smartphone policy

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two thirds of Americans own a smartphone and at least 19 percent depend on their smartphone for internet access of some kind. In spite of these impressive numbers, many workplaces have yet to introduce a mobile app and even some of those who have forbid the use of smartphones while on the floor.

Instead of fighting against the tide, it makes a lot more sense to adapt to the changing culture and simply implement some rules where applicable. Going with an HR software solution that offers a mobile app can boost user adoption rates and help to bring the HRIS into alignment with habits that are already a part of employees’ daily lives. There are several challenges that should be considered when integrating smartphone use into work days, however.

Separating Work Hours from Off-Duty Hours

In a perfect world, employees work and get paid for every second that they are on the clock and don’t do any work or get any pay while off the clock. With the introduction of smartphones into the workplace, however, employees may take a few minutes to check personal texts while on the clock and may respond to an email or two while off the clock. Clear-cut rules regarding these situations should be specified to avoid labor lawsuits and other dilemmas.

Smartphone Abuse Potential

When employees are allowed to use their smartphones at work, it can be very difficult to keep track of exactly what employees are doing on their smartphones. If employees are using their smartphone to sext or sexually harass someone, it can turn into a legal issue for the workplace if they “should reasonably have known” what was going on. Employers may wish to put policies in place allowing monitoring of company-issues phones or basic policies governing workplace cell phone uses.

Smartphone Addiction and Productivity

Smartphone addiction affects many, and sufferers may lose sleep and experience anxiety as a result of their addition to checking smartphones for social media, alerts, games, and work. Productivity and the quality of work may suffer as a result of a habitual obsession with checking the smartphone every few minutes. This is a tricky problem to solve, but instituting certain smartphone shut off hours while at work has shown to increase productivity during those hours for some companies.

Clarifying and Communicating Smartphone Policies

When integrating smartphones into the workplace culture, it is important to clarify and communicate exactly what smartphone uses are approved and what uses are not. Allowing employees to access the HRIS using their smartphone may help to encourage new levels of engagement, so it is important to remember the benefits as well as the challenges when instituting policies. It may also be wise to work with the HRIS vendor to develop an effective workplace smartphone policy.

When crafting workplace smartphone policies, you may wish to consider including rules such as:

  • Requiring all phones to be turned off or silenced during meetings
  • Only allowing certain specified uses of the phone while on the clock
  • Limiting use to a certain number of minutes per hour
  • Forbidding the use of cameras or video cameras
  • Prohibiting unacceptable languages and images in communications