There may be a new ringtone in your life ― the urgent chime of a company-issued phone
The work phone has fallen out of fashion in recent years — after all, if everyone already has mobile phone, what’s the point in carrying (and paying for) two?
But now, with concerns among business leaders and governments about TikTok and WhatsApp installed on work phones, some are asking if the humble company-issued phone is poised to make a comeback. (TikTok panic even hit the Forest City last week, with city employees now barred from having TikTok installed on city phones.)
“With TikTok addiction being a concern, and GroupMe, WhatsApp and Twitter holding a firm grip on our screen time, there’s a potential conflict between work and personal life being conducted on the same device,” wrote Scott Moritz of Bloomberg.
He noted that major American carriers have seen huge subscriber growth in the last year, which puzzled some as cell phones are thought to have more or less reached a saturation point. Work phone trends may offer a clue.
“The resurgence comes more than a decade after the need for work-dedicated devices started to fade. Once phones got smarter and new applications could cordon off work and play activities, having a second device was an unnecessary cost for big companies.”
Today’s TikTok fears are likely being stoked amidst broader concern over relations with China, but they are really just part of a larger, years-long process of working out how to manage work and home lives colliding on a single device.
“Employees are going to use whatever personal apps they desire,” observed CIO Dive’s associate editor Samantha Ann Schwartz. “And where those apps tap into on devices is extensive.”
But that then raises a question: if you can’t have TikTok on your phone due to fears about access to corporate data, shouldn’t corporate data be kept off your phone entirely? And if so, then what? “There’s a reason business professionals used to carry two phones,” said Schwartz’s colleague Naomi Eide.
Anecdotal data suggests this might be the new trend, and we may go back to the days of it being normal to carry a work-issued second phone. In some industries, that future is already here ― with one investment banker observing that “it seems like everyone has two phones now.”
Content written by Kieran Delamont for Worklife, a partnership between Ahria Consulting and London Inc. To view this content in newsletter form, click here.