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Most business owners don’t think twice about using a personal phone for work. After all, it might seem the most convenient option. But there are serious downsides to not separating your work phone and personal phone.
Certain habits are so ingrained in us that we seldom question their utility. They become part of our routine and we tend to be oblivious to their negative effects. Using a personal phone for work is one such practice that comes naturally but has serious consequences.
Using a personal phone for work vs using a business phone
Using a personal phone for work under BYOD
The assumptions behind carrying a work phone and personal phone
The benefits of carrying two phones
The disadvantages of having two phones
Why you should avoid using your personal phone number for work
Does an employer have to pay for their employee’s mobile phone?
Alternatives to carrying two phones
Adding a business phone number to your personal mobile phone
VoIP for business: Why it makes sense
Use Chalkboard: Ready to add this virtual business line to your personal phone?
Using a personal phone for work may not seem like a problem to employees, especially if they are not in client-facing roles. But business owners face issues if they don’t have a dedicated work phone and personal phone. Here are the key differences between using a personal phone for work and using a dedicated business number.
When you only have one number for work and your personal life, all calls and texts will come through to that same number. You won’t immediately know whether a call is work-related or personal. You will always be expected to answer the phone even when you’re with family or friends.
With a business phone, you will know that all incoming calls and texts will be related to work. By setting your working hours, you can separate your work and personal life and be present wherever you are.
Just like a professional website, social media page or email address, a business phone number makes businesses look professional. It shows that you care enough about your customers to have a dedicated channel of communication.
Using a personal phone for work may not be a problem for your existing customers. But if it’s a prospective customer or lead, they would want to know that they’re talking to a credible business.
Depending on where you get your business phone number from, you will also have access to several tools to optimise your communication. You can set voicemail, auto-reply, call forwarding, call queueing, texting capabilities and multimedia messaging. All these help to make your business seem credible.
These business tools also help level the playing field. Whether you’re an independent salon, restaurant, auto maintenance service or freelance web designer, these features help your business seem bigger than it actually is. That can make it easier for clients to trust you.
Imagine you’re driving and are unable to answer calls. If you don’t separate your work phone and personal, this makes it difficult to identify missed calls. How will you know if a new number is from an old acquaintance or a potential customer?
With a dedicated second number for work, you will know that all communication to that number is related to your business. This also makes it easy to search for business contacts and any previous communication you’ve had with them.
Those using a personal phone for work won’t know if an incoming call from a strange number is personal or work-related. This prevents them from prioritising calls and preparing for them, which is especially problematic if you use the same number for marketing.
If you have a separate work phone and a personal phone, any incoming call to your business phone will give you time to prepare. Even a few seconds of preparation can make a difference. If need be, you can get relevant documents and prepare to ‘sound professional’ before you answer the call.
Unless you’re a solopreneur with no employees, you may have to manage your team members’ communication. You will have to reimburse their bills and make sure you have the best possible plan that saves your business money. Using a personal phone for work makes this a challenge.
It will be difficult for you and your employees to separate work-related calls from the bill and request reimbursement or label them as company expenses. But all the call and texting charges on a dedicated work number will be related to your business.
Around 3.4 million Brits are estimated to have lost £58m in phone scams. Phishing messages mostly target those between 25 and 44, with the most common tactic being ‘advance fee fraud’. More than 70 per cent of people have received suspicious texts.
Using a personal phone for work increases the visibility of your number. Anyone would be able to get it from your website, storefront, social media pages, business card, receipts or online directories. This makes it easy for scammers to target you. With a separate number for work, you can protect your personal number and enhance your digital security.
Over the last few years, businesses have been rolling out BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies to allow employees to use their personal devices for work. Under this, employees can use their personal phone, computer, or tablet instead of an officially provided device.
The popularity of BYOD can be partly explained by the regularisation of remote and hybrid work. Employees working from home now have the freedom to use their own devices. This familiarity helps them be more productive. From the organisation’s point of view, it reduces costs and empowers employees.
While BYOD has its advantages and disadvantages, some businesses tend to favour a more straightforward policy of expecting employees to use both a work phone and a personal phone.
Certain larger enterprises allow their employees to carry a work phone and a personal phone. They assume that it will be beneficial in the following ways:
With two devices (and numbers), it’s easier to separate work-related and personal calls and messages. Depending on the device that a call or message comes in on, the user will know the nature of the communication and the priority they should give it.
With a separate device for work, employees can be reached at any hour of the day or week. Using a personal phone for work might put greater pressure on the device and it might run out of charge. But using two devices ensures that the business phone will be accessible.
One of the primary reasons for demanding employees use a work phone and a personal phone is that all work-related communication will have greater security. Businesses can unify the security architecture on work devices and roll out specific protocols to restrict access and protect official documents.
When employees have a separate work phone and a personal phone, businesses can ensure that they use the same operating system and software on their business phone. This helps with seamless connectivity, security, upgrades and control. This is particularly helpful if employees also use project management or communication tools.
An exclusive number for work will help clients and customers reach employees with ease. There will be fewer instances of phones running out of charge or being switched off. Remember that if a customer can’t reach a business quickly, they could go to a competitor, or criticise your business with a negative online review, which will hurt its brand equity.
It may not be a problem for small businesses with one or two employees. But for larger organisations, a separate phone makes it easier to tabulate call and text expenses and reimburse accordingly. All an employee has to do is submit the entire bill for their work phone.
It might seem like carrying a work phone and a personal phone equally benefits businesses and their employees. But as we will see, the benefits are more for the organisations.
When using a personal phone for work, it’s difficult for employers to track, manage and reimburse the phone expenses of their employees. They may not have the time or the personnel to go through the bill and separate official and personal calls and texts.
With a separate work phone, businesses can buy both devices and planes in bulk. The discounts on bulk purchases will help them make considerable savings.
The biggest reason businesses would like their employees to carry a work phone and personal phone? It gives them constant access. Using a personal phone for work can sometimes make it difficult to reach employees because the line could be engaged or the phone could be out of charge.
But with a dedicated phone, employees are always available. Clients and customers can always call the number, expecting the employee to answer it. When such policies are rolled out without sensitive protocols, it can play havoc with their work-life balance.
Medium and large enterprises and businesses with remote and hybrid teams want their company devices to be compatible. This is a challenge when employees start using a personal phone for work.
When a business gets its employees specific devices or reimburses them for their work phones, it can demand that the users have the same brand, operating system and other software. Along with enhancing team communication, this also improves the digital security of the devices.
Carrying a work phone and a personal phone has demonstrable advantages for the business. For the employees though, it comes with certain unavoidable drawbacks.
According to Deloitte, poor mental health of employees costs organisations an astounding £56 billion a year in the UK. In the US, employee burnout is estimated to cost $190 billion every year. The loss of work-life balance is one of the most important causes of this burnout.
Without specified business hours, the work day will never end for those carrying a work phone and personal phone. Employees always have to answer calls and respond to texts. While this is always problematic, remote and hybrid work have significantly amplified the problem for distributed employees.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to manage a single phone. You have to ensure that it’s charged and regularly upgrade its software. You also have to carry the charger wherever you go. With a work phone and a personal phone, you’re doubling the problem.
When you carry two devices, there’s an increased risk of misplacing, damaging, forgetting or losing them. Considering how much official information could be on at least one of those phones; this invites needless risk.
With two phones, usually, the business is responsible for maintaining and upgrading the business phone. Companies would also need trained IT personnel to manage the process along with the standard costs for software.
No matter how advanced phones might seem, considering how fast the industry is evolving, they will have to be upgraded every two or three years. This adds to the expenses.
Everyone knows that multitasking is a myth. Regularly checking for notifications, emails and texts on two devices will interrupt the focus of employees and bring down the quality of their work.
Distraction in an office is manageable to a certain extent because the overall environment is within the business’s control. But when employees work from home, they could be distracted by family members or friends. The last thing you want is to add another source of distraction through an additional phone.
Whether you’re a business owner, freelancer or startup team member, using a personal phone for work might seem convenient at first. But here are five reasons why you shouldn’t do so.
It’s absolutely necessary to set a healthy boundary between your business and personal lives. Using a personal phone for work is inviting work to intrude into your personal life. What starts off as ‘urgent’ will soon morph into expected behaviour.
Without specified business hours or additional tools to route work-related communication, you will be expected to answer calls and messages at all hours. This is how people destroy their work-life balance.
Usually, when companies allow employees to use their personal phones for work, they would want the users to install certain security applications or company-specified messaging software on their personal devices.
In certain instances, businesses might be able to monitor how employees use their phones and have access to their personal information including emails, photos and even search history. What’s strange is that employees may not be aware of this monitoring.
While access and monitoring may not be so obvious, company restrictions on phone usage are more direct. Some businesses would have these limitations as part of their BYOD policies.
Your business might ask you to remove features such as GPS or ask you to stop using certain applications including social media. This is particularly true if you have access to the company network and documents via your phone.
Using a personal phone for work makes you responsible for the phone’s security. If your device has access to company servers and sensitive information, you may have to install additional security software for protection against malware and viruses.
You will have to be extra careful when using shared or public WiFi networks. Misplacing or losing the phone could compromise crucial company data and you could be liable for it.
In some companies, when you leave the organisation, you might be asked to erase data. While this could be considered a standard procedure, doing so might also lead to the loss of personal information including texts, photos and contact details.
This is another reason why you need to discuss the details of the BYOD policy with your manager or IT department. You might get clarity on how you can secure personal data before they remove company information from your device.
There is no legal requirement for an employer to pay for their employee’s mobile phone. For some businesses, it’s an incentive to attract and retain employees and get them to use their phones more, especially if they’re in sales, IT, customer service, repair and management.
According to the UK government regulations, there is no charge to tax on one mobile phone that an employer gives an employee and the cost of any private calls or line rental for that phone.
Clearly, there are proven disadvantages to carrying two phones and using a personal phone for work. This leaves us with two alternatives. You can either get a dual SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) phone or one with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
Some smartphones allow you to insert two SIMs. This gives you two numbers, out of which, one can be used for work. Most carriers now support this option, which also considerably reduces the device cost for employers.
You can easily add a number by installing a VoIP app. VoIP works over the internet, unlike legacy providers who use the physical network or mobile carriers who use the cellular network. The biggest advantage of VoIP is that it doesn’t require a new phone and can work on any connected device including laptops and tablets. The initial investments and monthly charges are also substantially low for VoIP.
You can get a dual SIM phone, get two phone numbers and dedicate one for all work-related calls. But the smarter way is to add a business phone number through a second phone number app.
Getting a VoIP number is the easiest option primarily because you’re merely subscribing to a service and not getting a new device or SIM. After you find a VoIP provider who specialises in your sector, check the rates and make sure that you’re only paying for the features you need.
Once you download the app on your connected devices, you will be able to make and answer calls and send and receive messages from any of them.
Business owners who want to reduce their costs and improve their business communication have stopped using a personal phone for work. They’re increasingly opting for VoIP due to the following reasons:
You can download a VoIP app on your existing phone and get a new number that you can use exclusively for work. You can also use it on all connected devices.
Unlike legacy phone systems, VoIP can be used by employees working remotely, since all it needs is a reliable internet connection.
Since you don’t need additional devices or any physical infrastructure, VoIP costs are substantially lower. Plus, the call charges are significantly low, especially for long-distance and international calls.
To get a new business number, all a new employee needs to do is download the app and log in with your business’s credentials. This makes VoIP a highly scalable system suited for small businesses and startups.
You can download a VoIP app, get your new number and start using it within a matter of minutes. Most apps also have easy-to-use interfaces that don’t require any training.
Chalkboard gives you all the reasons you need to stop using a personal phone for work. This second line for work is highly affordable and rich with business features. Without getting a work phone and a personal phone, now you can separate your work and personal life.
The unique combination of world-class features and small business-friendly pricing makes this virtual business line such a compelling proposition.
Download Chalkboard today and choose a number instantly. It has everything a business owner needs – and much more.
All information provided in this guide was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of future changes.
Read this complete guide if you’re considering implementing a BYOD policy for your business
While 'bring your own device' or BYOD may have its advantages, it's a bad idea to combine your work phone and personal phone