Use Two Smartphones To Create Work/Life Balance

Use Two Smartphones To Create Work/Life Balance

Whatever happened to technology getting smaller and more integrated? A research project tracking banking executives has found that most of them carry two smartphones, a tablet and a laptop. The trade-off for the extra weight is the ability to better balance work and personal commitments by ignoring the ‘work’ phone out of hours.

Picture by David

Last year, Dr Kristine Dery of the University of Sydney and Judith MacCormick of the Australian Graduate School Of Management interviewed executives, following up on interviews five years before. They were surprised to discover that, without exception, the executives all carried a pair of smartphones. One was work-issued. One they had purchased themselves.

There were two apparent benefits from the approach, as Dr Dery explains in a release about the research:

While all of the executives we interviewed had been issued with a company smartphone, the security firewalls meant that the technology had significantly reduced capabilities. So to expand both work and non-work functions, such as access to social media, executives were also carrying their personal smartphone. Most executives chose to carry their personal devices to enhance mobile connectivity, but in doing so they also discovered an interesting side effect: the technology itself is helping to create those much sought-after boundaries between work and non-work activities. This means that the inconvenience of having to hold two smartphones is, in many instances, offset by the ability to create some degree of separation between work and home life.

This poses an obvious challenge for IT departments managing those devices, since work tasks are being carried out on both phones. However, with the BYO device trend now well-established and dominated by handsets, it seems unlikely to go away.

Dr Dery discusses the findings further in the video below:

Have you found using two phones makes life easier? Share your experiences in the comments.


  • “most of them carry two smartphones, a tablet and a laptop.”

    I understand that a tablet can’t fully replace a laptop yet, but why carry around a tablet if you’ve already got your laptop with you?

    • The laptop is there in case actual work needs to be done, but if your just doing email a tablet is a lot more convenient… it doesn’t tie you to a desk like a laptop does.

      I tried having a separate work phone for a while but it seemed stupid carrying 2 phones around all the time. People I work with are pretty good about not calling after hours unless it is an actual emergency, I have a very good email filter and leave my phone on silent when I am sleeping. That seems to work well enough for me.

  • I setup Peak Hours setting on my Touchdown email app (Android) and set it to disable Push email outside of those peak hours. Stops my phone getting work email at home. I don’t mind incoming home emails or social media notifications arriving while I am at work.

  • I’ve been using two smartphones for years (iPhone for work, Android for personal). As soon as I get home, the iPhone gets put on silent and that’s it. I’ll check it once or twice during the evening for emails from overseas suppliers but apart from that I won’t use it.

    I find there are a number of benefits from this approach, firstly I can effectively ignore work outside of business hours so that I get a decent break from the headaches in the office. Secondly, having a personal phone means I’m not as tied down to my job. If I choose to leave the company, I don’t have to try and teach my friends and family a new phone number (especially difficult with the grandparents…). For me, this philosophy extends to other work supplied equipment as well including having a personal laptop and car.

    I think the separation between work and home life is essential, I’ve got friends with young children for instance who can’t help but continuing working when they get home. Once you get into the habit of doing this every night it becomes an even greater problem, particularly if you are not working on/in your own business.

  • I haven’t a clue when it comes to smartphones etc (still using a prehistoric mobile that basically just calls and texts). So with that background can I ask – Wouldn’t a dual sim phone allow the same sort of work/home separation?

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!