Smartphones allow you to surf the Internet, make notes, manage your calendar and do all sorts of other business tasks while on the go. While it's beneficial to have your own iPhone or other device for personal use -- which you can then use to also complete business tasks -- having one strictly for business use can also be a helpful addition to your work-related technology; plus, it won't come out of your own pocket. Since employers are often willing to invest in technology that increases productivity, your chances may be good if you can show how it will save them money.
Log your current work activities for a week, detailing what you do, where you go, and with whom you meet. If you spend time outside of the office doing work-related tasks, make note of how those activities could be enhanced by using an iPhone. For example, if you were out of the office and someone called to set up an appointment with you, without a smartphone you may have had to call into the office to check your calendar and set up the appointment so that it's recorded in the office database. With an iPhone, you could have checked your appointments on the spot and then added them to your calendar, which would be synced with the office calendar instantly. Next to each task, detail the time you spent on it, and estimate how much time you could have saved by using a mobile app or accessing information on your iPhone.
Tally the amount of time you estimate you could have saved in that week by using a smartphone, and then multiply it by your hourly rate. For example, if you think you could have saved four hours of time in a week by using the iPhone and your hourly rate is $25, the total savings is $100. At the bottom of your work activity sheet, write down the cost-saving formula so it will be easy for the boss to understand your calculations. Also multiply that figure by the number of weeks you work per year, so the boss has an even bigger number to look at to determine cost savings.
Research the costs for your iPhone. If your company currently uses a certain mobile provider, check on the costs for adding one more line, and then determine whether there are any corporate deals to make buying the phone cheaper. Add the costs of the iPhone to the work activity sheet. An iPhone and its payment plan can be expensive, but juxtaposed against the cost savings for an entire year, your boss may see that it's a worthwhile investment.
Ask your boss for a few minutes of her time to discuss your proposal. Print out the work activity sheet and go over the numbers with her, so that she'll get a clear picture of your proposal. Also be prepared to respond to questions about why you want an iPhone instead of an Android or BlackBerry -- since BlackBerry devices are used more often in business as of 2011. Perhaps there are specific applications exclusive to the iPhone, or perhaps your workplace uses other Apple products. If the boss doesn't give you a clear answer right away, ask for a date when she will let you know. In the best-case scenario, the boss will see that it's such a wise investment that she'll get them for everyone in the office.
- If you're already using your personal smartphone for business use, you could also show your employer how much you're using it, and then ask them to pay the associated costs.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.