by Rob Marchalonis.

When I work with business owners and leaders to improve employee productivity, the topic of smartphone use often comes up. What to do about these pocket-sized devices that were a non-issue just a decade or so ago? Used to be that only the tech-savvy, financially fortunate, or hipsters had a device, but now virtually everyone from grade-schoolers to your grandparents is mobile connected. (Today’s early adopters are wearing smartwatches, so look for one soon on grandpa’s wrist.) Can you think of another personal item that you keep in such proximity or spend as much time with as your phone?

With mobile technology so powerful and relatively inexpensive, it’s no surprise that employees are spending an increasing amount of time on their smartphones at work. Seeing this, it’s also reasonable for employers to be concerned. Should devices that enable such distraction be allowed in the workplace? Some say no, but others feel differently. For every text, email, call, app, or website that could draw away the attention of an otherwise productive employee during the workday, it could be argued that there are even greater benefits of handheld communication, organization, data capture, record keeping, quick research, information access, and more for employees – both at and away from your workplace, 24/7.

80 reasons to say yes to smartphones.

Rather than be frustrated or fight the smartphone trend as an employer, what if you were to embrace the power that each of your employees hold in their hand? Think of the possibilities if you and your employees were to use their mobile technology for good? Per Shakespeare in Hamlet, “Things are neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.” Maybe we should think more about how to use mobile devices for everyone’s benefit. Consider just some of the things that your smartphone is, does, mimics, or replaces:

  1. Phone
  2. Phone Directory
  3. Answering Machine
  4. Voice Recorder
  5. Calendar
  6. Schedule Organizer
  7. Address Book
  8. Clock
  9. Watch
  10. Alarm Clock
  11. Stopwatch
  12. Calculator
  13. To Do List
  14. Notepad
  15. File Cabinet
  16. Flashlight
  17. Camera
  18. Photo Album
  19. Scrapbook
  20. Video Camera
  21. Video Library
  22. Scanner
  23. FAX
  24. Text Communicator
  25. Email Server
  26. Internet Browser
  27. Dictionary
  28. Encyclopedia
  29. Books
  30. Magazines
  31. Music Player
  32. Podcast Player
  33. Radio
  34. TV
  35. Movie Player
  36. Map
  37. GPS
  38. Location Tracker
  39. Radar Detector
  40. Walkie Talkie
  41. Weather Station
  42. Thermometer
  43. Tide Tracker
  44. Constellation Finder
  45. Game Console
  46. Virtual Reality
  47. Ticket Office
  48. Travel Agent
  49. Vacation Planner
  50. Heart Monitor
  51. Fitness Tracker
  52. Personal Trainer
  53. Life Coach
  54. Teacher
  55. Professor
  56. School
  57. Store
  58. Supermarket
  59. Classified Market
  60. Auction
  61. Workplace
  62. Business Monitor
  63. Security Monitor
  64. Baby Monitor
  65. Wallet
  66. Bank
  67. Asset Tracker
  68. Investment Broker
  69. Financial Planner
  70. Realtor
  71. Repairman
  72. Doctor
  73. Lawyer
  74. Consultant
  75. Concierge
  76. Receptionist
  77. Personal Assistant
  78. Pet
  79. Companion
  80. Friend

So, why do so many spend so much time on their mobile device? The answer is obvious when you consider what is now virtually, if not literally, in the palm of your hand. Given the power of this technology, how can you use it to be even more relational, organized, and productive at home and at work.

Respect mobile device limits.

Obviously, there are many things a handheld device cannot do. It can’t feed, house, or clothe you, nor move you from here to there. It cannot duplicate the full sensory experience of a walk on the beach or hike in the woods. There will always be demand for great restaurants, stadium concerts, arena box seats, and roller coasters. Appreciate your smartphone, but also understand its limits. Remember, you can love your device but it can’t love you back. At least not yet.

What smartphone use did I miss? Eager to hear from you and grow the list above, especially so we can direct it to more productive use for good! Rob Marchalonis ( helps business owners and leaders increase employee productivity.

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