For many people, the line between their personal and work lives becomes blurry at times throughout their careers.
One of the most common ethical issues that people face today is whether it is ok to use their personal cell phones for work on behalf of their employers.
It is inevitable that you will be faced with this choice. Without a doubt, it is a good idea to evaluate where you stand on the issue and also understand its benefits. Why?
There are actually quite a few advantages for both the employee and the company when a worker uses a personal cell phone in an employer’s corporate environment for the company’s purposes.
Here are some of the most important facts to know about using your personal cell phone at your employer’s request.
There are some people who have different cell phones for every area of their lives. This is probably not good for several reasons. First of all, it creates a lot of confusion in your life and makes it tough to stay organized.
Believe me, I have been there and I only had two phones. Fortunately for me, they looked very different. Otherwise, it would have been an impossible situation.
It is still not advisable to have more than one phone—if you plan to maintain your sanity that is. Quite simply put, it is just difficult to keep up with all of your different phones.
Some companies require their employees to have a work phone and a personal cell phone. There are times when you might not have the work phone available and you have to use your personal one for work purposes.
Instead of worrying, use this as an opportunity to show your boss or work peers that you can be flexible. You are looking for the positive side in the situation.
Many times people are more comfortable with how their own cell phones function. They understand the features of their personal phones.
And in those cases when they do not, they might be more likely to spend time learning the new functions because they are paying for the phones.
Also, it is likely that they have chosen their own features and services and are doubly invested in that decision-making process (money and choice).
But even with a personal phone, people might come across something when they are not at work that they need to record to retrieve later. This could look like notes, pictures, or sudden ideas that they want to present to their bosses the next day.
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Instead of passing up the opportunity because you only have your personal cell phone, go ahead and collect the needed information.
This is a great way for you to make a positive impact on your job, especially when you’re experiencing an awesome brainstorm that hit you during your off hours!
Many companies are trying to do everything that they can to save money. In the current economic climate, businesses are often having trouble staying profitable. It is always a good idea for companies to cut expenses where the costs are not adding value.
From a company perspective, it is less expensive to let employees use their personal phones for work and not to pay for a company phone. Over time, these small savings will add up to something big.
How Do Companies Do It?
Having worked as head of the technology department at various firms, and most notably financial firms, I have some experience in the budget area on this one.
The easiest way to implement personal cell phone use into a corporate structure is to put allowances into place. Doing so is similar to the per diem process for those who travel on behalf of their companies.
In this case, employees receive a certain allowance in order to use their personal phones for company business when the need should arise.
Another way to provide compensation is to have the employees expense the usage. What this entails is for them to export their phone bills (i.e. to an Excel spreadsheet).
They then highlight all of their business calls and calculate what percentage of usage those calls comprised, compared to the overall usage of the phone. The company is responsible for that percentage of their cell phone bill.
The second method generally proves too complicated for most employees. Or they do not revel in the idea of that much math.
The first method, providing an allowance that can help alleviate the phone usage costs, is a much more amicable solution.
So what is the next step? If you happen to be in charge of deciding whether or not to allow personal cell phone use, there you have it!
If not, bring the idea up to your boss. Maybe you can get a promotion for having such an awesome idea for saving your company’s money.
P.S.—For those of you who run your own small business, this is also a consideration for you when you add members to your team.
Consider the benefits of implementing the allowance program and singing its praises. Then you don’t have to worry about the hassle of purchasing phones for all of your contract employees if that was the road you were headed down. Problem solved!
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