man on two phones

One phone or two?

When reviewing our business mobile habits, one or two mobile phones has become a growing consideration. For many of us it’s not that straight forward a choice, though generally we find that mobile users fall into three main profiles:

  • The sole trader who relies on their mobile to be responsive when out and about with their business whilst staying in touch with friends and family.
  • The employee of a small business of whose customers expect them be contactable on a mobile but perhaps aren’t issued with a company mobile.
  • The employee of a larger business which issues all workers who need to be contactable outside of the office with a company mobile.

We’ve put together a quick pros and cons list of 1 phone versus 2 to help you decide what’s best for you:

One Phone

Pros: Cons:
Only one device to carry around
Work calls and emails still come through when you’re at leisure – not great for employees who want to switch off
One number to remember
As an employer if you operate BYOD scheme the expenses admin can be a bit onerous
Sole traders are less likely to lose out on business requests out of hours
Security can be an issue when using the device for work apps without company grade software
Better employee engagement through familiarity of device
When employees leave, untangling company data can get messy

Two Phones

Pros: Cons:
Keep work and personal separate
The employee has to carry around two devices
Easy to manage costs
Engagement may be low on utilising the apps if the device is not a preferred model
Benefit from a business tariff that shares data across employees
You pay for the device and all of the tariff
Easily control access to apps and keep in line with data protection and security regulations
Larger companies will need to allocate resource to manage the fleet

To go into a bit more depth in some of these areas we think that it all comes back to which type of user you are.

Best for sole traders

We recommend one device – most start-ups will rely on their existing network of contacts who may already have a personal number. Plus, when you start up you will more than likely be mid-contract so it’s best to wait for your upgrade to look at switching contracts so it’s more suitable for your business usage. This would be the best time to consider switching to a business tariff – more on that in a future post!

Best for small & medium businesses

This is the area where each case is so individual. If you just have a few employees who need to use a mobile for when they’re travelling or for you to reach them it’s probably best you come to an arrangement where you cover a portion of their bill. If you actually want the employee to have company data on their phone and work remotely regularly you must make sure you establish a proper BYOD policy. This should have robust security, remote lock and wipe and a clear understanding of when the employee is contactable on their personal number. According to the 2017 study 59% of organisations allow employees to use their own devices for work purposes. Another 13% had planned to allow use within a year. A staggering 87% of companies rely on their employees using personal devices to access business apps. If this all seems like too much hassle, then we suggest you invest in supporting a traditional company issue phone on a business tariff.

Security & Byod

There are risks associated with a poorly managed BYOD policy. Perhaps the most worrying for employers is the threat to security. Phones are easily lost, which presents a real danger if it has been used to access or store confidential company data.

The risk goes in the other direction too. Employees use their devices for their own ends as well as for work, accessing websites or adding content as they see fit. In this manner, they could unintentionally infect their device with malware that could provide a backdoor for hackers into company systems.

Analysts recommend that well-managed BYOD policies should isolate business use from personal. Employers should consider making provision for remotely deleting sensitive data from devices that belong to ex-employees or have gone missing. Employees should also protect their devices with a password.

Switching off from work

One of the main concerns in our new, flexible working lifestyle is the ability to switch off. When you have a company phone as well as a personal one it’s much easier to turn it off and leave work behind outside of office hours if you want to. As an employer, if your employees use their own mobiles, respect their downtime and holidays. Ensure other colleagues are set-up to manage their enquiries when away from work.

Phones that keep work and play separate

There are some smartphones that have a clever set-up that allows you to personalise the profile for work and personal so you can choose which mode to be in. Both the Android and iOS operating system have their own versions.

Apple uses its unified management framework to broach this issue.  More about this can be found here. Android users can set up work profile – check out their advice here.

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