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What is BYOD and how small businesses can benefit

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What is a BYOD policy? 

BYOD stands for ‘bring your own device’ whereby employees are permitted to bring/use their own personal devices for work such as phones and laptops. Many businesses are adopting this option for employees due to its countless benefits. A BYOD policy is particularly relevant in the current professional climate as employers continue navigating flexible working. Such policies play a key role in supporting hybrid working due to benefits like cost savings and increased productivity. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key benefits BYOD offers to small businesses and how you can implement them.

 

Cost savings

The biggest benefit of a BYOD policy is cost savings which is especially important for growing small businesses. It’s estimated UK SMEs spend upwards of £2000 per year to purchase business phones for employees [1]. This doesn’t include the additional costs to maintain, replace or upgrade devices for employees. For a growing business, it’s important to evaluate your spending and ensure your budgets are optimised to accommodate developing areas. Opting for a BYOD policy can save you a great deal in the long term as most employees have their own devices that can be used for work.

 

Increased productivity

Another perk of employees bringing their own devices is that they’re already familiar with the device. This can increase efficiency and productivity as it eliminates the need for training and time spent looking up how to do specific tasks using those devices.

 

Increased mobility

It can be a hassle to carry around two phones and remember to charge both so allowing employees to use their own helps to facilitate flexible/hybrid working policies. Since the devices are the employees’ own, they’re able to freely work from anywhere whether it be at home, remotely or even going into the office.

However, there are also concerns to implementing a BYOD policy that should be taken into account. Perhaps the biggest concern for businesses is privacy and security of company data. As employees are using their own phones which go with them everywhere, it can increase the risk of loss/sensitive company data being accessed by someone outside of the organisation. 

Additionally, employees are unlikely to have the same level of anti-malware software as that of business devices which increases the risk of data breaches. To overcome this, businesses should invest in cloud technologies which facilitate secure remote storage of data over a network of servers that operate using the internet. This means that if anything happens to the device, the data remains untouched as you’re able to ensure robust security on the cloud servers you use. Employers can also include training for employees on safe usage. As employees may be working from anywhere, it’s important to make sure they are educated on the risks of accessing work programs and data in public spaces where wifi connections aren’t secure. 

 

Employees may also struggle with work life balance if using their own devices for work as it opens them up to receiving/seeing work notifications after hours. It can be tempting for employees to give the email or message they received a ‘quick look’ when it pops up but this can lead to a cycle of letting work bleed through into personal lives and lead to an overall lower productivity level during work hours and possibly even a burnout.

 

The ideal solution is to invest in cloud business phone systems. A great one to check out is Devyce – designed for SMEs. Devyce brings simplicity and security to your business phone experience while also providing you a perfect balance between work and personal at the switch of a ‘Do Not Disturb’ button. This means you can set your business hours and ensure you don’t receive notifications outside of those hours, solving the problem of impaired work life balance resulting from BYOD policies. 

Get started building your BYOD policy with the Devyce virtual business phone system over on: https://devyce.com/teams-plan/

 

References: 

[1]

https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/08/uk-sme-businesses-spend-2052-a-year-on-telecom-services.html

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/

Three ways firms can help Black staff thrive beyond Black History Month

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Black History Month may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we should table the conversation about supporting black employees within companies. 

There needs to be an ongoing effort by business leaders to improve inclusivity and integration of BAME communities in the workplace. Although much has been done for inclusivity, sadly minority communities still face many challenges with their professional progression after passing the first few hurdles. 

So how can firms build a better environment for black employees to better support them? Here are three things you could implement:

 

  1. Re-evaluate your protocols and gather feedback
    One of the first things to do is to re-examine your internal procedures and company structures. By analysing the data available to you within your organisation, you can identify the areas of organisational dynamics that need improvement.Research has shown that UK black employees hold only 1.5% of senior roles, which has only increased 0.1% since 2014 [1]. This reveals a deep-rooted organisational problem that generates barriers affecting progression of BAME communities.

    Although many companies may argue that the opportunities for senior roles for BAME employees exist but there aren’t enough BAME employees to be considered, this highlights a bigger problem faced by minority communities in workplaces.
    Surveys have revealed that 46% of black employees plan to leave their workplaces due to negative experiences with workplace culture and racism in the UK [2]. This coupled with the systemic barriers to their progression makes it extremely difficult for representation of BAME in leadership to improve.
    Therefore, it’s important to create a systematic and continuous method of gathering feedback from your minority employees in order to learn and build better working experiences.

  2.  Encourage difficult conversations and educate within your organisation
    While data is important to power better decision making, it’s also important to have those necessary and sometimes difficult conversations within your company.In the post pandemic world where we are adopting an “everything back to business” mindset, it can be easy to sweep certain problems under the rug as we focus our efforts on recovering industries. However, in order to create positive change, the conversations surrounding inequality still need to be encouraged – and regularly.

    For example, conversations about the gender pay gap need to also address the extremely low percentage of less than 0.1% of black women being top earners in the UK [3]. While the gender pay gap is a different challenge in the workplace, we cannot neglect the role that race has in it as well.

    By regularly having such conversations, employees within firms can better learn and understand the workplace experiences of BAME communities and empower introspection within your firm that leads to positive changes.

  3. Lead consciously with purpose and build trust
    Building a workplace culture that supports black employees may arguably be redundant without trust in the leadership.You could be creating an outstanding structure within your organisation that supports growth of BAME employees but if they don’t believe you have their best interests as a priority, you will likely still see poor retention of minority employees.

    A culture of trust is largely built around the credibility of leadership, an atmosphere of fairness and demonstrating a high level of respect for all employees. It is important that those in leadership positions have contact with minority employees and seek to understand their experiences within the workplace.

    Although we often blame the “system” for inequalities and leaders are responsible for changing it, they must remember that they are also part of the system and therefore will be doing or not doing things that hold minority communities back.

    Speaking to BAME employees and asking simple questions like “how could I support you?” or “do you feel there is anything I may be doing unintentionally that is blocking you?” is powerful in getting the insight necessary to create change. It can also help facilitate more conversations in the workplace around inequality. 

    These recommendations will not be the definitive driving force for positive change however it is a good starting point for firms to improve. Companies will need to be consistent in their efforts beyond Black History Month and continuously learn and adapt their approaches in order to move towards creating workplaces where employees are valued and treated fairly.

References:

[1] https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1744977/black-employees-hold-just-1-5-per-cent-of-senior-roles

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-13/almost-half-of-uk-black-professionals-plan-to-leave-their-jobs?leadSource=uverify%20wall

[3] https://www.lse.ac.uk/News/Latest-news-from-LSE/2021/c-March-21/Black-women-are-least-likely-to-be-among-UKs-top-earners

5 Important Digital Tools for Small Businesses

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Starting a small business is daunting to say the least.

Picture this: a great idea for a business pops into your head one day. 

Ready to launch now? Absolutely yes. 

After months of hard work, you finally launch your business in high spirits. Then as your business grows, you are hit with an ever-growing mountain of things to do; from managing your employees to finances and every little detail in between. You are feeling overwhelmed and wondering how you will ever get on top of this mountain. 

No worries, we’ve got you. 

We know you’re extremely busy running your business so here are 5 of the most useful digital tools you can take advantage of: 

 

Communication tools:

Communication is the key to any successful relationship whether that be with your employees or your customers. To help with this you could get… 

 

  • Devyce – 2 numbers, 1 phone

Devyce is a cost-effective and sustainable digital solution to the work phone. 

It allows you to have an additional phone number on your phone to use for work communications. On average phones are replaced every two years [1] and each phone during its lifetime can create up to 110kg of CO2 per year [2]. Eliminate the use of a second phone and get Devyce. 

Another great feature of Devyce is the team management portal for you to monitor and manage your employee call activity and quickly access call logs. 

 

We know what you’re thinking, having your work communications operating on your personal phone might disrupt your personal life (or vice versa) however Devyce also has a handy ‘do not disturb’ feature where you can turn off work notifications to keep a healthy work life balance.

All these features make Devyce a great telecommunications tool for your small business! 

  • FreshDesk – A customer service software for your website 

Maintaining an open line of communication with your customers can be harder than it seems. 

Customers will reach out to customer support through multiple channels. This can become difficult to keep track of so let FreshDesk ‘delight your customers with effortless customer service’. 

 

Financing tools:

One of the top reasons why startups/small businesses fail is a lack of cash or failure to raise new capital. [3] Sounds pretty obvious right? However, many business owners struggle to manage their finances and budgeting. 

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a financial expert to be able to start your own business (even accountants struggle with the papers sometimes). There are many digital tools to assist you. Spendesk being one of them. 

  • Spendesk – A 7-in-1 spend management tool 

Spendesk encourages smarter spending decisions by providing:

  • A management platform where you can view and manage spending from company cards 
  • Review and pay invoices
  • Track expenses
  • Generate financial reports
  • Automate accounting
  • Create and optimise budget plans for your business

Make smarter money decisions, budget better and stay on top of your finances with Spendesk. 

 

Marketing tools:

Developing a solid marketing plan and creating great content for it is one of the key reasons for success for many businesses. 

  • BuzzSumo – an all in one content marketing tool 

BuzzSumo is a hub platform where you can:

  • Discover and research new content ideas
  • Find relevant influencers to work with 
  • Industry trend updates
  • Develop your content strategy and create compelling content
  • Analytics for content engagement

This all inclusive platform is great for industry trend research, allowing you to create and optimise your content marketing strategy. 

 

  • Buffer – social media management tool 

Buffer is a great tool for starting out with social media management as it offers a clear and easy to navigate platform for:

  • Creating and scheduling social media posts
  • Accessing all your social media messages across all platforms in one inbox
  • Social media analytics 

All of these features are great for effective communication with your audience, learning more about their preferences in regard to your business and utilising new insights to optimise your services and marketing plan. 

So, will you be using any of these digital tools? Feel free to head to our socials to share your business story and what digital tools you’re currently using! 

 

References:

[1]

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

[2]

https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/europe2019s-consumption-in-a-circular/benefits-of-longer-lasting-electronics

[3]

https://www.cbinsights.com/research/startup-failure-reasons-top/

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