Home phone use during lockdown: new routines to stay connected.

Husain Sumra profile image December 18, 2020 | 5 min read

According to McKinsey, a consulting firm, more than two-thirds of Americans are holding back on outdoor activities, which means spending much more time at home. That means fewer visits to your favorite restaurant and perhaps a lot more time using streaming services. Staying at home for days and weeks at a time can get old, and with more time at home, a home phone is one of the best ways to stay in touch. Find out how home phone use during lockdown can keep you connected and productive without adding stress.

Spending more time at home: Why it’s different compared to other routines.

Many people used to have a daily routine defined by their commuting habits. You might get into your car by 8:00 a.m., drive on the freeway, and pick up coffee. Upon arriving at the office, your social habits would kick in, and you’d say hello to a few people. At your desk, you’d enjoy your coffee or tea and check social media. This gradual transition time between home and work has disappeared for many of us.

Your morning “commute” might be minutes or seconds, depending on how far away you are from your mobile devices. The advantage of staying at home is that you can save money on commuting costs and save time. The disadvantage is that you will begin to lose some of your social connections if you don’t make an effort to stay engaged. Fortunately, a phone call strategy is one of the simplest ways to stay connected in the age of social distancing and remote work.

Maintaining happiness and productivity when you are staying at home requires some thinking. You’re no longer going to encounter people on the street or in the hallway accidentally. Without these occasional conversations, you are less likely to hear about new opportunities in the business, and you may not reach your business goals as a result. Therefore, you may need a different way to stay connected. That’s where your home phone comes in to play. Here are three reasons home phone use during lockdown will help you.

Staying connected with phone calls: Three reasons why phone calls are a great choice.

  1. Nearly everybody has access to a phone.

Whether you are staying connected with elderly relatives or those with limited technology, almost everyone has a phone. As of 2017, there were 1.4 phones for every American.

If you want to maximize your chances of being able to stay connected with colleagues and family quickly, phone calls are still the best option.

  1. Phone calls give you better emotional depth than text messages and email.

Some newer communication tools give you new features like video calling. Those features are fun to use! However, they take some time to configure. Think back to your last few video calls. You (or somebody else on the call) probably had a problem with their microphone or sound for a few minutes. And nothing is more annoying than having the person on the other line freeze up during a conversation, bringing your lively chat to a thundering halt.  By contrast, you already know how to make phone calls, dial and then focus on your conversation. It’s also much harder for an audio-only phone call to get derailed by a spotty internet connection or bad Wi-Fi. If you’re having an in-depth discussion, there’s nothing like a home phone. 

What about text messaging? Certainly, texting is helpful for a simple question, like asking if somebody received the package you mailed them. However, text messages do not have the same personal depth and focus as phone calls. When you are focused on a phone call, it is much easier to have a personal discussion. You can hear the other person’s tone of voice, which makes it easier to tell if a person is angry, telling a joke or upset. Based on that understanding, you can have a better conversation. 

New research has discovered that some students are having up to nine simultaneous “conversations” by text message. With that many conversations on the go, it is difficult to truly connect as you can on a phone call.  

  1. Voice calls work smoothly and are compatible with a variety of mobile devices.

Have you ever had to guide somebody through the process of downloading a communications app? It can be a tiresome process, especially if you are not technically inclined or the other person just isn’t interested in signing up for yet another service. You’d much rather focus on staying connected than attempting to guide people through technical issues.

Building a stay-at-home routine with your phone.

Now that we know why voice calls are a great option, it is time to build your staying-at-home communication routine. Since it can take time to build new habits, pick one idea for this week. After using that routine a few times, choose another technique.

Your first staying-connected-at-home routine option is to schedule a coffee chat with a friend by phone. Send an email to a friend you haven’t spoken with recently (e.g., in the past week) and suggest a time for a voice call coffee chat. Make the request simple—catch up for 15 minutes in the morning or the afternoon. Adding this to your routine, even if you only do it once per week, will go a long way toward staying connected.

The next staying-connected routine is to have a professional voice call. Depending on your situation, this could be a one-on-one call with an employee or a business partner. It could also be a follow-up meeting to get to know somebody you met recently. Pick a time on your calendar to set a reminder (e.g., Mondays from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m.) to review your contacts and reach out to somebody for a phone call. Setting aside 15-20 minutes each week to maintain professional relationships matters! Otherwise, you might fall victim to the “out of sight, out of mind” trap. 

In some cases, you’re looking for something to talk about with your friends and family beyond the news. That’s where organizing a virtual streaming service party with your phone is a good option. The fourth option is to combine your home phone with a streaming service. For example, you could use an official feature like the “Netflix Party” to coordinate a viewing party. Or you could ask a few friends to get on the phone and then hit the play button at the same time. After the movie is over, you can chat about your favorite scenes.

Home phone use during lockdown: Tips to choose the right technology.

Staying connected when you are home for long periods means you need a robust home phone services. For example, you might find that your Apple devices or Android devices don’t give you all the features you need. If you need to make a lot of international calls, then use Ooma’s World plan, which includes unlimited international calls. This kind of unlimited calling is extra important during the holidays like New Year’s when many people want to call distant friends and family.  Also, if you get frustrated by many unwanted phone calls, take a look at Ooma’s call blocking feature.