Apps are dead. Most smartphone users bounce between the top social apps that have been on their phones for years and are opposed to downloading new ones. Those who are asked to download apps for their jobs are even more reluctant to do so, citing privacy concerns and an inability to maintain a work-life balance.‍

Deskless workers more often find themselves being required to download apps to their personal phones, solely due to the nature of their work; if you don’t work from behind a computer, employers need another way to get information to and from you. And, unfortunately, there have been reports of employees being fired if they refuse to download these employer-sponsored apps. But why is this population so opposed to downloading a simple app?‍

Privacy Concerns 

It’s well known that anytime you’re online, your data is being tracked. Your browsing history, shopping habits, and more are all constantly being gathered and sold to data brokers. This won’t be stopping anytime soon, either – data brokerage is a multi-billion dollar industry, after all. Even with new security measures, many apps and websites continue to track you long after you revoke your consent. ‍

This is a huge problem, and validates the primary concern of the deskless workforce: Apps can potentially violate their right to privacy on their personal devices. It’s more than just gathering data like email, age, etc. These apps can gather data that allows employers to learn more intimate information, including the employee’s sexual orientation, health status, and familial status – all common sources of discrimination. ‍

Another big issue? 50% of employer app developers don’t have the budget to beef up security, leaving employee information vulnerable to hackers and data miners. ‍

Wanting to Maintain a Work-Life Balance

60% of employees who have their work emails or an employer app on their phones find themselves checking them outside of work hours. The reason? They can’t disengage from work when work is always a tap away.

What’s the problem with just checking an email or two, or responding to work inquiries on your personal time? Well, on average, less than half of workers feel like they have a healthy work-life balance. When employees find themselves working around the clock, it can lead to an increase in turnover, burnout, and health issues.

Not Everyone Has a Smartphone

It may be hard to believe, but not everyone has or wants a smartphone. Only 85% of adult Americans have a smartphone, with the remaining 15% either having a more basic cell phone or no mobile phone at all. ‍

‍A recent trend in tech is making the switch from smartphones to ‘dumb phones’, with younger generations downgrading to phones that are nostalgic of the handhelds of the early 2000s. New York-based company Light Phone saw its sales jump 150% in the last year, with the majority of its sales going to adults aged 25-35. ‍

The biggest reason for the switch? They want the ability to disconnect. Not only from work, but from social media and the 24-hour news cycle.‍

No App. Now What?

Even though employer-required apps have their many downfalls, we understand there is still the need to be able to contact employees on their phones. An easy way to get around these issues? Using a platform like Anthill. Anthill uses anonymous, SMS-based text messaging. SMS is widely considered one of the more inclusive ways of communication, as anyone can send a text. ‍

Anthill also allows for leaders to set auto-replies to common questions, and escalates important messages to the right person in a timely fashion, saving time and money. ‍

Anthill is no app required, no smartphone required, no desk required.

Learn more about Anthill and see the platform in action here.

Jennifer Harris-Kroll

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