Trish Barnes on May 17, 2017
Is it Time for a Workplace Mobile Phone Policy?
Mobile phones are omnipresent in America and in much of the world. Pew Research Center states, “95 percent of Americans now own a cellphone of some kind.” Although these devices streamline communication and have in many ways revolutionized the world, they can be incredibly distracting in the workplace.
As a result, more and more employers are choosing to implement a mobile phone policy. Does this make sense for your company?
A Productivity Killer
According to CareerBuilder research, “One in five employers (19 percent) think workers are productive less than five hours a day. When looking for a culprit, more than half of employers (55 percent) say that workers’ mobile phones/texting are to blame.”
It turns out that this is actually the number one overall productivity killer at work eclipsing the Internet, gossip and social media. So it should come as no surprise that many companies are turning to a mobile phone policy to get things back on track.
How it Works
It’s simple. A mobile phone policy creates certain guidelines that dictate if and when employees can use these devices at work. Here are some of the common elements it covers:
- The purpose of the policy
- Who it applies to
- Details of the policy
- What is and isn’t allowed in the workplace
- How mobile phones should be used
- Consequences of an infraction
By setting a few parameters, you achieve a deeper level of control and can prevent mobile phone usage from getting out of hand.
The specifics of a policy can vary widely depending upon how a business is run and whether or not mobile phones are an integral part of job performance. Here are a few examples of limitations you might want to set:
- Employees are only allowed to use their devices expressly for work-related purposes while on the job (no personal use)
- They may use productivity apps
- Personal calls and texts are only permissible during breaks
- Calls and texts shouldn’t disturb or distract others (e.g. use a low ringtone)
- Mobile phones should be turned to “vibrate” or “mute”
These are just a few examples. You can find a sample mobile phone policy at Workable. Once you have your own policy completed, add it to your employee handbook and send it as an email so that everyone is aware.
A clear policy gives you greater control over your employees’ mobile phone usage. Rather than letting it go unregulated, this can greatly diminish or even eliminate abuse. In turn, you’re likely to see a noticeable increase in productivity.
You can also ensure that your employees are following basic rules of etiquette. They can still use their mobile devices during certain situations without it becoming a nuisance to others.
If you’re finding that cell phones are adversely impacting your business, you may want to consider creating a mobile phone policy. It is a great way to keep this issue in check and prevent a minor issue from becoming a major problem.