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Tips for Using Your Personal Phone as Your Work Phone


Ramesses
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Ramesses
  • Law Student

Looking for tips and tricks from those who use one phone for both personal life and work life. 

How do you answer the phone usually? 

What is your voicemail message?

How do you know if it is a client calling or your bank?

How do you separate/balance your personal and work stuff?

For context: I am a new articling student and my firm has asked me to use my personal phone (iphone) as my work phone and they will reimburse my phone bill.

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StephenToast
  • Law Student

Taking work calls on your personal phone number sounds like a bad idea to me, especially if clients are going to have that number too. Perhaps get a second phone number and load it to your IPhone as an eSim? You'll know which number people are calling and can disable the work number during your down time.

https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT209044

 

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erin otoole
  • Articling Student

I bought a phone that takes multiple sim cards, works great. I can sign in and out of the personal/work numbers so I can be "on" and "off" as I choose. You can also open the instruction manual to your desk phone and see if it does call forwarding. In my 1L I had my desk phone forward the calls to my personal cell between certain hours. The eSim works pretty well on iphones as well I've been told. 

 

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Jaggers

I have my work email on my personal phone. Everything is stuck in its specific apps, so there's not really an issue. I can't even copy and paste from Outlook or Teams into another app. My employer doesn't have any access to anything on my phone that they wouldn't have via our outlook, teams and webex servers anyways. And I am the person that the security folks need to come to if they want authorization to search an employee's phone, so I would just say no.

But I don't have an issue with random people calling me. It's almost entirely people I already know, or someone who has emailed me to tell me they'll be calling.

I disabled all voice mail, personal and business. I hate voice mail.

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Ramesses
  • Law Student

Thanks! I will look into the eSIM. Unfortuantely, I do not think they will let me turn off the voicemail (even though I hate it too). They did mention something about work apps but I guess I will find out closer to.

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Jaggers

We actually don't have voice mail as an option at work. I loved it so much I got rid of my personal one too.

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Ramesses
  • Law Student
4 hours ago, Jaggers said:

We actually don't have voice mail as an option at work. I loved it so much I got rid of my personal one too.

Oh wow that's amazing. I have never heard of that before. I will definitely look into it when I get to the firm. 

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MOL
  • Lawyer

Huh. I don't think I could function without voicemail. But I get it, slowing things down, taking out the pressure/hurry hurry of instant communications. My issue is that I don't hear my phone ring half the time, particularly if it's in my pocket. I even have the ringer on high with a very distinctive annoying ring. 

I remember my old Blackberry, not sure the model but it ran Blackberry 10 I think, you could partition your phone into work and personal sides. It worked really well. That company made some really dumb moves but they sure did put out some pretty cool devices/software.

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Jaggers

For me, the voicemail thing was kind of cold turkey, since I left a job where the company had voicemail and started a new job where the company didn't have voicemail.

I canceled my personal voicemail when we went paperless at the office and I no longer had my own assigned office. That meant that rather than use an office phone, my number was forwarded to my cell phone (which is my personal phone as noted above). People started leaving voicemails and it annoyed me so much I just called the phone company and canceled it.

No one would leave me a voicemail of a personal nature, obviously.

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MOL
  • Lawyer

So if they can't get you, do they then send you an email? Or just keep calling till they get you?

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Jaggers

I guess they probably keep calling? If they have my phone number, they can send a text. Who knows, though, it's really up to them.

But I don't normally answer my phone unless I know why someone is calling, so that probably wouldn't work.

They should probably send an email. A fax would get to me too, but that would take a few days.

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Aureliuse
  • Lawyer

Some phones allow you to call as "anonymous." The other side doesn't get your number. If your firm cannot provide a work phone, or pay for one, then perhaps you can always call as anonymous on your personal phone.

Tell clients from the start that you prefer your work phone and emails.

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t3ctonics
  • Lawyer
On 5/14/2022 at 1:33 PM, Jaggers said:

I have my work email on my personal phone. Everything is stuck in its specific apps, so there's not really an issue. I can't even copy and paste from Outlook or Teams into another app. My employer doesn't have any access to anything on my phone that they wouldn't have via our outlook, teams and webex servers anyways. And I am the person that the security folks need to come to if they want authorization to search an employee's phone, so I would just say no.

But I don't have an issue with random people calling me. It's almost entirely people I already know, or someone who has emailed me to tell me they'll be calling.

I disabled all voice mail, personal and business. I hate voice mail.

My situation is very similar. I have work email through Outlook on my personal phone, as well as Teams and OneDrive. I'm also the person that would have to give permission to search someone's phone or computer.

My office has no voicemail, and we normally don't give out our direct lines. If someone wants to talk to me and I haven't given them my direct line, they have to go through reception. If I'm not there, or I have given my direct line and I don't answer, our receptionist will take a message and email it to me.

That said, within the corporation we do most of our calling through Teams, through which I can be reached directly, and I can answer on my computer or my personal phone. That's seamless and super convenient. If I miss a Teams call people usually just send an IM or email.

There are a few people who call my personal number directly for work purposes, but that's limited to people from my old firm (where I used my personal phone for work, and I have some files with them now) and people I am friends with outside of work.

As for your specific questions @Ramesses, I'll answer how I dealt with this when I was in private practice after I switched from two phones to one:

 

  1. How do you answer the phone usually? 
    • Unknown caller: "Hello, [my first name, last name] speaking."
    • Known caller: "Hi [caller's first name]."
  2. What is your voicemail message?
    • I used the default message that said something like "You've reached the voicemail of [my recorded name]. Please leave a message after the tone." I could have recorded a full custom message - some older lawyers would record a custom message every morning - but I liked the impersonal neutrality of the robomessage. I always checked and responded to my voicemails as soon as I could after getting them anyways, and the clients and other lawyers I worked with knew that.
  3. How do you know if it is a client calling or your bank?
    • I added anyone I talked to regularly as a contact so I'd see their name. Otherwise I didn't know. If I was out drinking or something, I would just keep my phone on vibrate and not answer unknown calls. Or most work-related calls either. I did use voicemail then, so if it was something that really mattered they could just leave a voicemail or send an email. Bear in mind that I was in civil litigation and none of the type of work I did required being able to answer the phone unexpectedly late at night. When I did have evening or weekend calls, it was almost always because I was already working late on something and was in professional mode. If you're practicing criminal law this could be very different.
  4. How do you separate/balance your personal and work stuff?
    • Then (as now) I had work email in the Outlook app and personal email in the native mail app. Calls couldn't be distinguished except for contacts, as mentioned above. Work and personal time did kind of blend - if I wasn't actually doing anything of personal importance I would occasionally check any work emails that came in, and would respond if it was urgent. When I was actually doing something (e.g. out for dinner with my wife, playing music with the band, having a beer in a hammock, whatever) I didn't answer any unknown calls or check emails, let alone respond. 

I should note that in my first couple of years I had a personal phone and a separate work-provided phone. I switched to one phone for the convenience after I was off the bottom rung of the hierarchy and wasn't at literally everyone's beck and call.

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