According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, 68% of U.S. adults owned a smartphone. That number jumps to over 80% for adults between 18 and 49, who make up the bulk of the workforce. Considering the time that has passed since that initial survey, it’s likely that those numbers have climbed.
The prevalence of smartphones has made it easier than ever to stay connected and entertained, but what does it mean for your office? Are smartphones a distraction for your employees? Or are they a critical business tool? Most importantly, have smartphones replaced the office phone as we know it?
Advantages of a Desk Phone
There was a time when the desk phone was a lifeline to the outside world. It was the only way for new customers to reach you and your sales team would not be caught outside of earshot of its ring. But times have changed.
Customers now have a huge range of ways to reach you -- from your website to your Twitter -- and you are just as likely to find a salesperson sending out prospecting emails as you are to see them glued to a headset. In the changing technological climate, does the desk phone even have advantages?
It turns out that yes, there are a few reasons that some people prefer a desk phone. First, those employees that utilize their desk phone for work exclusively are better able to delineate their time between work and home. Those that use their smartphones for both work and personal purposes may find it more difficult to shut work off and have much needed down time where they are not tethered to their phones.
More practically speaking, many office buildings simply do not have great cell phone reception. Desk phones tend to be better in terms of reliability, making it easier to stay in touch with customers, clients, and even other offices. Both VoIP reliability and traditional phone systems mean fewer dropped calls and better clarity, which is a better experience on both ends of the line.
Advantages of Going Phone Free
Of course, there are also a few advantages to getting rid of the desk phones in your office. First of all, desk phones can really clutter up a workspace, particularly for those users who find little need for them. Web developers and graphic designers would be much happier with more space for computer peripherals instead of taking up precious square inches with a phone they rarely need.
Getting rid of all the desk phones in your office could also mean significant cost savings, particularly if you had been making a lot of international calls. VoIP and mobile phone options tend to be much lower cost in those areas and the switch could have a big impact on your bottom line.
Get the Best of Both Worlds
Cloud-based phone systems such as those that VoIP providers offer are one of the best ways to ensure that the phone users in your office are getting everything they need. Many services can offer VoIP integrations that let your salespeople use their VoIP desk phones more efficiently, in concert with your CRM, while also offering mobile apps that mean users can keep the device they prefer while still having the benefits of a desk phone. The VoIP mobile app makes it easy to switch off the ‘business’ aspect of the device so that you can tune out when you’re not on the clock.
Some offices may not be ready to go completely desk phone free, and that’s ok. However, with the right information, you can make a strategic choice that makes sense for your unique needs.