Top 10 Tips for Creating an Effective Cell Phone Policy at Your Workplace

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Sep 14, 2018

Sep 14, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Our cell phones have become a normal part of our lives. We use them to communicate with others, for daily tasks in life, and to check social media.

Cell phones are also commonly used in our professional lives, especially with apps such as Slack.

But do you struggle with employees on their phones?

There are times when an employee needs to use their phone for work purposes. But how do you know they're using their phone for the right reasons? When you start asking these questions, you know it's time to create a cell phone policy.

Here are 10 tips to follow when creating your cell phone policy.

1. Put It in Writing

To ensure your employees see your cell phone policy, put it in writing.

Include the contract in your employee handbook and you can even require your employees to sign the contract. This policy should include phone calls, texts, social media, and mobile internet use.

2. Emphasize What's Not Allowed

You want to mention which type of cell phone use is necessary for the job but also the cell phone use that's not allowed. Here are some examples:

  • Long calls (except for meetings and other business-related calls)
  • Cell phone use while driving a company vehicle
  • Using the camera
  • Using the voice recorder
  • Viewing inappropriate content on your phone

Make it known these rules are important and the consequences are dire, such as termination. Update or change this list, depending on your company's requirements.

3. Address Employee Accountability

To ensure your employees know they aren't allowed on their phones, make it known that they're responsible for their cell phone use.

There are times when cell phone use is appropriate, such as to speak with a family member during an emergency.

But if they're scrolling through social media or texting their best friend, this is irresponsible and the employee must be held accountable.

Why should an employee be held accountable? The employee won't be able to blame their cell phone use in an appropriate situation unless they can prove it.

4. Send the Policy Through Multiple Formats

The best course of action when distributing a cell phone policy is distributing it through multiple different platforms. Especially if your company takes cell phone use seriously.

Blast an email to all employees about the cell phone policy. Hang up the policy throughout the office. And immediately notify your employees when there's a change to the policy.

Don't forget to inform your new hires about the policy. This should be done right after they start working.

5. Keep Enforcing This Policy

Keep consistently enforcing your cell phone policy. It's easy to be strict at first but eventually be a little relaxed.

Don't let your employees get under your skin. If you posted the policy and still see an employee on their phone, act up. Use appropriate punishments for breaking the policy.

In addition, it's important to be fair. Don't let one employee get away with cell phone use but put pressure on another employee.

6. Indicate Which Devices to Use

It's probably acceptable for some employees to use their mobile devices. But which devices can they use? And should you put restrictions on certain devices?

This is a good way to monitor the office mobile use and ensure your employees aren't slacking off.

For example, maybe checking social media is an integral part of the job. Only allow social media use on the laptop. You can easily see their screen and you won't mistake their duties for texting or personal social media use.

7. Establish Anti-Harassment Rules

Employee safety is your number one priority. But with mobile phones, your employees can be unsafe at any time. An employee can receive harassing, offensive, and unsettling messages from another employee.

Make sure your anti-harassment policy includes cell phone use. State sending harassing or offensive messages to other employees is forbidden and can result in termination. These messages are prohibited whether at work or off of work.

Hopefully, this is a common sense rule. But you should still enforce it -- some people just can't control themselves and you never know what your employees are saying to others with the privacy of their phones.

8. Keep Cybersecurity in Mind

Employee security isn't reduced to harassment. Security measures should be taken when performing daily work functions -- even on the employee's personal device.

If your employee downloads malware to their computer, this can disrupt their duties. Especially when they need their laptop for work while traveling or work remotely.

Other hackers can target your company and will first attack your or your employees' personal devices. Train your employees to identify and prevent hacking, on their personal and professional devices.

9. Identify Any Current Issues

There's probably a reason why you're creating a cell phone policy -- you probably need one. When drafting your policy, list current cell phone issues the office is facing.

Don't try and attack anyone in particular. Word this in a way such as: "employees are spending lots of time on the phone" or "there's an abundance of non-work related Slack chats."

10. Identify Positive Mobile Device Use

There's probably a time when mobile device use is allowed, especially for your marketing and IT teams. Relax your policies for this kind of use. Identify the daily mobile tasks required of your employees.

Identify who your employees can contact, how they can contact certain people, and when this is acceptable.

This will help separate inappropriate mobile use from appropriate mobile use.

Time to Create a Cell Phone Policy

Cell phones are an integral part of our lives. There's a time when your employees will need to use their cell phones at work and a time when cell phone use isn't allowed. A detailed cell phone policy will help disclose the difference.

In your cell phone policy, identify daily mobile functions, which devices they can use, and any inappropriate cell phone use.

Do you need to hire reliable employees? Post your open job positions here.