Cell Phones: Every Employee Has One. Do You Have a Use Policy?

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It seems that everyone has a cell phone; and, according to one industry report, more than 90 percent of your employees have them. Just because cell phones are virtually ubiquitous doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an employee cell-phone-use policy.

For some companies, safety is the paramount benefit: drivers and delivery personnel being involved in accidents because they were on their cell phones. For other employers, it’s the protection of sensitive data and the bottom line as well as the company’s image that make an employee cell-phone policy so important. There are also Internal Revenue Service considerations, such as what cell phone expenses employees can charge to their employers and who may claim those expenses as deductions.

Most experts agree that your first step to create fair and manageable cell-phone policy is to invite staff members from various departments to participate: technology as the technical phone experts, attorney who understands the legal ramifications, and department managers who know which employees need cell phones for safety reasons or to be highly productive.

Together, you should be able to develop an excellent cell-phone policy if you include:

  • The company goals that could be affected, such as closer management of workers in the field, improved productivity and quick access to critical data and information.
  • To which cell phones the policy applies: personal (during work hours only), company-issued (always), etc.
  • Comprehensively and clearly stated legal and safety issues.
  • Cell-phone etiquette.
  • Possible disciplinary action when the policy is violated.

Cell phones are too integrated into our modern culture to think they can be banned from the workplace entirely (although there a few extreme examples when that is necessary). Every employer should have a clear employee-use policy, however, so there are no misunderstandings, allowing cell phones to serve both employers and employees within a balanced framework.

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