Smartphones make just about every aspect of our lives easier—but only when used responsibly. It’s important to know when and where to use your phone. Being unable to put some separation between you and your cell could hurt your career, whereas moderate cell use could help you thrive. But how do you know where the right balance is?
If you’re not sure whether your cell phone use is appropriate, here’s a look at how striking the right balance could impact your professional life.
How a Smartphone Can Help Your Career
1. Browse job opportunities whenever, wherever.
If you’re looking to make a career change, having a smartphone can make it easier to find new opportunities. Many job posting sites have apps that allow job seekers to browse openings and upload their resumes and cover letters. If you download these apps, your smartphone could be the ticket to finding the perfect job sooner rather than later. Anytime you have a couple of free minutes, hop on a job seeking app, browse openings in your field and send off your information to employers. Being able to apply for a job from anywhere can help you beat out the competition.
2. It’s easier to stay organized.
Smartphones also make it easier to stay organized. You have your calendar, your contacts and your email in the palm of your hands, allowing you to handle important matters even when you’re not at your desk.
3. Work from anywhere.
A smartphone also comes in handy when you’re away from the office, but need to work. Maybe you’re off for a few days and a coworker needs you to email or send an important document. No one is suggesting that you work while on vacation—that defeats the purpose of a vacation! But if you’re caught in a tight spot and must respond to a request, you can access iCloud, Dropbox or Google Docs from your phone. Stay in touch or collaborate with coworkers no matter your location.
How a Smartphone Can Hurt Your Career
1. Can lead to reduced productivity.
With so much power in your hands, it’s easy to become distracted by your smartphone. Notifications may buzz throughout the day, and with each buzz, you’re tempted to pick up your phone and read personal emails, social media feeds or the latest news headlines. If you can’t control this urge, you could spend more time on your phone and less time working. As a result, you could get behind schedule, miss deadlines and disrupt workflows.
2. Makes you less attentive.
During meetings, your coworkers and boss expect your full attention. But this won’t happen if you’re glued to your phone. While everyone’s tossing around ideas and coming up with project plans, you’re less likely to contribute anything useful when you’re glancing down at your screen every couple of minutes.
3. You miss out on relationships with coworkers.
There’s no rule that says you have to be best friends with your coworkers. But considering how you work with these people day in and day out, it can be helpful to develop some type of personal relationship with them. This isn’t likely to happen when your phone is your trusted companion on breaks. Rather than including yourself around the office or getting to know your coworkers over lunch, you might prefer bonding with your smartphone—whether you’re playing games, reading news stories or posting on a friend’s Instagram account. If you come across as standoffish, people around you may feel you’re not a team player, which could hinder your growth within the company.
Talk to any business professional and they’ll likely attest to the importance of having a smartphone. Although these devices are useful and necessary in the business world, they can also hinder progress and growth when not used responsibly.