It's likely that most, if not all, of your employees bring a personal cell phone to the office. Determining when it is acceptable for your employees to use their personal cell phones in the workplace, and when it is not, requires a careful balancing act.
On the one hand, employers do not pay employees to converse with friends and family. On the other hand, a cell phone policy generally should not be so restrictive as to prohibit all uses of a personal cell phone. Employees may need to check in on their children, for example, or may need to attend to important personal matters during business hours, such as doctors or pharmacists.
What to Include in an Effective Cell Phone Policy
The policies listed below can and should be adapted to your company's specific work environment and "culture."
For example, businesses that rarely have clients or customers at the worksite may choose to have more lenient policies than those where current or prospective clients or customers visit regularly.
Employees should make personal cell phone calls during break or lunch times to the maximum extent possible.
Frequent or lengthy phone calls are not acceptable as they may adversely affect the employee's productivity and disturb others.
Employees should be encouraged to use common sense when making or receiving personal cell phone calls at work. For example, employees should speak quietly and reserve personal or intimate details for non-work hours.
Personal cell phone use, even when permitted, must never include language that is obscene, discriminatory, offensive, prejudicial or defamatory in any way (such as jokes, slurs and/or inappropriate remarks regarding a person's race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, age or disability).
Personal cell phones generally should not be used for business-related purposes unless a business-provided phone is not available.
Employees should turn off ringers or change ringers to "mute" or "vibrate" during training, conferences and the like; when meeting with clients or serving customers; and if an employee shares a workspace with others.
The use of cameras on cell phones during work time is prohibited to protect the privacy of the employer as well as of fellow employees.
Finally, for Employees on the Road. Texting while driving puts millions of Americans who drive on the job at risk every day. As an employer, it's your legal responsibility under federal and some state safety and health laws to safeguard drivers at work.
This holds true whether your employees drive full-time or only occasionally to carry out their work, and whether they drive a company vehicle or their own.
You can check out OSHA's distracted driving web page for additional safety tips for reducing work-related driving distractions.
To make sure your business is complying with all federal and state laws, check out HR360's website.