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Signmakers on Smartphones: I Can’t Live Without It, But Probably Should

Your peers sound off on the device that has transformed the way we live and work.

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THIS IS PART THREE of a three-part article on signmakers and smartphones. Click here for part one or click here for part two.

  • It’s a love/hate relationship. It is definitely a tool for multi-tasking but clients don’t seem to know their boundaries. To be texted/messaged all hours of the day and expecting a response is crazy. I have had to learn to turn it off after hours and not respond until I’m on … unless, of course, it’s an emergency! — Lisa H., Mabelvale, AR
  • Being able to get in touch with people quickly in case of an emergency is the best thing about cell phones. Other than that they are terrible for us. — Melvin L., Augusta, GA
  • Mobile phones have made communication with our installers on site much better. The ability to discuss issues in real time and send documents to and from the site make for a much more productive project. The downside of mobile phones is the distraction they cause with all employees. Office, shop and install employees are more distracted now with personal communication and social media than in the past. I feel that the mobile phone has more of a positive impact than negative when you consider that it creates a more efficient way of solving and preventing issues which arise on projects. — Stephen R., Chattanooga, TN
  • Essential, yet annoying! If only people were just a little less connected to their mobile devices, that would be ideal. — Mary G., Simi Valley, CA
  • I love the easy access the phone gives me to take photos of sites, surveys and finished jobs, the ability to contact staff and clients when necessary and the ability to take payments out in the field. However I also see the negative; the staff and client can get hold of me when it is not necessary. It is my personal phone. — Gwen S., Vista, CA
  • Need to moderate our time on them more … sometimes too connected. — Kurt S., Hummelstown, PA
  • We have totally gone cellular, even with the office phones. It’s very convenient, especially when you’re waiting for that important call. The downside is all the after hours and weekend calls from loyal customers. I can’t not answer them. — Theresa C., Lampasas, TX
  • It has been a help. Being able to reach clients and employees is a great asset. But being totally connected all the time is one of my biggest peeves. Things are just so rushed now. — Ben P., Seaford, DE
  • Mobile phones have increased our communication and productivity to the Nth degree. They also bring a lot of addiction. Focus on the good and not the bad. Remove social media apps and silent emails at night. You will love your phone. — Jonathan W., San Jose, CA
  • Great convenience and tool. But it is just another gadget that should not always pull your focus away. — Jeffrey C., Seminole, FL

  • … A positive and a negative at the same time. I like that I am able to check my work email anytime, anywhere. I’m the marketing manager so it’s nice to get notifications on our social media, be able to post in real-time, and also get notifications from our E-commerce platform. I can even login to our POS system from my phone and build quotes if necessary. This can help relieve what I call build-up stress. So for example, if I am at the ISA Expo I can stay on top of my emails/tasks without feeling like I am just going to come back to a huge pile of emails. However, the downside is unplugging, having that separation of work and personal life. On my day off I will wonder what was my customer’s response to this email or I am waiting to hear back from my boss and I will just go check my email. Some days I do wish I was able to unplug more, especially from social media, but it is a huge part of my job and staying on top of trends. — Mallory L., Brighton, CO
  • A good tool to collect information during site surveys. I do not give the number out to clients. They need to email to our sales address or communicate through our Portal within Corbridge. The phone is to help me be productive, not for clients to have even more access to one person… — John H., Woodstock, GA
  • My experience has been the same. I love being able to communicate with some customers by text when proofing or following up on a project but on the other side, I really wish I had not given my cell number out to some customers because they have no etiquette. I will receive requests and texts at all hours of the night leaving me no time away from the process. — Chad L., Mount Vernon, WA
  • Do not want to be without them. Probably should though. — Terry H., Lakeland, FL
  • There are pros and cons about modern mobile phone life. The pros are you can Google anything you need to know instantly, you can send emails while standing in line at the grocery store, and stay up to date with your friends on social media. The cons are you are always expected to be available to answer calls or texts because you had your phone on you, and you spend way too much time scrolling through social media. I personally enjoy the mobile phone life but at times feel like it is important to put it away and just have “you time.” All the emails, texts, tags, and calls can wait a while; you don’t have to be available 24/7 to everyone. — Mieke M., Westminster, CO
  • They make us accessible almost around the clock. — Dan S., Long Beach, CA
  • Mobile phones have provided a strong sense of safety because they are always with us. They are present in case of an emergency, accident, celebration, event, etc. They allow you to contact someone as needed, and on the go, which makes things much more convenient. However, mobile phones are always there … They do not allow for you to disconnect from work. Oftentimes, if people cannot reach you by email or at your desk, they start calling or texting your cell phone — regardless of the time of day. — Laura A., Milford, OH
  • I can’t live without it but it doesn’t mean I love it. It’s made communication instant but people are impatient. — Grace F., San Diego
  • Blessing and a curse. Great for tech, but can suck the life out of you if you let it. Turn it off! Don’t give out your number to every customer and don’t answer after hours.— Sean T., Pitman, NJ

  • The smartphone of today is an essential tool for running a remote office. Just as with any tool, it has its positives and negatives. Being able to contact, respond, and work from anywhere offers freedoms that aren’t possible without a smartphone. But the ability to work anywhere and at any time can create demand to be constantly available and respond instantaneously. Setting up personal and professional boundaries is necessary to avoid the traps that mobile phones can create. — Russell T., Austin, TX
  • You can’t compete without them in the field. If your competitor is using them to their full capability, then they will be more efficient than you. There are downsides due to the distractions they cause for people who work at desks (e.g., texting all day), but for field employees, they are essential. — Carl H., Cincinnati
  • I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. Google maps, having a camera, notepad, personal email, etc. are terrific. However, customers now call at all hours and any day of the week, holidays included. I also refuse to have my work email sent to my phone because that’s all I would do all day. Plus it’s enough to respond to messages with a decent keyboard, let alone on a small phone screen. Yes, I do admit to being a bit of a dinosaur. — Rocco G., Pennsauken, NJ
  • For me, it’s as much a distraction as it is a convenience. Some days, I wish that I had left it at home. — Jeffrey F., Pflugerville, TX

At the end of the day, a smartphone is a tool we have to use, but it’s not always the best way to live. “Phones are the way we communicate now. Like it or hate it, it’s the channel clients and customers prefer. You have to serve them however you need to,” says Tom D. from Tewksbury, MA. “I’m heavily dependent on the use of the mobile phone for both business and personal life. Whether it is going back to an email from months ago for a drawing or estimate, finding a contact, using Waze, Googling how to do something, getting the stats from last night’s game, playing Wordle or looking at a business’s website — it’s all at the fingertips. Of course, the downside is that it is incredibly difficult to disconnect from the world. That takes some will power but is necessary every so often.”

A lot of opinions about technology and our phones were shared and discussed. However, the biggest question is what do you think? You’ve read the different sides to this heavy discussion, but how you use your phone is the most important part! Leave a comment and your opinion, can’t stand it, love it? Let us know!

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Kelsie Petersen is an editorial intern with Signs of the Times. She is currently in the process of finishing her degree at the University of Cincinnati.

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