Will the Office Desk Phone Die?

Traditional PBX vendors hope not.   How about a “Hard MAC”?   Not the Apple product but the move, add or change.   Need one of those?

There was a time not long ago where most all of us drove into the office every day, sat at a desk and did our work.   And we spent a whole lot of time on the phone!   Fast forward to today and the trends are pretty easy to see that are impacting the use, and outright need, of a desk phone.   For example:

Usage:   15 years ago my office was my “command center”.  I held meetings there and … you got it… talked on the phone.   Phone calls, voice mail, and more phone calls.   Today we simply do not talk on the phone near as much.   Mainly because we have other ways to communicate that we didn’t have before:  IM/Chat; e-Mail; Video; soft phone and of course the cell phone.  All of these other types of communication are driving down the minutes of the Office Desk Phone.   Ask yourself – if my Office Desk Phone went away today could I still conduct business at least for a while?    The answer of is almost sure to be “yes”.

Mobility:  Most of us don’t like to sit in one spot all day.   You know the Herman Miller $600 chair?  You needed one of those because you didn’t move all day and you had to be right next to your Desk Phone – in case it rang.   Now you can be in the backyard, at a park or anywhere and make and receive business calls.   This is better for you and better for the customer trying to reach you.

Millennials:   The 15 – 30ish year olds have really only known an environment with wireless phones.   They may have grown up with a land-line but it had a base station and wireless handsets.   If you are one of the younger Millennials you have always had a cell phone.   And guess what … when they buy a house or get an apartment they don’t get a land line so when they move into the office environment they won’t need one there either.   As the older workers exit the workforce (the ones who like landlines) they will be replaced by new workers who don’t want or need one.
The youngest households are abandoning landlines in droves. About two-thirds of households led by people ages 15 to 29 relied only on cellphones in 2011, compared with 28% for the broader population.

Softphones:   Most all phone vendors now have a soft client… it can be on your laptop or it can ride on your iPhone or iPad.   You can use your company phone directory and network resources on devices other than the traditional Desk Phone.

For smartphone users making and receiving calls via hosted PBX apps, voice quality and service availability are improving dramatically as 4G data networks spread. Even business software suites such as Open Office, traditionally the realm of desktop or laptop computers, are now available in mobile versions.


So the trend is clear…   like the landline at home, the Office Desk Phone is trending down quickly.   So who will end up keeping a standard Office Desk Phone… the people who like to talk on a standard Desk Phone.  It will be a personal preference.  They say they can hear better and it is more comfortable.   Other than personal preference there are too many other options to free up some space on your desk.