Dear Ms. Smartphone: When I am at work I get calls from my kids and when I am at home my boss calls me. I have different ringtones for everyone, but it is still driving me crazy. And, I don’t want to carry two phones. How do I bring order to this? Carey, Boston.
Dear Carey: Let me begin with the picture, which depicts three chairs, one holding an Iphone. The chairs are are actually little stress balls and presumably useful when we have to answer a call! Like the three chairs, or the three bears, many of us have trouble filling all our roles. However, there is a technological fix that could help.
Last year Apple introduced a phone that allows users to have two different phone numbers on the same phone, so you can separate your work and home lines. The phone lines can be from different carriers too, say T-Mobile and Verizon. This two-line functionality is now standard on the iPhone11, but truly, so few people talk about it that it seems like a ‘secret’ feature.
Your contacts and calendar can be configured for either account. You can set the phone that is used for work to go straight to email, say after 6pm or on vacation. No more work-calls buzzing while you are trying to help the kids with their homework.
Android phones should have this feature too so check the functionality with your phone carrier. In the past this required a device that held two SIM cards, but I don’t think that is the case anymore.
Working around the clock, whether at home or at the office, seems to be a modern epidemic. While you still have to set the boundaries, e.g., when you must respond to a text from work, the dual phone might help you establish a digital fence around your home and work life. It will be interesting to see whether your boss will agree to pay for the second phone line and I personally think that managers should do so as a modern cost of doing business.