It’s highly likely that every employee in your workplace brings a mobile phone to work every day.

Mobile phones have become a sort of extension of ourselves, we can ask Siri if we have a question, use the calculator, and pencil events into our calendars. They’ve also changed the way that we work: we can shoot a message to a coworker in an instant, view our competitor’s webpage, tap into our HRIS, and even perform quick research on a new idea that we have. With this in mind, how up to date is your workplace mobile phone policy?

Mobile Phone Bans Are No Longer Realistic

Telling people that they can’t have their phones while at work or can’t use their phones at all during work hours is unrealistic. Employees will sneak their phones into work or look at their social media pages when the manager isn’t looking. Treating employees like children may also have an adverse impact on employee loyalty and company culture.

Productivity and Cell Phones

While cell phone use may affect productivity, not having cell phones on hand may also be a distraction for employees. Many employees tend to feel anxiety when their cell phone isn’t within reach. The sweet spot may be allowing employees to have their cell phones and to use them in some capacity, but to identify exactly how cell phones should and shouldn’t be used while at work.

Security Concerns and Cell Phones

When employees work with sensitive information or have access to materials that should be kept private for whatever reason, cell phones increase the risks of security breaches. Restricting cell phone use for this reason may not be the best approach, however. Remember that employees are already being trusted with the information or goods and simply make it clear that it’s not okay to take pictures or share certain aspects of work in a public way.

Trust and Employee Relationships

When employees are trusted to make choices regarding their phone use at work, it can promote better relationships and an overall culture of acceptance. Giving employees a little freedom can improve job satisfaction and loyalty, while also allowing employees to work in the way that best suits them. A little respect can go a long way.

Smart Phone Policies

Instead of strictly policing cell phone use, creating smart policies regarding use may be more effective. Giving employees the freedom to take a personal call or look something up can ease the pressure, but you also don’t want employees to burn company hours browsing Instagram. Even more importantly, you don’t want employees to crash company vehicles while texting.

The following are a few suggestions that can help shape a smart cell phone policy:

  • No viewing or sharing of potentially offensive pictures, text, or videos while at work
  • Cell phone use prohibited while operating company vehicles or heavy equipment
  • Passwords must be used appropriately when accessing company-related data
  • Use discretion when taking personal calls or viewing personal messages
  • Never share sensitive or proprietary information, especially through images or video
  • Specific consequences for specific violations regarding cell phone use
  • Clear communication and consistently in sharing and enforcing cell phone policies