Should You Use Your Personal Cell Phone for Business?

  • Should You Use Your Personal Cell Phone for Business?


    Through my personal experience and conversations with many friends and colleagues over the years, I’ve found one thing in common; many feel pressure from employers to stay on top of every work issue even while away from the office. These demands significantly impact work/life balance.

    Now while some employers may give employees company cell phones to use, more and more companies are allowing employees to use their personal device to conduct work in exchange for paying a portion of their bill. Sounds fair right? Well you have to ask yourself, what are you giving up for the comfort of using your personal device?

    Is there an expectation for you to respond to all communications no matter the time/day just because your employer pays a portion of the bill?

    Do you have to answer text messages from your boss after hours? (Many of my clients and friends have dealt with this particular issue.)

    Here’s the catch-22 when using your personal phone for work: Your employer may have the authority to wipe your phone clean if you resign or are terminated from the company.

    How can they do that?!?! Well you see, you have access to their privileged information and they have to protect this information at all costs.

    Sure, there are pros and cons for each side of this personal cell phone use debacle; but who benefits the most here? Is it equally beneficial or more so for the employer or employee?

    Naturally, you may feel that it is unfair to wipe your phone clean, causing you to lose all personal contacts and information; however, the employer must protect their information as well and how would they differentiate a personal contact entry from a business contact entry?

    Now I’ve found many flexible associates actually prefer to use their personal cell phones for business because it allows them to do things a company cell phone wouldn’t normally allow, such as texting or taking photographs.

    Using a company phone for work helps to eliminate communication issues. Workerstend to be more cautious when they use a company cell phone because they know there are limits and boundaries they should not cross.

    So when does work time end and personal time begin; and vice versa?

    Let’s say you prefer working from your personal device and want to avoid the hassle of keeping up with two mobile devices, do you feel obligated to answer a work email or texts received on your personal time? Think about how much time you spend checking company emails or sending work related text messages while “off the clock”. Could you take some of that personal time back if you had a company cell phone you could just lock away when you decide work time is over and personal time begins?

    How realistic is it to stop work communications from invading your life while using the same device for personal communications? The temptation to check the personal email is heavy when it’s so easily accessible from your personal phone.

    I have personally chosen to use a separate device for my work because it allows me to have the option to physically detach myself from work and focus on personal time without work interruptions.

    If you decide to use your personal device for work, here’s my advice – read your pro forma agreement first. It will tell you a lot about what you can and cannot do with your personal phone and its contents if you choose to use it for company work.

    Lauren Weber said it best in her article in the Wall Street Journal “Phone wiping is just another example of the complications that emerge when the distinctions between our work and personal lives collapse”.

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