Silicon Valley companies of all sizes are increasingly cutting employees’ landline cords and exhorting them to use mobile phones and tablets in their stead. Google gave Android smartphones to most of its 53,000 workers, and the 15 staff at Schematic Labs are reimbursed for business-related overages on their personal phones. Its CEO, Steve Jang, puts it simply: “You just don’t need desk phones. We talk over e-mail, text message, chat clients, social networks.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The slow erosion of the line between work and private life continues, as evidenced by a Telecommunications Industry Association report stating that the amount of money spent on landlines by US businesses last year fell 33 percent from 2008. In addition, research firm IDC predicts that in the next three years the number of people using a single phone for both business and pleasure will outnumber those with separate dedicated lines. At software company Evernote, only seven of its 285 employees have landlines, and CEO Phil Libin says they plan to install phone booths for those who want to have private conversations. However, “[the booths] probably won’t have phones in them. We definitely don’t want to encourage phone use.”