely on reviews when making a purchase decision [2].  

You can also integrate your CRM system with Devyce to keep track of your client calls and the follow up! 

 

  1. Your Team

The people you choose to work with can be the make-or-break factor for your business. It’s important that you take the time to hire the right people to deliver on your long-term business goals. Not only will you need to hire the right people, but you will also need to invest time into their development as your business grows. 

However, the pandemic has changed the way we work, and many businesses need to hire remotely. This has many advantages for business owners including saving money due to lack of need for office space. Although, it can be challenging as business owners will need to find ways to seamlessly integrate new hires into the company from afar. 

Here’s how Devyce can help; our plans are easy to sign up to and within minutes you can assign business numbers to your employees. With Devyce your employees can work from anywhere in the world and the app is easily accessible on any smartphone – just download it from your app store! 

 

Find out how else your business can benefit from switching to Devyce here.

References:

[1] https://fundsquire.co.uk/startup-statistics/

[2] https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/online-review-stats/

The strain placed on businesses that provide a work phone

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It’s time to stop carrying two separate phones and avoid using your personal number at work. 

Did you know that issuing a work phone and allowing personal numbers to be used can place strain on three focal areas of your business, its economic prosperity, the environment, and your employee’s well-being. Here’s how…

 

  • The economic prosperity of your business

Giving out a work phone is uneconomical. Especially when the majority already have a perfectly usable phone that they can just simply port a new number into.

An iPhone’s price can range from £300-900, that’s a large expense for any business. Considering also that this investment may only last a few years due to the constant upgrades and technology advancements.

 

As we are slowly transitioning back to normal life after COVID-19, business travel will inevitably continue to increase, and that alongside BREXIT means one thing… increased roaming charges when you send your employees abroad! 

Productivity. A new buzzword. Productivity is vital for a company’s profitability and ultimately its long-term success. But how are businesses tracking your productivity on a personal device? The answer is that they are struggling, as 40% of managers struggle to monitor performance, placing strain on businesses [1]. But by porting a second number onto an existing device, using Devyce, you can improve your business’s productivity and communication through the management portal. The portal allows transparent reporting of your employee’s data, so you can get the most out of every employee and know when to reward them or promote those that are excelling. 

Teams Plan – Devyce 

  • Your Employees

Using a personal number at work is accentuating the ‘always on’ mentality because you can still receive calls ‘after-hours’ to your main phone number, meaning you are always on the clock. This leaves your employee’s work-life balance far from balanced. This can lead to an array of negative effects, highlighted in a US Research study that found receiving messages after working hours increases negative emotions, stress and insomnia [2]. As well as excessive smartphone use affects your cognitive and learning skills. Ultimately leading to employee ‘burnout’; a recent study found that 77% of American workers have experienced [3].

A solution: It has been found that using your personal phone, with a second number, can rebalance your work-life and relieve the above effects as it is easy to clearly differentiate between work and personal calls.

Do Not Disturb Feature

Without this clear differentiation, all calls look the same, whether a personal or a work-related call. This means you don’t always know how to respond when answering the phone, which can leave employees feeling that they’re always on.

  • The Environment

Sustainability is a fundamental area to consider in your business today due to its importance for investors, employees and consumers. However, smartphones are a large contributor to the carbon footprint and are killing the planet. 

Did you know that…

  • By 2040 it is predicted that smartphones will have the biggest carbon footprint in the tech industry [4].
  • Just one iPhone X alone creates 79kg of CO2 in its lifetime [5].

By removing the need for second devices, you can lower your carbon footprint, lower your expenses, retain happy and healthy employees and in turn impress your stakeholders!

 

References:

[1]

https://hbr.org/2020/07/remote-managers-are-having-trust-issues 

[2]

https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/06/28/turning-off-your-work-phone-and-emails-could-help-reduce-after-hours-work-stress-study.html

[3]

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/burnout-survey.html

[4]

https://www.irishnews.com/magazine/science/2018/03/02/news/how-our-smartphones-are-hurting-the-environment-1268849/ 

[5]

https://reboxed.co/blogs/outsidethebox/the-carbon-footprint-of-your-phone-and-how-you-can-reduce-it

Why you should apply to jobs even if you may not fully qualify for them

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The corporate job market is at an all-time high, with a record number of job openings. Specifically, the graduate job market is soaring. The number of vacancies has risen by 59% and is set to see an expected 7% salary rise, compared to the figures released in May last year [1].

Despite this boom, entry-level jobs used to be the leading pathway into the workplace for new graduates but now many require prior experience. This was highlighted in a 2021 study that found that 34% of graduate-level jobs and 24% of junior jobs in the UK require at least one year of work experience [2].

Scrolling through numerous job websites and spotting an Entry Level Job that seems interesting, is quickly scrolled past when the dreaded phrase ‘two years of experience required’ is read and this can be incredibly frustrating. This can often be the only element a candidate is missing. Yet, women hold back if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria, while men only apply if they meet at least 60% [3]. It is important to remember that no candidate can meet 100% of the criteria. As there is simply no such thing as a ‘perfect candidate’.

Often this requirement is merely just a guideline and not a necessity. Employers also use this to narrow down the applicant pool, to avoid them getting flooded with unqualified candidates that have absolutely no knowledge of the industry [4].

Don’t let this requirement limit you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous real-life stories that support this advice, including a recent article written by Janet Phan and published in the Harvard Business Review sharing her story. She found a job outside of her expertise which required skills she did not have. Yet, she applied anyway. This resulted in her landing a job at a major tech company! So, her advice would be, apply! [5].

We’ve asked one of our interns, ‘Kate’ who is fresh out of university, about her experience and her advice/ tips. 

Kate:

Finding a job straight out of university is a difficult and daunting task. It is incredibly frustrating when you search for hours to find a job that interests you, and you see you need years of experience. Why would I have years of experience, I have just finished university. 

After speaking to friends, family and industry experts I have taken away 5 incredibly valuable pieces of advice when faced with this dilemma. Firstly, there are many ways to tweak your C.V to work around the requirement. 

  1. Holm in on your transferable skills. Speaking from experience, as someone who entered the job market with no industry experience. Using these transferable skills when writing your C.V or a covering letter is a great idea!

  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good covering letter. 

I managed to slip these transferable skills into my C.V by including details about my university projects or modules I completed. I tailored each one I sent, by including different keywords that were in the description of that particular job. 

  1. Read the job description!

  2. Prepare! If you do manage to get an interview, preparation is key! Make sure you have spent time researching the company, their values, their culture, what they do, and any of their recent projects. Prepare for any questions they may ask you, but try not to over prepare! Get a good balance, you want to be yourself and you don’t want to seem scripted or answer the wrong question because you heard what you had prepared for!
  3. Be confident and take risks. At the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no. At least you tried. You didn’t lose anything.

 

OR take a step back. You don’t need to rush, try and get some experience, this is not only good for filling that ‘missing experience’ experience but can also help you find your niche! An internship is a great idea!

 

References:

[1]

https://www.cityam.com/uk-graduates-set-to-enter-strongest-job-market-in-years/

[2]

https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/viral-post-asks-why-entry-level-jobs-require-years-of-experience

[3]

https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions-lodestone/body/pdf/Gender-Insights-Report.pdf

[4]

https://upjourney.com/why-do-entry-level-jobs-require-experience

[5]

https://hbr.org/2022/07/apply-to-a-job-even-if-you-dont-meet-all-criteria 

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/
https://www.orielpartners.co.uk/blog/hybrid-working 
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