The benefits of utilizing smartphones in the workplace are many and obvious. Yet, it may be in the best interests of some companies to ban smartphones altogether, and instead go with older-model flip phones. As counterproductive as this sounds, more companies are saying “out with the new in with the old.”
Research firm IDC found that 2016 has seen an increase in flip phone sales by nearly two million units, compared to 24.2 million flip phones sold the previous year. Why? Believe it or not, there are some jobs and work roles where having a flip phone is more advantageous to company goals.
For those unfamiliar with a smartphone interface, using the device for the first time can come with a bit of a learning curve. If the smartphone’s benefits aren’t particularly dramatic, then you may want to avoid giving a smartphone to workers who aren’t familiar with mobile technology, only to have to pay them for time spent figuring it out. On the flip side, for workers who are familiar with mobile technology, having a smartphone may be a bigger distraction than they would care to admit.
If your industry is one that values privacy, then you may want to go the way of the flip phone. Take for example a military defense company charged with designing top-secret weaponry; all it would take is a few pics taken covertly with a smartphone camera to compromise an entire project, and even the reputation of the entire company. In situations where privacy matters, having employee-issued cell phones without a camera or the capacity to connect to the Internet will mean one less thing to worry about.
Some jobs are simply too tough for a smartphone. Even with a case, it doesn’t take a whole lot to crack or break a smartphone’s glass face. Old school cell phones, on the other hand, are notorious for having the ability to survive ridiculous drops and other dangers that would absolutely decimate a modern smartphone. In fact, there’s a running joke on the Internet that if you dropped an analogue Nokia phone on the sidewalk, the sidewalk wouldn’t survive.
Simply put, having a flip phone instead of a smartphone would mean one less Internet-connected device accessing your network. This is an easy way to improve the overall security of your network because it essentially removes one favorite way for hackers to steal data, via a mobile device’s Internet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC capabilities. Additionally, a malicious app can put your network at unnecessary risk, so having an app-less flip phone mitigates this risk altogether.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that smartphones aren’t good for business. In fact, when paired with a mobile device management solution from ActiveCo Technology Management, smartphones can cause your company’s productivity levels to soar. However, there may be some special cases where smartphones will do more harm than good, so we recommend thinking through a solid BYOD policy before allowing any mobile devices in your office, no matter how old or new they are.