I don't have an office phone. I use my computer instead. It's cheaper than having a separate phone line, so it saves the company money. When I don't answer the phone, and a caller leaves a voice message, I actually get an email that has the recording as an attachment, and the email also has a text version of the message where the audio has automatically been converted to text. It works reasonably well. How cool is that?
Another thing that happens is that I get an email when I miss a call even if no voicemail message is left. So I get a lot of these often.
I don't answer anonymous calls. I just don't.
Years ago I worked at GTE Telecommunication Systems on a special purpose computer that processed phone calls. Believe it or not, the phone company used to provide features that we take for granted today because they are found on our smart phones. For example, you used to be able to store 10 phone numbers with your account and easily dial those numbers without having to enter all 7 (or maybe 11) digits. Notice how I say dial even though it really was touchtone instead. Old terms seem to never die.
One of the features that we worked on was "calling number delivery." It was the ability of a called person to see who was calling. The phone number doing the dialing was sent along with the voice. At the time this was a hotly debated topic.
- Half of the people welcomed the idea of being able to tell a call from a friend/relative from a call from a telemarketer.
- The other half felt like their privacy was being violated because they had to send out their phone number just to be able to talk to someone. They feared calling a business to inquire about something, and then being hounded by return calls when they did not make a purchase.
To me, not sending out your phone number when you make a phone call is like ringing someone's door bell but putting your thumb over the peephole in their front door. If you're going to do that, I'm certainly not going to open my door. Likewise I am certainly not going to take your phone call.
The right amount of privacy is alive in the lab.