Advantages & Disadvantages of Personal Phones in the Workplace
There are plenty of factors to consider when you’re working out whether or not you should allow personal phones in your workspace. How big is your company? How many calls are you making? Is expense a factor? Can you go with a plan that takes calls to your businesses number and forwards them to your employees’ personal phones? All are worth considering. Here are some of the pros and cons of allowing personal devices in the workplace.
Pro: Better Employee Familiarity With Their Own Device
Devices always come with a learning curve. Not a big learning curve, but it exists all the same. You can skip said learning curve by allowing employees to use their own device. They already carry their personal device with them everywhere, they understand how it works, and they already have their own system for keeping track of contacts and whatnot. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Con: Potential Software Clashes
If your company uses mobile software essential to getting business done, it may not work on all devices your employees use. Troubleshooting issues across iOS, Android, Windows, and other devices may become a significant drag on your IT department—which is why they’re an essential voice in deciding whether or not you allow personal phones in your workplace.
Pro: Employees Take Care of Maintenance
Phones require regular system updates and backing up. Your employees already do this on their own devices, and every bit of maintenance they do is maintenance your IT support doesn’t have to worry about.
Con: The Distraction Factor
A cursory glance at the news suggests that, when it comes to personal phones in the workplace, this is the biggest reason employers ban personal phones in the workplace. The temptation to use personal phones for gossip, game playing, and other delights of the digital playground is very high. One school of thought holds that distraction isn’t so bad; maybe an employee who takes a five-minute Flappy Bird break is more productive overall. It really comes down to this question: how much do you trust your employees?
Pro: Employees Expect More Work-Life Balance
In some offices, personal calls are grounds for a write-up. In others, they’re permitted and nobody bats an eye. Guess which kind of office employees prefer? Of course, more people are attracted to businesses that offer employees better work-life balance, and personal phones are a little piece of an employee’s life outside of work. Personal calls, not to mention personal email, banking, health tracking, and so much more are things achieved on personal phones. Curtailing them means curtailing activities relevant to an employee’s life outside of work. If your employees can get their jobs done well, what do a few personal calls matter?
The Bottom Line
Whatever direction you go with, make sure the policy is clear and clearly communicated. Employees should understand what the rules are, why they exist, and see that they are enforced consistently and fairly.