The work phone is no longer exclusively for the executive, and it hasn’t been since 2007 with the birth of the first iPhone. This piece of technology changed business (and most notably small business) forever.
Fast forward to 2015. We now have the iPhone 6, a smartphone that makes the original look like an old Nokia. But all the bells and whistles aside, the one thing that makes the smartphone more impactful on small business than anything else is its access. It doesn’t matter if they’re a billionaire or lower class, almost anyone can own the world’s best cellphones. This means small businesses have an even playing field with major corporations when it comes to mobile technology.
So who should carry smartphones for work? The answer is everyone. The only aspect that will change is how they use them.
The Outdoor Labourer
Remember Nextel? Before it was acquired by Sprint, the cellphone manufacturer made two-way capable phones that acted like walkie-talkies over a mobile network to save on precious minutes (before they were unlimited). While the brand didn’t last, the phones were popular among blue-collar workers.
Now, the Voxer app has taken over this functionality. It’s a free two-way radio app for iPhone and Android that lets users send unlimited messages back and forth, just like a walkie-talkie. As more blue-collar workers carry cellphones, this has become a useful app while they’re on the job.
The Desk Jockey
The smartphone was seemingly invented for the desk jockey. It has everything he or she could ever need — web, email, calendar, task manager and much, much more. But where the smartphone is really shining for the master of the cubicle is in time management apps. When working a 9 to 5 job, every minute matters to have the most productive day possible. Hours is an elegant, simple-to-use iPhone app that tracks every minute of the day so workers can accomplish as much as possible in an eight-hour window.
The Personal Assistant
When it comes to managing someone else’s life, the native calendar app that comes with iPhone and Android just won’t do. Personal assistants need to organize everything about their boss’ life — where to go, when to be there, who to meet with, what to talk about and so on. The native calendar app for iPhone has come a long way since 2007, but there are better third-party options available.
Sunrise Calendar is consistently praised as the best option for the iPhone. It has all the bells and whistles of the native app as well as a beautiful UI and integration with popular services, such as Dropbox and Evernote. And when Microsoft acquired Sunrise in early 2015, it was just another sign that the app will get even more support and features in the future.
In addition to a sophisticated calendar, Wunderlist is another app that outdoes the native task manager (which is really nothing more than a basic list and reminders app). Wunderlist’s handiest feature is the ability to add reminders using basic language. Type “Boss meets with David tomorrow for lunch at Johnny’s Restaurant,” and the app adds the event, time and location, using only the info from that single phrase. While the personal assistant uses dozens of apps to manage the boss’ time, none get more use than the two listed above.