Why and How to Update Your Employee Cell Phone Policy
If you’re noticing that using cell phones is a tricky issue in your workplace, you should think about updating the policies around cell phone usage. If your employees have company phones, that is even more reason to update your cell phone policy.
Why Should You Update Your Employee Cell Phone Policy
You’ll first want to find out why this matters and why a new cell phone policy is necessary for your business. There’s a range of issues that can be caused by too much cell phone use in the office and these problems can be avoided by implementing the right policies.
Issue #1: Shadow Tasking
When cell phone use becomes too commonplace in your workplace, it can lead to a problem for your employees known as shadow tasking. This is when employees end up spending their work time on their cell phones taking care of things that should be done in their personal time. They then have to spend their personal time catching up on work tasks. That kind of situation is never ideal.
It’s best for everyone if shadow tasking is avoided. It doesn’t help your employees to have the line between their work and home life blurred. It leads to stress and increased pressure in the long-term. A good cell phone policy for your workplace will assist in stopping shadow tasking from happening in the first place. The policy will benefit your employees even if they don’t realize it right away.
Issue #2: Reduced Productivity
Another reason to make these changes is overall productivity. Every business needs to be productive if it’s going to find success and the same is true of yours too. If you can’t achieve that, you’ll run into problems later on and pay the price.
The truth of the matter is that cell phone usage in the office can drain productivity. When people are busy using their phones for non-work related things, they’re not going to be focused on getting their work done and that’s a problem.
By limiting and regulating the use of cell phones in your workplace, you’ll be able to ensure productivity remains as high as possible and that your business carries on in the right direction. The right policy will help remove distractions in a way that everyone can get on board with.
Issue #3: Safety in the Workplace
This is industry-specific, but safety can also be compromised in places like warehouses, manufacturing plants, and other industrial spaces if everyone is on their phone.
When people are focused on their phone screen, it makes them more likely to cause accidents or overlook dangers and risks. That’s something that you can’t afford to ignore.
Be sure to underline and emphasize the importance of concentration on safety at work and how cell phones can distract from that. People sometimes need to be reminded of why you have a cell phone policy in place. After all, it’s your responsibility to keep your employees as safe as possible.
2 Things to Consider Before Updating
1. Cell Phone Usage Has Changed
Over the years, the way in which people use cell phones, including how they use them in the workplace, has changed a lot.
That in itself is a key reason to change your cell phone usage policy. If you haven’t done an update to your cell phone policy in 10 years or more, the policies you currently have in place will be hopelessly out of date and all but irrelevant.
Just as you would with any other aspect of your business, you need to take steps to move with the times so that your company doesn’t fall behind and end up with big headaches as a result of that.
In the world of business, things change all the time and it’s up to you to keep up with them. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
2. Your Policy Needs to Reflect Your Culture
Any policy that your business implements in the workplace needs to reflect the culture of the company.
This matters because people will judge your business based on the actions of your employees. For example, if you have a meeting with a client and one of your team members is sitting there using their phone for non-vital activities or activities that aren’t relevant to the meeting, it’ll reflect badly on your business.
It’s things like this that determine how professional people perceive your business. You obviously want them to see your organization as professional, trustworthy and engaged. This will only be possible if you run the business in the right way and enforce policies such as restricting cell phone usage during work hours. If you don’t, it could harm your business going forward.
How to Update Your Employee Cell Phone Policy
Now that you know why a good cell phone policy is so important, it’s time to discuss how you can approach the process of updating your policy. There are lots of workable steps you can take to address this
1. Don’t Make the Policy Unrealistic or Overbearing
The first trap you need to avoid when it comes time to update your employee cell phone policy for your workplace is making it too unrealistic. If you don’t make it realistic and fair for your employees, it simply won’t work. People will either ignore the policy or they’ll feel like they’re being treated like a child, which will lead to other problems. It’s a mistake that businesses often make.
For example, it’s not fair to say that your employees are never allowed to use their cell phones.
People need to contact family members sometimes and maybe they’ll need to have their cell phones nearby in case of emergencies. That’s just a fact of life and there’s no reason to ignore it as you set your cell phone policy.
2. Make it a Common Sense Policy for All
The policy should be seen as a common-sense policy that works for everyone. You can ensure that people receive the policy this way by talking to them and explaining your reasoning as clearly as possible. There might be some people who don’t like it to begin with, but if the policy is fair and you explain to them why it’s important, you should be able to win them over.
When something comes from a common-sense standpoint and not an arbitrary need to punish people, it’s much easier for everyone to get on board.
If this cell phone policy is going to work and achieve the desired outcomes for your business, it needs to be realistic and accepted by everyone. If it’s not, it’ll be ignored.
3. Don’t Ignore Safety Factors
As we mentioned above, safety matters when it comes to creating a cell phone policy. That’s why the policy will need to be stricter in more dangerous workplaces where more hazards are present. On the other hand, the policy can probably be a little more lenient in offices and places where there are fewer direct risks that might be made riskier by cell phone usage.
Nothing matters more than the safety of your employees and that’s something that you have to take into account. If people are being put at risk because of cell phone usage, it’s your responsibility to ensure that distractions and danger are removed. After all, people’s lives could be on the line and it’ll be your company that’s held responsible if something goes wrong.
4. Consider How Cell Phones Are Used in Relation to Sensitive Information
Your new policy should also take into account how cell phones are used to communicate sensitive information. They can be used to record images or audio and even if those functions are used innocently, carelessness can lead to data or sensitive information getting out there into the wider world and you probably don’t want that to happen. It’s definitely something that needs to be taken into account.
Of course, you might not feel like your business has very sensitive information that shouldn’t escape the office. But it’s certainly true that all businesses have financial details that need to be protected. A stray selfie might capture an image of a computer screen or a piece of paper on the desk.
That’s why taking unauthorized photos and audio recordings in the office should either not be allowed or reviewed by another party before posting.
5. Create a Policy That’s Specific to Your Business
You shouldn’t forget that every business is unique and has a unique set of requirements and circumstances surrounding them. So, don’t just copy and paste a cell phone policy that you’ve found elsewhere.
Instead, take into account the specific situation of your business and what its needs might be. Doing that will lead to the creation of a policy that genuinely works for you and your employees.
A cookie-cutter approach will simply create more problems than it solves and you’ll end up wishing you had put more time and effort into creating this policy.
Rather than living with regrets, consider the needs of your business now rather than later. It’s the only way to be sure that the policy is going to work for you and lead to the changes you’re looking for.
6. Think About How Cell Phones Can be Used to Harass or Bully
Harassing and bullying are obviously never acceptable in the workplace and you likely already have policies in place to combat those problems.
But do those policies take into account cell phone usage? And does your existing cell phone policy, if you have one, consider how cell phones might be used to bully or harass other staff members at work or out of work hours?
Of course, you can’t completely control how people use their phones. But you can make specific rules and regulations regarding how people interact with colleagues, including via their cell phones. That way, if someone comes to you with a complaint, you’ll be able to take swift disciplinary action against the offending party in line with the rules and regulations they work for your business under.
It is important to ensure that your employees can effectively communicate with each other at all times through reliable company-approved phone systems. Some employees may be using their personal cell phones because business phones are unreliable and the quality of the call is lacking. Contact us today at 888-405-4646 for more information on upgrading your organization’s phone system.