The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend continues to grow as more companies embrace remote work. BYOD means that employees use their personal devices, like cellphones or laptops, for work purposes — instead of being issued company hardware.

In 2021, the percentage of people working from home is expected to double to 34%, according to a survey of 1,200 executives. So the BYOD trend is likely here to stay.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take time to consider the potential downsides of using their personal devices for business communication. 

We’ll tell you what you need to know about using your personal phone for work — especially if you’re also using your personal phone number. And we’ll share what you can do instead to maintain your work-life balance.

Using a Personal Phone for Work vs. Using a Business Phone

Being able to use your personal cellphone rather than a work phone issued by your employer has some benefits. For one, you don’t have to carry an extra phone around. And you have the freedom to use whatever device you want (for all you Apple-only folks).

However, there are some drawbacks to using your own mobile phone. 

Some employers have strict company policies and security protocols surrounding customer and company data. And introducing your personal device into their communication channels can expose them to risk.  

To mitigate that, some employers will install a work profile on Android phones or a mobile device management (MDM) app on iOS devices to monitor and ensure the security of the data that passes through it. Yes, it is legal. 

Or you may need to connect through your company’s virtual private network (VPN) to conduct business remotely. 

Both scenarios would expose all of your personal data — contacts, photos, texts, social media interactions — to your employer. 

If your company needs this level of control over your device, you may want to consider using separate cellphones for personal use and business purposes. 

Why You Should Avoid Using Your Personal Phone Number for Work

If your company doesn’t use work profiles, MDM, or VPNs, then using your personal device as a company phone is a convenient option. However, you should avoid using your personal cellphone number at all costs. Here’s why.  

1. Disruption of Work-Life Balance

Once you give your personal phone number to business contacts, your work-life balance could go out the window. 

You may start receiving work-related calls at all hours, especially if you work for a global organization spanning multiple time zones. And unless you adhere to strict business hours while you work from home (or silence your phone), your personal and home life could suffer. 

2. Inability To Keep Work and Personal Calls Separate

When everyone uses the same phone number to call you, it becomes impossible to distinguish between personal and business calls. You’ll never know what “hat” you’ll need to wear until you pick up the phone. 

You may inadvertently pick up a phone call that requires strict professionalism during your off-hours while your child screams in the background. Or you could disrupt important business matters by picking up a personal call that could have waited.  

3. Negative Impact on Customer Relationships

When you use your personal phone number for work, suddenly your personal device has an influx of work contacts intermingled with your friends and family. Texts and voicemails from customers and co-workers become interspersed with your personal SMS and MMS messages. 

It’s easy to see how critical work-related messages could slip through the cracks. Such disorganization could impact the level of service you’re able to provide your customers and prospects. I mean, who hasn’t texted the wrong personal contact before? Think of sending a meme or message meant for your best friend to a business contact. Awkward and poor business SMS etiquette

4. Loss of Privacy

Sharing your personal phone number is like letting a genie out of a bottle. There’s no pushing it back in — unless of course you get yourself a new phone number. 

And what might have been an act of good faith to your entire personal client roster may affect you for years to come. Imagine continuing to receive business-related calls from those contacts long after you change employers. 

And we should mention, depending on the kind of work you do, there may be legitimate security concerns over sharing your number. Doing so could make it easier to find your home address and other personal information.  

Does My Employer Have To Pay for My Cellphone?

The short answer is, nope. When it comes to utilizing your own phone for business uses, there’s no federal requirement that employers have to provide a stipend or reimbursement. 

However, if you live in California, its state labor code section 2802 does require employers to reimburse cellphone bills thanks to a 2014 ruling made in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service. Even if an employee’s cellphone plan includes unlimited minutes, the employer is required to reimburse a portion of the bill.

Of course, if you’re self-employed, you can write off cellphone use as a business expense per the IRS.

Even though it’s not legally required, most employers are happy to pay for or reimburse for a service like OpenPhone — especially since the prices are hard to beat. OpenPhone’s plans are affordable for small businesses while still offering the capabilities needed by larger, more complex organizations.

  • Standard plan: Starting at $10 per user per month, you get the robust features you’re looking for, like group messaging, call forwarding, voicemail to text, and auto-replies.
  • Premium plan: For as little as $20 per user per month, you get all the features of the Standard plan but add call transfers, analytics and reporting, and priority support.
  • Enterprise plan: If your business needs more customization, OpenPhone will work with you to tailor the perfect plan.

OpenPhone: The BYOD Solution

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF

OpenPhone eliminates every problem associated with using your personal phone number for work. 

And that’s huge.

With OpenPhone, you get a separate virtual business phone number to use instead of your personal number. Here’s what that means for you. 

1. Maintain Your Work-Life Balance

With a dedicated business phone number, you won’t have to worry about getting calls at all hours. You can eliminate the silly expectation that you’re always available. With OpenPhone, you can set business hours so that you can enjoy your personal time without interruption. 🎉

If you manage a team, this can also help with employee retention. Companies that provide a good work-life balance have 25% less employee turnover

2. Keep Your Work Calls Separate

With a separate business number you’ll be able to differentiate between work and personal calls and handle them with the level of attention and professionalism they deserve. You’ll never be caught off guard by a business call you thought was personal.  

And because there’s no commingling of business and personal contacts, voicemails, or text messages, you can take care of work-related tasks with intention and efficiency with your new second phone number. 😁

3. Deliver Great Customer Service

With OpenPhone’s intuitive dashboard and lightweight CRM, you’ll have insight into every communication with your contacts and customers from any platform or device. Having proper context means you’ll be able to determine how to best serve them. 

And because OpenPhone integrates with the workflows and tools you already use (like Slack, Zapier, and HubSpot), you can collaborate with workmates and entire teams from anywhere, no problem. 🙌

4. Protect Your Privacy

Since you won’t be giving out your personal cellphone number, you won’t continue to receive calls from former business contacts if you move on to other employment. And you won’t have to worry about disgruntled customers paying you a house call either. 👮

And because OpenPhone is a cloud-based app, company and customer data isn’t stored on your phone. So there’s no need for employers to monitor or put controls on your device. If they want insight into your communication with customers, they can use OpenPhone’s robust analytics and reporting capabilities instead.


5. Use Your Virtual Number Anywhere

You can easily access your virtual number via WiFi from most devices and from virtually (pun intended) anywhere. Text and call from your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

See How We’ve Reimagined the Business Phone

Using personal phone for work: Screenshots of OpenPhone desktop and mobile apps

Now you understand the potential complications of using your personal phone for work and why you definitely don’t want to use your personal phone number. Are you ready to try using a separate phone number for business? 

If you’re still on the fence, we want to introduce you to Michael Seibel. He’s the CEO at Y Combinator. Here’s what he had to say about OpenPhone: “Just a piece of advice. I used my personal cell number as the company number and I still regret it a decade later (I get so many stupid calls). Don’t do what I did. I wish I had a service like this 10 years ago!”

Try the No. 1 business phone app trusted by thousands of professionals today. You’ll be up and running in one minute with OpenPhone’s seven-day free trial.

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Amy is a professional B2B writer who drives results for SaaS and marketing brands. Like a chameleon, she instantly assumes a brand's unique voice and delivers content that never bores readers.

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