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Written by
Katy Ratican
3 Apr 2023
10 minutes

A second phone line for work: A beginner's guide

A second phone line for work is one of the most effective ways of making the most of the resources available to you.
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Second phone numberAs a business owner, solo entrepreneur or freelancer, your primary focus isn't just to build a business. It’s to improve the overall quality of your life. The key to that is the organisation of responsibilities and making the most of the resources available to you. A second phone number for work is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Managing your resources effectively to grow your business while also making enough time for your family and friends doesn’t always ‘just happen’. Whether you operate a local salon, design websites or run a chain of restaurants, achieving that much-desired work-life balance takes action. A second number dedicated to your business will go a long way in helping you achieve that.

How does a second phone line work?

Second phone number apps use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. However, unlike other VoIP services, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, a second phone number company has a block of phone numbers that it can assign to its users.

Once you sign up for a second phone number app, it will assign you one of its phone numbers. From the start, you can simply use that number like you would any other phone number: to make or receive phone calls and, in some cases, to send or receive SMS. When you call someone or send them an SMS, your second phone number appears on their phone. The caller has no idea that you're using a second phone number app.

Why do you need a second phone number?

If you’ve been running your business for a while, you might perhaps wonder why you’d need to get a second phone number for business. Your personal number’s the one you’ve been handing out to customers and clients. Why change things when things have been working well?

If you’re objective about your situation, you’ll realise that things actually haven’t been working that well. There’s only one phone number to reach you and that channel can get crowded. You could be on a business call with an important client, only to be interrupted by a call from your family on the same number.

Or you could be out with your friends and end up receiving calls from a vendor with a question about an invoice. You can’t afford to ignore it. If you see the call or text, you’ve got to take it and respond.

A second phone number does many things but the most important one is that it brings you more freedom outside of your designated working hours. It allows you to focus on whatever you’re doing, without unnecessary interruptions. You can focus on your product or service or you can focus on your kid’s drawing.

Second phone line installation

When it comes to the installation of a second phone line for work, the fact is you don’t need to get an additional smartphone or SIM to separate your work and personal lives. All you need to do is download a second phone line app.

What are second phone line apps?

Second phone line apps are web-based applications that give you a phone number. While your mobile phone number uses the cellular network to make and receive calls, the second phone number uses your internet connection.

Local businesses and entrepreneurs should have a second phone line app because it’s an easy, inexpensive and effective way to get an additional phone number. All you’ve got to do is download an app and you can get started in a matter of minutes.

  • It’s easy because once you download it and get a number, you’re good to go

  • It’s inexpensive because unlike your mobile plans, you won’t be billed for individual calls and messages – and subscription fees are reasonable

  • It’s effective because along with a second phone number for work, it gives you additional resources to manage your business communication

What features can second phone line apps offer?

  • A dedicated work line: The next time you share your phone number with a business contact, there’ll be no awkward, “Yes, that’s also my personal number…” conversations. With a second phone line for work, you can share your exclusive business number from now on.

  • Contact management: Your clients’ numbers won’t be lost between those of your family and friends. With a second number, you can organise your business contacts separately, which will make it easier to search for them.

  • Call forwarding: One of the biggest advantages of a second phone line app is that you can choose to not be disturbed during your personal hours. You can often activate call forwarding so that clients or customers can reach designated personnel with their concerns, or simply let your voicemail pick up the message.

  • Call scheduling: The suite of services offered by a second phone line almost mimics that of a personal assistant. You don’t have to worry about remembering to make important calls as you can schedule them in the app.

  • Privacy: As an independent business owner, you’re forced to share your personal phone number with anyone who asks for it. You also have to give it on registration documents, online business profiles, websites, social media profiles and external signage. A second phone number will let you hide your private number. It would also increase your privacy as all calls and messages to it can be better managed.

When should you consider using a second phone line app?

If you’ve noticed your working hours gradually increasing beyond what you would like, or have been guilty of taking work calls during family time, it’s probably time to consider a second phone line for work.

You’ll be able to separate your work and personal calls, put all customer, client and business contacts in one place and use features such as voicemail and auto-reply text just to name a couple. This will all help to ensure that your business hours don’t extend until midnight or intrude on your weekends.

Can you get a second line on an iPhone?

Carrying around a second phone to separate business from work is inconvenient and expensive – so chances are, you want to take advantage of the device that you're already carrying in your pocket. Thanks to apps offering virtual phone numbers, it is entirely possible to manage a business phone line from your iOS device.

How to add a second line to your iPhone

Second-line apps sidestep your mobile provider, allowing you to easily add a second line to your iPhone without interfering with your main number. Chalkboard, for example, is a second-line mobile app that is available on the Apple App Store® (for iPhones®), or on Google Play (for Android phones such as Samsung or Huawei). Simply download the app to your phone and you can be up and running with a new business phone number within minutes.

Why do you need two separate numbers – isn't that unusual?

Not at all, especially due to the changes in working life brought on by Covid-19. The pandemic upended our routines and although many workplaces adapted, there have been long-term changes to working life. By preparing for the future, many business owners have found that a second phone number is a step towards the new 'normal'.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons why you'd want to maintain two separate numbers.

Some business owners need to be contactable for work at unsociable hours, but would prefer to turn off the phone that friends would call; others wish to prevent work contacts from interrupting quality family time.

Whatever your reasons for maintaining two phone numbers, the good news is that it's possible to do this without carrying two handsets. You can use two SIMs with the same phone or you can use a second-line phone app and carrier services that manage two numbers from a single SIM.

Are second phone numbers an option for businesses that work remotely?

Absolutely, yes. Remote working has certainly been more normalised due to the pandemic, although some businesses are still trying to navigate what it means for both their businesses and their staff members. However, what can be said with certainty is that the sudden shift to 'hybrid' working has provided an opportunity to reimagine everything about how businesses are run. This included giving staff members more flexible working, beyond the 9-to-5, office-centric work that existed before. As second-line number apps can simply be downloaded to individual handsets, there is no reason why employees who work from home couldn't use them as an opportunity to work more effectively.

People are making new choices about where they want to live and there isn't a piece of research commissioned since the pandemic began that doesn't highlight employees' desire for more flexibility around working hours and location. Slack's 2020 Future Forum research, for example, found that of 4,700 workers, the majority never want to go back to the old way of working. In fact, only 12 per cent wanted to return to full-time office work, and 72 per cent wanted a hybrid remote-office model moving forward.

Due to the flexibility offered by second phone numbers for business, workers can improve their work-life balance without negatively impacting business efficiency.

Are second phone line apps safe?

Sharing your personal phone number for business purposes can put sensitive personal information at risk. Therefore, sharing a second line number with new contacts is a good way to protect your privacy. A second phone number app that has a responsible data policy can keep your personal phone number private and contribute to your overall data security. Having a second phone number for business should not add to any of your privacy concerns. In fact, by using a second-line app for work, you are able to have a better handle on the information that you share.

How a second phone number app improves your privacy

Share your business number without worry

Sharing contact numbers is an everyday occurrence in business interactions. Unfortunately, every time you share your personal number, you are increasing the risk of your privacy and data being breached. With a second number apps, you won't have that worry; even if the number gets shared, all calls and texts can be monitored.

Work from one device

There is no need to purchase a second, expensive device for your second number. By using a phone app for work, you’ve got yourself a business number and along with it, less chance of misplacing a second phone, or of it getting stolen. Many second phone line apps also have in-built features to alert you to any security breach.

So, what do you think?

With a second phone line app, you’ll be able to manage your resources and time more effectively and have things under control. Your business and personal lives will be separated and your work communication will be more professional. All thanks to a simple, easy, inexpensive and super-productive second phone number.

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