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Provisional Blog

Should You Restrict Employee Cell Phone Use at Work?

August 14th, 2012

Ever had any of these situations happen to you?

You’re running a meeting when all of a sudden you look over, and one of your employees is on their cell phone, texting.

You check-in on an employee only to see them chatting away on their cell phone during an extremely busy period at work or when they’re on a tight deadline.

You have to wait five minutes while an employee wraps up a phone conversation with their spouse about where to go to dinner.

If you have, then you’re in good company. So what’s the best way to combat these new challenges presented by cell phone use in the workplace, without treating your employees like children?

As one of the leading staffing firms in the Northwest, Provisional can tell you that the easiest answer is to have a clear cell phone use policy and strictly enforce it. Here are some critical issues yours should cover:

  • Be sure to discuss basic rules of etiquette in your policy. For instance, some rules might include that employees must keep their phones on vibrate during working hours; phones are prohibited at meetings; and they must talk quietly when they are engaged in a phone conversation.
  • Describe when employees are allowed to use their cell phones. For example, do you only want to permit cell phone use on breaks and during lunch time? Or do you feel comfortable leaving use up to employee discretion? Whatever you decide, it needs to be clearly defined so there is no room for interpretation.
  • Since most cell phones come with cameras today, you need to explain where and how they can be used. For instance, you may want to forbid cell phone use when employees are engaged in activities related to company finances, or research and development.
  • Ensure that you ban texting while driving when the employee is on the job or in a company car. Should they get into an accident, your company could be held liable.
  • Since technology has made it easier for employees to harass each other, it’s important to include guidelines about sexual harassment. In other words, let employees know what to do in case they feel they’ve received inappropriate texts or emails sent via the cell phone of a co-worker or manager.

In addition, once you’ve created your policy, schedule a mandatory training session to review it with your employees. Discuss the rationale behind the key points and explain the consequences for non-compliance.

As one of the leading staffing firms in the Northwest, Provisional enforces a strict cell phone use policy for all of our temporary associates. So if you’re interested in bringing one on board, you can rest easy knowing they will respect the rules and reserve their phone use to emergency situations only. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our temporary staffing services.

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