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I was browsing the job postings for a video game company and I noticed that regardless of the job, all employees are given a laptop and mobile device. From the way it's posted, it looks like an incentive, to help promote a relaxed workplace.

I'm not a fan of mobile devices, although I carry one, it's strictly for emergencies, and turned off when I'm at home. When friends or colleagues want to contact me, I give them my home phone and e-mail address.

Could I politely explain that I don't like to use them?

If I were to accept the phone, I assume the managers and colleagues would expect it to be on, and be able to contract me immediately if I don't show up to work on a particular day.

  • Do you go out often enough that giving your home number would mean you're rarely reachable? Does this imply you're not willing to be "on call" (able to tend to issues within like half-an-hour at any time)? Either it's just a gift with no expectation, or they expect you to be reachable all the time - it's hard to find out which if you don't also want to lose out on opportunities where you might be on call. I imagine contacting you when you didn't show up to work is one of the least important use cases for a mobile phone (from an employer's point of view). – Dukeling Feb 3 '18 at 15:43
  • It's your life and your choice - you can explain whatever you want. – Justas Feb 3 '18 at 15:45
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    most people will want to contact you immediately if you don't show up to work. – bharal Feb 3 '18 at 16:10
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    @bharal If you expect that to happen regularly enough for it to make a big difference, you probably have bigger problems though. – Dukeling Feb 3 '18 at 16:25
  • If you don't show up for work one day, you don't want your manager to contact you? Anyway, they would contact you on your home number anyway, so I don't understand how accepting their mobile makes any difference. Please elaborate. – Masked Man Feb 3 '18 at 18:59
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There are a couple questions here:

Could I politely explain that I don't like to use them?

Absolutely. And they can politely refuse to move forward with interviewing you if the job requires you to have the phone for after hours calls, on-call support, etc.

If I were to accept the phone, I assume the managers and colleagues would expect it to be on, and be able to contract me immediately if I don't show up to work on a particular day.

We can't know this and neither can you unless you ask them. Make sure you understand what the expectations are around after hours support, on-call rotations, emergency scenarios, etc.

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You need to ask why employees are given a laptop and mobile device.

While you can assume reasons - the laptop is for you to do your work, presumably both in the office and while you are out, be it at a client's site (for example) - your assumptions can be wrong. You need to make sure you have all the information.

If the phone is for you to be contacted out of hours and you wish to accept the job you will need to establish a) how likely it is that you'll be contacted and b) what response time they'd be happy with. For example you can say that while the phone will be off for most of the weekend you'll check it at certain times to see if there's a message.

However, without more information this is pure guesswork so find out what their expectations are before making any decisions.

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If you are truly worried about appearing rude, and want to present the most positive first foot forward possible, you could certainly accept the device and not use it, either by keeping it off or far away from you. It should be trivial to turn on call forwarding to your primary phone - You can leave this in a drawer somewhere far enough away that you would consider "safe".

Also, you could sign up for Google Voice, or other strictly-data phone service that you could check on a computer, and set that as your contact information wherever you end up working.

Lastly, most modern smart devices allow you to turn off the cellular antennae. The link you posted references 2G/3G, not Wifi. You could still get a lot of benefit out a smart phone and never have the "dangerous" effects enabled. I'm pretty sure iPhones these days take calls completely over data (wifi) when possible as well, so that is another safeguard. If wifi is dangerous as well, you should probably make your peace with it because we are all doomed based on the proliferation of smart devices :)

The larger issue would be if this device was intended to be used for "on call" scenarios, in which case you'd be obligated to leave it on and at the ready.

Finally, I'd say if no-showing for work and getting called about it is at the front of your mind, that might be something else to address.

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