You want to be reachable for your customers. But if your team is carrying two phones for work and personal (or even worse, using their personal cell number for work), this comes with a lot of downsides that are holding your business back — and perhaps even hurting your back if you have two phones in your pockets.
Here’s why having separate work and personal devices isn’t the best solution, along with a better alternative that can get you all the perks of two numbers (and more).
Common reasons people carry two phones for work and personal use
Some companies provide work phones to their team based on these benefits they assume are only exclusive to separate phones:
- Separate work and personal: Since all communication comes from separate devices, employees can know when they’re getting calls and texts from work contacts and can answer during business hours.
- Stay organized: You and your team can keep up with business conversations by ensuring missed work-related calls, texts, and voicemails aren’t hidden between personal ones.
- Protect your team’s privacy: Help your team members avoid spam calls and client calls after hours by keeping personal numbers private.
- Get the right business features: You can ensure your team is putting their best feet forward by having the phones that support the features your team needs to deliver a great customer experience.
While separate phones can offer these perks, there are often just as many downsides — including some that may hinder your ability to fully reap the benefits. Let’s start with how carrying two phones can support these needs.
Advantages of carrying two phones
Carrying a second phone can be a good way for businesses to keep their organizations running smoothly from day to day. When you invest in work phones for employees, you can get these three perks.
1. Dedicated business phone number
The best part of carrying two phones is getting a dedicated business phone number for all your work calls and text messages, which lets your team members know if an incoming call is from a personal or business contact, so they can respond professionally to incoming work-related calls.
2. Compatible devices
Have you ever heard an iPhone user complain about green text bubbles on their screen? Keeping your team members on the same operating system, whether Android or iOS, is more than a matter of preference for businesses. It ensures all your work phones are compatible with the business apps your team needs and the level of security your company policy requires.
3. Potential discounts
Some cell phone providers offer discounts for bulk device purchases, as well as for enterprise phone plans. If you’re currently reimbursing your team members for their personal phone costs, this can help your business save money and time in the long run. When you supply the phone, you’ll know exactly how much your monthly phone-related expenses are, making it easier to track and budget for. Plus, it’ll save you the hassle of reminding your team to submit their expenses for reimbursement.
Disadvantages of carrying two phones
Carrying two phones can be a huge hassle for your team members, and it often comes with extra costs that can add up. Let’s look at some more reasons to avoid carrying two phones.
1. High upfront expenses
The average smartphone costs $652 per employee. Plus, all these other expenses that quickly add up: phone service plans, data rates, shipping devices to remote team members, and any tools to monitor device usage.
2. Extra costs to upgrade
Whether you invest in Apple or Android phones for your team, you shouldn’t expect to use the same devices for long. The average lifespan of a smartphone is less than three years. Even if your mobile phones don’t have any issues, they may no longer receive software and security updates after some time.
3. Poor work-life balance
Providing two different phones for business and personal use may seem beneficial for work-life balance. However, switching off from work can be harder than it sounds — especially if your team members keep getting notifications after they clock out. In fact, 55% of employees still feel pressured to answer calls after work.
Unless your team members manually turn on Do Not Disturb mode for the cell phone number on their work phones each night — and remember to turn it off the next morning — they may continue to feel like they can’t escape work. But if they do turn on Do Not Disturb, it may leave clients unhappy. Most cell phones don’t allow users to set away messages specifically for after-hours callers, so your team members can’t communicate why they’re not responding and set expectations with customers on when they can expect your team to follow up.
4. More maintenance needs
Taking care of a single phone can already be hard. When carrying two phones, your team members will have to deal with the hassle of ensuring the software stays up to date on two devices. It’s also easier to lose or damage a phone when you’re having to carry around two of them.
Plus, your business may need to keep an IT department around to help team members troubleshoot issues on mobile devices they’re not familiar with. Your IT team would also likely be responsible for managing security risks.
5. Inability to concentrate
Similarly, carrying two phones can make it harder for team members to focus during the workday. When they get notifications on their personal phones, they may get distracted from their tasks — only now, they’ll be switching between two phones, which can interrupt their workflow. Carrying two phones can end up adding another layer of distractions on top of the occasional social media notification or personal call.
A better alternative to carrying two phones
You don’t need to carry two phones to have two phone numbers. With a virtual phone system like OpenPhone, you can provide your team with business phone numbers they can use on any device — including their personal cell phone — as long as they have an internet connection. All your team members need to do is download an app on their own phone and they’ll be able to manage work and personal calls separately on one device. You get all the benefits of carrying two phones without any of the hassles.
Plus, setting up a virtual phone system leads to far more perks for both businesses and employees than using any standard cell phone.
Benefits of a virtual phone system
Switching to a virtual phone system simply makes sense for modern businesses. Here are six perks of using a virtual phone system like OpenPhone instead of carrying two phones.
1. Get set up the same day
Even if you’re fast, setting up a new device and getting those phones physically to your team can take time. You can create an account and get a virtual phone number within minutes. Once you download your virtual phone provider’s app, you can fully set up your phone system — including caller ID and professional voicemail greetings — the same day.
2. Scale with ease
You won’t have to worry about buying or setting up a new phone each time you hire a new team member. You’ll simply need to add a small monthly fee — starting at $13 per user per month with OpenPhone — and your new hire can use their new business number from their own cell phone, work computer, or any other device. Plus, adding new team members to your OpenPhone workspace is as easy as sending an email invite.
When you want to expand to a new market, OpenPhone can help you get a local number in the US or Canada that your target audience instantly recognizes and is more relevant to them. If you want to make it easy for customers across North America to reach you, OpenPhone also offers toll-free numbers.
3. Collaborate with team members
Virtual phone systems offer a lot more than compatibility. OpenPhone lets your team members share business numbers, so they can share contacts and collaborate on calls and texts. You can provide clients with one number for all sales or support calls, and have a phone menu that automatically routes callers to specific team members.
4. Work from anywhere
You can use your virtual phone system anywhere in the world if you have an internet connection — WiFi, a data connection, or another internet source. Team members can stay on top of phone calls and text messages even while working remotely.
OpenPhone can help you reduce costs if you have clients or employees who live abroad. Every plan comes with free unlimited calls to the US and Canada, and you can get more affordable international rates than what cell phone carriers typically offer.
5. Automatically set expectations when your team is off
Virtual phone systems can actually help your team members separate their work and personal lives — and ensure customers know when they can expect to hear back from you. Simply set your business hours on your app and OpenPhone will automatically send calls to voicemail and pause text message push notifications after work hours.
Plus, you can set up voicemail messages and text message auto-replies specifically for after-hours callers to let them know when you’ll be available. If you want to be seen as highly responsive, you can even have auto-replies that go out for missed calls, new voice messages, and incoming texts received during business hours.
6. Save hours on data entry
Using a virtual phone system gives you access to plenty of time-saving features you can’t get on a standard cell phone or landline. For example, OpenPhone supports text message automations and integrations with popular business apps — including Zapier, Slack, Salesforce, and HubSpot — to save time on repetitive manual tasks and provide your team with more context inside the tools you already use.
The bottom line: Should I carry two phones for work and personal use?
While carrying two phones can help you separate work and personal communications, it’s not the best way to support your team’s needs. A virtual phone is a flat-out more convenient option and benefits your customers far more. With OpenPhone, you don’t have to worry about bulk ordering phones and a laundry list of upfront expenses. You can provide dedicated business phone numbers your team members can use on any device, anywhere they have an internet connection — and you’ll get extra features like shared numbers, integrations, and automations. See how much easier and effective it is. Sign up for your free, seven-day trial of OpenPhone.
Emily is a freelance business and marketing writer based in the desert, though her writing is anything but dry. Her passion is writing compelling, human-friendly content that helps growing businesses perform better.