Is Using Your Personal Cell Phone for Work a Good Idea?

More and more employers are realizing that happy employees make more productive employees. They’re beginning to offer more than just a competitive salary so the people that work for them have everything they need to succeed.

One benefit of this trend is the rise of personal cell phone programs in the workplace.

Before you decide to mix business and pleasure, here are some things you need to think about to make sure it’s right for you.

What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

Simply put, BYOD is exactly what it sounds like – you “bring your own device” and use it for work.

Typically, your employer pays part, or all, of the bill in exchange for you using your own smartphone to do business.

Shouldn’t Work and Personal Phones Be Separate?

It depends on the person, and the company. Some BYOD programs are very employee friendly, and some favor the employer. Here are some things to investigate as you decide whether bringing your own device is for you.

Will my company help pay for my phone?

In most cases, you’ll have to shoulder the cost of your cell phone. It doesn’t mean you have to buy a new one, though. A typical BYOD policy is designed so that you can use the phone you’re most comfortable with instead of being forced to use devices from the vendor your employer has a contract with. Or you can shop for a new smartphone when you want to, rather than wait for your company to upgrade the phone you’ve got.

If your employer is willing to help you buy a device of your choosing, that’s a factor that’s definitely in your favor.

Are there any restrictions on how I use my BYOD phone?

Many companies want to protect their proprietary data or any information that could give a competitor an edge. Some might want their employees to project a certain image. Some might not care how you use your phone.

It’s important to find out what your company’s usage policy is for BYOD. If they restrict you from social media apps or GPS and you use these functions often, bringing your own device might not be a good idea for you.

Won’t My Business and Personal Contacts and Information Get Mixed Together

The most challenging part of BYOD might not be navigating your company’s policy. It could be keeping all your business and personal information separate.

Luckily, Android devices have a “User Profiles” feature that lets you set up different accounts on your phone. Each profile can “see” different apps and functions, and all their data is kept separated. Or, each profile can have full access to everything.

Typically, user profiles are used for spouses and families sharing phones, but a creative way to use this function would be to set up a personal and business account for yourself.

What happens if I leave the company?

This is a critical scenario to investigate. Even though the device is yours, some BYOD policies allow your employer to require you to wipe your phone clean if you quit or are fired. In some cases, you might lose your contacts or personal photos.

Some policies don’t have this provision, or offer you a way to backup personal information as you remove what’s relevant to your own job.

Before you decide to use your own smartphone for your job, do your homework. The last thing you want is an unexpected surprise months or years down the road.