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Is Your Job Invading Your Personal Privacy?

7 Minute Read (637 Words)
By: Doug Petrie
As someone working from home and using your personal mobile phone number for business, you may not realize just how much your privacy might be impacted.
Employees have the right to establish a clear line between their business and personal lives. In the same way that you get a work email address, why shouldn’t you get a mobile phone number just for work?
You may be thinking, “I do not want to carry a second phone”, but you do not have to. There are exciting new options available, but first let’s discuss some of the major ways your privacy might be affected.

Text Messages and Phone Calls After Work Hours

Working from home probably means you’re just as busy (if not even busier) than being at work. When you get business calls during personal time, you should be able to give business callers more options than “Leave a message at the tone” which most likely leads to them hanging up.
We all understand that sometimes afterhours calls can be important, but unless your job requires you to be available during personal time, then you should have more options to minimize work-related intrusions on your personal time while still providing callers with acceptable service.
With so many professionals now working from home, personal phone numbers are being disclosed to a wider audience than ever before, increasing the odds that our attempts to establish a meaningful work-life balance will be compromised.

Establishing Clear Boundaries with Colleagues and Clients

While it is commonplace for professionals to socially interact with colleagues and clients, disclosing your personal cell phone number to the people you do business with can expose you to inappropriate and unwanted demands on your time.
Let’s face it – the people you do business with are not necessarily people you want to have in your personal life.
Unfortunately, using your personal mobile number for work does not establish a clear professional boundary between you and the people you do business with, introducing further unwanted demands on your time and privacy.
Although colleagues and clients may sometimes have the best intentions, not having a clear boundary can create situations that are stressful and complex to address. Having a distinct mobile number just for business, eliminates that problem altogether.

Your Personal Texts, Voicemails, Images, and Data

Whenever you use your personal phone number to send a business text message or make a phone call, you are commingling business and personal records on your smartphone.
In most cases, this may not be consequential, but if you are managing or sharing sensitive information or become embroiled in business-related legal issue, the impact may be more sobering than first imagined.
If you receive a legal hold notice from your company’s law department, you will be expressly instructed not to delete data from your phone. In many cases, a forensic collection company may be dispatched to forensically collect the required data from your phone.
A legal hold (also known as a litigation hold) is a notification sent from an organization’s legal team to employees instructing them not to delete electronically stored information (ESI) or discard paper documents that may be relevant to a new or imminent legal case.
The problem for your company – and you – is that there is no easy way to identify business data independently of personal data if they are commingled, so the forensic consultant will most likely take all data and separate data relevant to the law suit later.
While smartphone collection companies are professional and have confidentiality agreements in place, it is an uncomfortable scenario for anyone seeking to safeguard their personal texts, images, and most importantly your privacy.

So, What Does a Solution Look Like?

At first glance, one might think the ideal solution would be to use two phones.
Technology, however, has thankfully evolved to the point where software can address the problem allowing you to use your existing mobile phone and the Tendant app for iOS™ or Android™.

What is the Next Step?

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*vCard, also known as VCF, is a file format standard for electronic business cards. vCards are often attached to e-mail messages but can be exchanged in other ways, such as Multimedia Messaging Service, on the World Wide Web, instant messaging or through QR code.
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