It used to be taboo to have your phone out at work. You were seen as unproductive, lazy, or messing around if you had that little device next to your keyboard as you ‘worked’ away on a task.
But the negative phone stigma is starting to fade. Why? Mostly because this generation of tech-savvy business people, students, and developers alike have found ways to turn the mobile phone into a mini productivity powerhouse. And thank goodness, because most of us need our phones for everything from getting news to getting lunch.
Granted, using your phone at work for nonsense shenanigans is still and always will be a bad, no good thing. But as a reader of the YouMail blog, you’re clearly not one of those types of phone users at work. You’re the type that wants to know how technology can help you improve your productivity at work.
There are lots of ways your phone’s capabilities can make you a faster worker and get the job done more efficiently. But there are also some things you should just leave up to your computer to manage.
Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of Using Your Phone for Work:
Emails – Emailing through your phone is a golden tip for staying productive while you’re away from the office. You should sync your work email to your mail app of choice. Both your iPhone mail app and Google mail allow for multiple email accounts to be synced. And Google now allows non-gmail accounts to sync as well. To add another account on google, check out this article. Plus, if you’re in a hurry and leave the “sent from my iPhone” signature on, your correspondent will understand the brevity of your response and it won’t seem unprofessional or lacking in content.
Conference Calls – If you’re working remotely and you need to join a conference call, it’s better to join from your mobile phone than your landline or computer. The reason why? Most people tend to use speakerphone on landlines and this causes annoying echoes for the rest of your conference call members. If you’re joining from a computer, you might experience connectivity issues and end up lagging during the call.
Instant Messaging Coworkers – You’re already used to using your phone for texting, start using it for IM’ing colleagues too. Whether you’re in another department or away from the office, keep in touch with your colleagues using Slack. The mobile design is easy to use and lets you start different channels for each work topic. A helpful tip to keep in mind, if you’re with a colleague and get a message from another coworker – let that colleague know you need to reply to their message first so they don’t mistake your promptness for rudely texting during their conversation.
Task management – Download task manager apps and login to them with your work account. Asana and Evernote are helpful task managers that will give you clear lists of each task you have on your to-do list for the day. Another trick is to use your task managing app to help you see your tasks more easily. The YouMail team has too many tasks in Asana to count and sometimes it’s hard to locate a certain project or high priority item. However, switching over to the app gives a streamlined list of every project and item in your inbox. Plus, you can mark tasks as favorites and access them in the Favorites tab.
Voicemail Handling Like a Pro – You get a lot of phone calls that you sometimes can’t answer at work. Whether those missed calls are coming from clients or not, you need a good way to take care of them. YouMail gives you all the right tools to make sure you’re getting important calls and personal calls handled before you even check your missed calls! Use Auto-Reply to send your callers a personal away message so they know you’ll get back to them when you can. This feature is available on all YouMail plans but if you are on the YouMail Premium or Business Plan, you can include a longer away message plus links to your website and social media sites. It’s your own digital business card.
Now for The Don’ts – Work things you shouldn’t rely on your phone for.
Updating Docs – Microsoft Office apps and Dropbox give you excellent tools to use for editing documents. But try to limit these to non-complex items. If you need to look over a document and fix a quick sentence or add a date, that’s fine. However, if you’re writing long form copy on your phone – you might overlook awkward auto-corrections that your phone makes and send in something that’s hard for your colleagues to understand. Another mishap is trying to highlight one sentence to delete and accidentally deleting an entire paragraph. Yikes…
Taking Notes During Meetings – If you’re going into a meeting, it’s best to not bring your phone in with you – unless your meeting often requires you to get another person on the phone or if you work for an app company and need to refer to it many, many times during the meeting. For the most part, don’t take notes on your phone during the meeting because it could look like you’re not paying attention or texting. Just stick to pen and paper and transfer your notes to your phone later. Or, use Dropbox to take a picture of your notes and access them from your computer later.
Downloading Large Files – For the obvious reason, you might end up crashing your phone. But also, you might not even be able to view the file. Just save yourself the trouble and make a note in Asana in your Personal Tasks to download the file on your computer later.
Make sure you’re a modern and proactive phone user! Keep these tips in mind to use your phone to help you stay productive at work. And download the mentioned apps above to get a head start.