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Should Companies Provide Work Phones to Employees?

by Yolando B. Adams

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of U.S. employees use their personal mobile devices at work, and most of them give their personal phone numbers to clients or customers. As companies transition to remote working, more employees are working from home. They survive by using their phones and other personal gadgets, such as laptops, PC, and printers.
Work Phones
On the other hand, most employers have recognized the rising cybersecurity threats in the remote environment. To prevent exposure to company data, employers are providing laptops and separate mobile devices for work purposes. This also means that they have to cover the cost of phone screen repairs, faulty computer systems, and software updates.

Despite the benefits of company-owned devices, many employees opt to use their personal devices because of familiarity. At the same time, other employers refuse to provide work devices because of the expensive costs. In this article, we’ll look at which employees require company phone and their benefits and disadvantages.

Who needs company phones?

Here’s a fact. Not all employees need company phones. It would help if you considered many factors, such as the nature of work, frequency of travel, communication with clients, and team collaboration.

If your company involves many overseas transactions, then providing a company phone would be an appropriate decision. Not all phones are good to use abroad, so employees need something outside the country and in the office.

Tech support staff also require phones so you can easily notify them to fix technical issues within a given time frame. It also includes on-call employees, such as doctors and medical professionals who need to be available during emergencies. In life and death situations, time is significant, which is why on-call employees need company phones to ensure they’re within reach.

The rise of remote work culture also stressed the need for company phones and laptops for those who work at home. Not all employees have the privilege to own updated devices, so companies provide devices to ensure they’re performing their duties productively. An outdated device can lead to work inefficiencies such as poor connection, inability to access programs, and a malfunctioning device.

Most employers include work phones as a company benefit. This works best for companies that are very keen on security practices. But this may not be a practical option for businesses who struggle financially.

The advantages of company phones

One of the major benefits of providing company phones is every person in the company uses the same hardware and software. The employer or the IT manager will decide the operating system and carrier appropriate for work use so everyone can collaborate and communicate more efficiently.

Investing in company phones can be a cost-effective solution by paying only to a single provider instead of reimbursing employees on various plans. Since you’ll create multiple accounts under a single provider, you’ll likely pay less and even receive big discounts or promos. It’s like buying wholesale—the more company phones, the less you pay for each line.

For on-call employees, company phones allow you to contact them during odd hours. Whether it’s an emergency or a tech issue, you can communicate with them wherever they are. A business where managers and employees can communicate instantly can mean a difference between succeeding or failing businesses.

The disadvantages of company phones

Of course, company phones also have their disadvantages. The cost of smartphones and other modern devices comes with larger expenses over the long term. Technology is changing rapidly, which puts pressure on businesses to keep pace with such changes.

While computer hardware and software last for several years, it doesn’t apply to smartphones. Most old phones cannot keep up with constant updates in terms of performance and speed.

The idea of carrying one or two phones at a time causes hassle on employees’ end. Some struggle to find a balance to determine which phone to use for business and routing company calls to personal cellphones.

The distribution of company phones leads to extra responsibility for tech teams. Besides handling computers and laptops, IT staff should also manage the updates and servicing for every company phone.

Although work phones are a great investment, not all companies need them. Think about if they’re appropriate for the business and employees. They may aid in productivity, but you don’t want to incur unnecessary expenses for the company.

There’s a lower chance that companies will give up remote work, given its many benefits to both employers and staff. Thus, it’s not surprising that the use of personal devices for work will be even greater. In this case, companies need to educate managers and employees about the implications of having a phone or any computing device in terms of security and productivity.

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