A Complete Guide To Transitioning Your Workforce to VoIP Phones

As the so-called Big Switch Off in 2025 looms, all UK businesses still using landline phones will need to make the transition to VoIP phone service. There are many benefits of switching to one of the best business VoIP providers in the UK, including lower rates, more calling features, and support for text messaging.

However, transitioning your employees to VoIP phones can be disruptive if you don’t have a strategy in place. In this guide, we’ll offer tips for planning your VoIP migration and highlight ways to prepare your workforce so the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Why Your Business Will Need To Transition to VoIP

BT Openreach, the company that maintains nearly all the phone cables connecting homes and businesses across the UK, announced that it will shut down the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) in December 2025. The PSTN is a telephone exchange system that relies on copper landlines, many of which have been in service since the 1800s.

This shutdown, known as the Big Switch Off, means that everyone in the UK will need to transition to VoIP phone service by the end of 2025. Traditional landline phones will no longer work once the PSTN is phased out.

Importantly, the network is being shut down even sooner in many parts of the UK, so it’s a good idea to start planning your transition to VoIP phone service as soon as possible. Give yourself enough time to choose the right VoIP provider and prepare your employees to prevent any last-minute scrambles that could disrupt business.

Planning Your VoIP Migration: The Key Considerations

Planning ahead can make switching to VoIP fairly seamless. Here are some of the most important factors to consider before you launch your business’ transition.

Find the Right VoIP Provider

Perhaps the biggest decision you’ll need to make when switching to VoIP phone service is which provider to use. You can stick with your current phone provider, but the best phone provider for landline service isn’t necessarily the best provider for VoIP service. So, it’s worth shopping around.

When comparing providers, there are a few things to consider:

Cost

How much will it cost to provide phone service for all your employees? Think carefully about what’s included in a monthly subscription, such as local minutes, international minutes, and text messaging. You can use your current phone bill to find out how many minutes your employees spend on the phone to estimate the cost of VoIP phone service.

Features

VoIP phone service usually comes with advanced features like call forwarding, auto-attendants, voicemail transcription, call recording, ring groups, and more. Many VoIP providers also include video conferencing with their phone service, which can offer a new way for your employees to communicate.

Some providers charge extra for certain features, so take that into account when comparing plans.

Migration Support

Some VoIP providers offer more help than others when transitioning your business from landline service to VoIP. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, having access to hands-on support can save you a lot of headaches.

Free Trials

Many VoIP providers offer a free trial, which is an excellent way to test the service before committing to a contract. If you do try out a VoIP provider, it’s a good idea to invite some of your employees to give the service a test run and provide feedback.

Get the Right Equipment

You and your employees can use your computers, tablets, and smartphones to make and receive VoIP phone calls. But if you want to use your existing phone hardware, you’ll need to make sure it’s compatible with VoIP calling.

Most VoIP providers have a comprehensive list of phone models that will work with their service. However, it’s worth noting that many non-compatible landline phones can be used with a VoIP phone system by adding an adapter, which costs around £50 per device.

You can also purchase new VoIP-enabled phones for your office, although this can greatly increase the cost of your migration.

Make Sure Your Network Is Ready

All of your VoIP calls will be routed through your internet connection rather than through landline cables. This means the switch to VoIP will put an extra burden on your office’s internet network.

It’s a good idea to run speed tests to make sure your network is running smoothly. If your speed tests reveal a slow connection, that’s a sign your network is already or near capacity. Contact your internet provider to purchase more bandwidth ahead of switching to VoIP.

Finally, install a VoIP VPN to keep your system secure.

How To Prepare Your Workforce for a Transition to VoIP

As your VoIP migration approaches, it’s important to prepare your employees for the transition. Here are three steps you can take to get your team ready.

Communicate Early About the Transition

Employees are often resistant to change, so it’s important to get everyone on board with your VoIP migration. The best way to achieve this is to communicate early and often about the change that’s coming.

When communicating about VoIP, acknowledge there will be some growing pains, but highlight the benefits of the new technology. For example, many employees will appreciate the ability to place calls from their own smartphones or easily forward calls to colleagues.

The more your employees learn about how a VoIP phone system can help them do their jobs, the more excited they’ll be for the new technology to arrive.

Involve Employees in Your Decision-Making

While choosing a VoIP phone provider is ultimately up to you, you can build trust among employees by involving them in the process. Ask what features they want from a new phone system and use this information to guide you when evaluating providers. If a VoIP provider offers a trial, invite employees to test out the phone system along with you.

Train Your Employees on the New Phone System

Offer your employees training sessions that will walk them through the new VoIP phone system. Your training can cover how to use the VoIP software, how to manage calls across multiple devices, how to set up a voicemail inbox, and more. Many VoIP providers have ready-made training materials that you can use.

Ensure Employees Have the Equipment They Need

One of the benefits of VoIP is that employees can make and receive calls on all their devices, including their own smartphones and computers. This is a huge benefit for employees who work from home or travel for work.

However, it’s important to make sure your employees have the equipment they need if you expect them to take calls outside of the office. Ask your employees to install the VoIP provider’s app and check that it works. If employees will be working from a home computer, make sure that it’s compatible with the VoIP provider’s software.

Your VoIP Migration: Next Steps

As the “Big Switch Off” approaches in 2025, businesses still relying on landline phones will need to transition to VoIP before then.

VoIP phone systems offer numerous benefits, but it’s important to prepare adequately to ensure your VoIP migration goes smoothly. This includes taking the time to find the right VoIP provider for your business and involving your employees in the transition process. Ahead of the switch, make sure employees are set up with the equipment they need and provide training on all the features of the new phone system.

For more help with your VoIP migration, check out our guide on how to set up a VoIP phone system.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does my business have to transition to VoIP?
All businesses in the UK must transition to VoIP by December 2025, when the existing network of landlines will be shut down. The landline network is being turned off earlier in many parts of the UK, so businesses should consider making the switch to VoIP as soon as possible.
Can I transfer my existing phone number to VoIP?
Yes, you can transfer your existing business phone number when transitioning to VoIP phone service, even if you change phone providers. Contact your VoIP phone provider for help to port your number.
Can remote employees use VoIP phones?
Remote employees can make and receive VoIP phone calls using their computer, tablet, smartphone, or a VoIP-enabled desk phone. All they need to do is download your VoIP provider’s app.
Written by:
Michael is a prolific business and B2B tech writer whose articles have been published on many well-known sites, including TechRadar Pro, Business Insider and Tom's Guide. Over the past six years, he has kept readers up-to-date with the latest business technology, corporate finance matters and emerging business trends. A successful small business owner and entrepreneur, Michael has his finger firmly on the pulse of B2B tech, finance and business.
Reviewed by:
James thinks all businesses can improve if they use the right technology. At Expert Market, he utilises his 4+ years experience as a researcher to offer specialised advice on a wide range of categories from CRM to Fleet Management.