Is it time to fire your office phone?

You’re at work, and your phone rings — as long as it’s a weekday, during working hours and you’re actually at your desk, you should have no trouble getting the call.

Ask yourself this question: Do you trust your most important calls to the phone sitting on your desk?

I personally don’t even have a phone on my desk. Don’t want one. What’s the point? I have a phone in my pocket.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a work number; it just goes to my mobile phone. It’s all managed online, and I can even set it to go straight to voicemail during times when I’m not available to take a call. When I get a voicemail, I instantly get an email with a transcription of the message and a link to play the audio if I want to (I almost never need to; the transcriptions are decent enough).

Some offices are starting the process. I worked in a place that instead of giving you a desk phone, they handed you mobile phone on your first day — certainly a step in the right direction. However, I’ve also worked at places that give you a “work” mobile phone in addition to a desk phone. So now there are three numbers to worry about? (facepalm)

When will the day come when companies just issue you your phone number and enable you to manage it the way that best fits your work-style?

Soon, I hope. At home, most of us have already fired our landline phones, according to this study.

Until the time when offices distribute phone numbers like they do your email address, I’ll offer up my homegrown … erm, office-grown solution.

When I took my current job, I was offered an office phone. I declined. Actually, a lot of folks around here don’t have desk phones as many of them have no dealings with anything but their in-office cohorts and the products they are building. Not having an office line wasn’t really an option for me (I take a lot calls and spend a fair amount of time on conference calls as well).

So I turned to Google Voice. It has the ability to sign up for a local number, have that number forwarded to your phone. You can even set it to accept calls only during certain hours. You can also have your mobile phone display that the incoming call is meant for your office number, so you don’t answer work calls with your off-hours “W’sup?” Additionally, there is the voicemail transcription service I mentioned earlier, and it’s all free.

So give it a try, if your office will allow, and ditch that desk phone.

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