Creating an Effective Cell Phones at Work Policy

The prevalence of cell phones at work constitutes part of the new challenges employers or HR managers must deal with. And the most promising solution is an effective cell phone policy. But while creating an employee cell phone policy, there is a need to strike a balance – accepting when it should be allowed or completely restricted. A poor version of the policy can compromise productivity.

To a large extent, some employers want to believe they have sold their policy rights to the need for personal cell phones at work to increase communication, mostly with the remote workers. Regardless of that, an effective cell phone policy must be established to prevent security breaches, time theft, compliance issues, and also promote safety. Now, how do you create an effective cell phone policy? Here is how.

Communicate Your Expectations

Without expectations, none would ever be disappointed. Having identified the potential areas employees would disappoint your office through cell phone abuse, you should let them know by communicating clearly the appropriate conduct expected. And just like other policies, your employee cell phone policy should be expressed clearly and not unmistakable.

Most importantly, there should be evidence that your expectations were duly received by the employees. Employers have the choice of incorporating the policy into an employee handbook or communicate it through any of the following ways.

  • Email blasting to all employees
  • A material for orientation distributed to all new hires
  • Written notice received by all employees, with an acknowledgment (signed duplicate copy) filed in their personnel files
  • A publication in a frequently visited area such as bulletin boards or main hallways.

Employee cell phone policy must be consistent

Policies are more prone to collapse when a group of employees are living above them or observing a different version of it. You don’t want to bring in misunderstandings, resentment among team members or be accused of unfair treatment – enemies of productivity. Keeping the policy consistent regardless of sexual orientation, race, age, level, etc, is what makes it effective.

Specify the smart devices employees can use

Is there no need for some smart devices to be allowed? Your policy will be ineffective if it restricts only cell phones. That means employees can bring in personal tablets or similar smart devices to still create the problem you are trying to avoid by limiting cell phones. The policy should categorically state the personal technology permitted during the time of restriction.

Consider safety, security, and privacy

While creating an employee cell phone policy, there is a need to consider safety, security, and privacy. Presenting your policy as a means to only stop employees from work time theft or to only maintain productivity level is not totally ideal. Employees should understand the dangers of using devices while operating machinery or driving. It should be clear that downloading infected attachments on their personal devices could shut down the entire office if passed into to the office network.

The need to create an effective cell phone policy at work is beyond plans for productivity. Employers should also understand that the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could investigate and impose penalties on them if they receive credible complaints that an employer permits unsafely use of cell phones at work.

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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