I love my smartphone, which acts as my phone, my calendar, my to do list, my address book, my e-mail server, etc. My clients know that my cell phone is always on and that they can call me anytime of the day or night. I took client calls while on the Washington, D.C. metro system this summer and I returned calls on our last camping trip to New Mexico. For me, a cell phone is an essential tool to serve my clients, who are my bosses.
But for some employees, a personal cell phone may get in the way of doing a good job. For many health care, manufacturing, service and retail workers who don’t need to constantly talk to clients on the phone, or who need to deal with the public in person, a cell phone can be very distracting.
Many employers have started to create written policies to deal with all the issues that arise with cell phones in the workplace, such as the privacy issues that occur with cell phone cameras and recorders. If you as an employer want to address the use of cell phones at your business, here are some items you may want to include in your policy:
- Personal cell phones at work interfere with employee productivity and are distracting to others. All calls on personal cell phones must be kept as nondistracting as possible, limited in duration so as not to interrupt productivity or coworkers, and made during nonwork time (meal and break periods). At all other times, the personal cell phone should remain in the “off” or “vibrate” mode.
- Text messaging on cell phones, while not as distracting to your coworkers, still interrupts your productivity and must be kept to a minimum.
- Mobile phones can be very distracting and dangerous and are not to be used while driving on company business unless the employee parks the vehicle to dial and talk on the cell phone or parks the vehicle to dial and then uses a hands-free microphone and earpiece while driving.
- Under no circumstances are cellular telephone cameras or other cameras (video or still) to be used on the company premises without prior approval of the the president of the company.
- Employees are prohibited from using cell phones or other recording devices in the workplace to record the conversations of the employee, coworkers, supervisors or others while on company premises.
- Employees who are provided cell phones by the company must use, maintain and care for the phone in a manner that limits wear and tear on the phone. Employees are financially responsible for any damage or loss of a company cell phone.
- Employees who are provided company cell phones must acknowledge that the employer pays for a limited number of minutes to be used for business purposes. If the employee exceeds the allowed number of minutes, the employee is responsible for reimbursing the company for any minutes used for personal calls unrelated to the business interests of the company.