Do you need an office cell phone policy?

12897883_SIs your workplace an electronics orchestra? A “ding” notifies one co-worker of a new text message on their cell phone. A “beep-beep” lets the supervisor know they have received a Facebook “LIKE” on their tablet. A ringtone from “Call Me Maybe” tells the receptionist that her boyfriend is calling through on her smartphone.

Sound familiar? If so, it may be time for an office cell phone policy. We know what you’re thinking: It sounds a little overbearing. And quite frankly, limiting cell phone use isn’t an option for some professions that require frequent mobile communication with employees. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a conversation about whether a cell phone policy would work for you. Here are four things to consider when drafting a policy:

  1. Ask your employees what they think. Involve your staff in the process. This undoubtedly will include your management staff. But also consider IT, human resources, legal and even front-line employees. You need to have buy-in from your staff to make the policy effective.
  2. Set limits on cell phone use. Define when personal cell phone use is appropriate. Should ringers only be set to vibrate? Should employees leave their phones at their desks during meetings? Do you need limitations on text messaging?
  3. Consider banning cell phone use behind the wheel. You may not think that liability would be an issue with cell phones, but it is. There have been successful lawsuits involving car crashes that happened while employees were taking business calls.
  4. Review and enforce. No policy is any good without enforcement. Have employees sign an acknowledgement of the policy, then post the standard throughout the office. Keep it updated with yearly reviews and hold employees accountable
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