How to Create a Cell Phone Policy at Work

10 Pointers to Success

Smartphone use has become ubiquitous in this past decade, but unfortunately many companies do not have a good cell phone policy at work. How does a company eliminate cell phone usage at work when it has become commonplace? The company utilizes an effective Employee Cell Phone Policy.

Ok we know this is not the sexiest subject, but if you hang with us we will offer some common-sense guidelines for constructing a Company Cell Phone Policy at Work that will keep your drivers safe.

Also we promise to keep it interesting so you don’t fall asleep and helpful so you can actually create a policy immediately (We will actually provide you with a company issued Cell Phone Policy template / example at Work for your use).

We will highlight TEN simple pointers for creating your policy. Additionally, we will deal with those employees who drive company vehicles, or even personal cars while on the job. Here we will speak of the policies needed to minimize company liability for employees who become distracted drivers.

Why Communicate a Company Cell Phone Policy at Work?

In today’s world, there is a strong likelihood that most, if not all, of your employees bring their personal cell phones to work. As their employer, it is important that you communicate what is acceptable and unacceptable policy when it comes to their use of personal cell phones during work hours. Corporate email is good. Snap chatting with ten potential suitors on company time is bad. You get the idea, but they may not.

Of course that means a wonderful conflict of interest. On the one hand, employers do not pay employees to be talking to family and friends, or to be posting, tweeting, surfing the net or playing Candy Crush (we know you do it). On the other hand, a cell phone policy at work should not be so restrictive as to ban ALL uses of a personal cell phone. Employees may need to check in on their children or may need to call regarding an important personal matter during business hours, with a lawyer or a doctor.

Regardless of the conflict, a carefully crafted mobile phone policy at work allows your employees freedom and the company a well documented policy. So how do we actually do this? Let’s read on.

Share Your Vision

How can employees comply with your policies, rules, goals and wishes if they do not know what they are? Some employees will also want to know why certain policies are what they are. Employers should take the time to communicate their expectations regarding appropriate employee conduct to all employees. Workplace policies should be expressed, preferably in writing, as clearly and unambiguously as possible. They should be applied consistently and fairly by the employer.

As a side note; when you try and share your vision, it may be helpful to bring other employees in the discussion for buy-in. No one wants to be this boss:

Practical Ways to Get the Word Out

Creating a compelling vision is great but if no one hears about it then… does it matter? Here are some easy ways to get the message out.

employee handbook iconEmployee handbook cell phone policy

employee review iconAs Orientation material for new employees

email blast iconAn email “blast” to all employees

employee performance iconPart of Performance Appraisals and Job Reviews

news blast iconPostings in areas frequented by employees, such as break rooms, main hallways or bulletin boards. (Not the best method if you want verification that each employee saw and understood the policy)

10 Pointers to Create an Effective Company Cell Phone Policy at Work

Knowing how to share the vision is important but how do you actually create the framework? The policy suggestions below can offer some insightful tips. Some can be used directly while others may need to be adapted to your company’s specific work environment and “culture.”

Safety may dictate a more absolute ban for those in dangerous positions. Companies whose employees drive our roads as part of their work, will want to address the dangers of mobile phone use while driving. Employees whose jobs require them to work directly with the public may also be prohibited from having a phone where the public can see it. Use these tips to start your foundation.

Here are TEN pointers to help you with your Company Cell Phone Policy at Work.

communicate company cell phone policy to employees

1. Communication
clearly state what you are expecting of your employees and their behavior. Put your policy in writing and share it during Orientation for new employees, and in some written form to all existing employees. It may be necessary to have employees sign an acknowledgment that they received and understood the policy.

communicate company cell phone policy to employees

2. Coordination
encourage employees to use their breaks and lunch times for making and receiving personal calls. Provide them an assigned area where they can make calls, surf the net, and do personal emails where they won’t disrupt those who are not on a break.

use cell phone policy to minimize distractions at work

3. Consideration
encourage employees to use common sense when receiving or making phone calls. The volume of their speaking should be appropriate for the environment. People should also be considerate of the subject matter you choose to discuss in front of your co-workers.

equal balance of rocks

4. Application
Make sure your policies are equally applied to all employees regarding of the seniority or position. Sporadic or random enforcement will inadvertently encourage the breaking of the policy. Uneven enforcement will undermine your positive intentions.

Receiving an email notification

5. Notification
Technology keeps changing and so should a good company cell phone policy at work. But changes cannot occur in a void. If your company needs to adapt, change, modify or amend your cell phone policy at work, those changes need to be clearly and consistently communicated to all employees, even those who might not appear to be affected by the change. For example, if it is decided that warehouse workers need to place their phones in lockers, then not only do warehouse workers need to be notified but all employees to show your focus and care regarding your policies.

police sirens for violating phone policy

6. Violations
in order for there to enforcement of company policies, there needs to be consequences for violating company policy. Employees need to know what the consequences are beforehand. If consequences are ever waived, it should be done for a reason that is understandable to all employees. Personal cell phone use, even when permitted, must never include language that is obscene, discriminatory, offensive, prejudicial or defamatory in any way.

reiterate cell phone policy at work

7. Reiteration
if you only communicate company policy once, not giving it time, energy and resources, you are communicating that the policy is not that important to you. Furthermore, if an employee does violate a policy, then that employee and others should have the policy reiterated.

photos or videos restriction in cell phone policy

8. Pixilation
as our phones have become far more than phones we need to adapt our company cell phone policy at work to cover all of the applications that a smartphone has, including the camera and videos. A policy should cover when and if photos or videos can ever be taken at work. Workplaces often have confidential information that should not be randomly photographed by employees. Likewise, it can undermine employee trust and morale if a person is photographed or video recorded without their consent.

texting while driving violates cell phone policy

9. Transportation
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. Your Company Cell Phone policy needs to cover the driving of vehicles during work hours.

Fleetmode helps implementing cell phone policy at work

10. Implementation
some companies and their HR departments may need assistance in crafting their Company Cell Phone Policy. Hopefully, articles such as this can help. There are technological applications that a company can implement to help make the policies easier to adhere to. In trying to make sure drivers in your company do not use their phones when they drive, tech solutions like FleetMode can help assist employees to keep the company’s policies.

Some Additional Tips for Employees Driving on the Roads

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.

Keep in mind that if the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, it will investigate and issue citations and penalties where necessary to end this practice.

OSHA in their statements on distracted driving include the following rules:
¥ Turn cell phones off or set them on “silent” or “vibrate” before starting the car.
¥ Pull over to a safe place if a call must be made or received while on the road.
¥ Modify the voice mail greeting to indicate that the employee is unavailable to answer calls or return messages while driving.
¥ Inform clients, associates and business partners of this policy as an explanation of why calls may not be returned immediately.

All of these rules can be performed by anti-distraction technology like FleetMode, which will silence the phone, redirect incoming calls to voice mail, auto-reply to people that you are driving, and lock the keyboard to prevent the use of apps. You can check out OSHA’s distracted driving web page for additional safety tips for reducing work-related driving distractions. You can check out the features of FleetMode on the additional pages of this website,

Keep in mind, that if an accident were to incur while your employee was driving while on-the-clock and was using a cell phone (for talking, texting, or surfing) then lawyers for any injured parties will pursue the company for partial liability for not restricting cell phone use while driving.

Other Considerations

Texting has replaced speaking on a phone for many younger people. Fast, short messages can often be communicated more efficiently and with less disruption with a text rather than a phone call. However, one text can quickly turn into 20 becoming a digital conversation that is actually longer and more disruptive than a phone call would have been. A Company may need to include in its policies the appropriate time and use of texts.

Surfing the net… There are times when it is helpful to have an encyclopedia at your fingertips. Spelling and grammar rules are just a click away. Accessing the calculator on a phone may be more convenient than seeking out a desktop computer to calculate sales tax. So, there are legitimate reasons to use the world wide web on a personal smart phone during work hours.

Finally, application use should be considered. Apps can provide a world of ease on our smartphones however, productivity can take a huge dip when employees spend their time keeping up with the Kardashians, filling their brackets, or playing words with friends. How much a personal cell phone is permitted to be accessed will often depend on the business, the employees’ position and the tools provided by the employer. If cell phone use is diminishing productivity, an employer may consider a mobile device management platform for company issued phones. This tool allows the employer to pick the apps that can be downloaded onto the device.

Cell Phone Policy Templates

Below are two generic workplace templates that you can use to quickly create a cell phone policy at work.
Hands-Free options – Please note that talking on a phone through hands-free options like Bluetooth, or having texts and emails read over the car’s speakers are “safer” than holding a phone or trying to read a text or email. While safer these options are not safe. You lessen your liability, but do not remove it. We’ll start with a very simple one-paragraph version.

Short Version – Visioncasting

At our company, cell phones should not be permitted to distract our team members from doing their work and helping our clients. At no time during work hours, should cell phones be used for surfing the internet or for gaming. Cell phone should NEVER be used while driving a vehicle, operating equipment or in any situation where their use could cause an accident.

Longer Version – To be signed and enforced

download word version

(Company Name)’s Company Cell Phone Policy has been created to provide guidelines for the use of personal and company-issued cell phones during work hours.
This policy is to help employees understand the appropriate times and uses for cell phones while seeking to minimize the distractions, inefficiencies, accidents and time loss the cell phones can create when used improperly.
This policy is for ALL employees, regardless of tenure or position.
Generally, cell phones should not be used when they pose a security or safety risk. Cell phone should not distract the user or others from their work and responsibilities. In order to achieve the goals of this policy, the following guidelines need to be adhere to by ALL employees:

  • Do not use a cell phone while driving on the job.
  • Do not use a cell phone when you operate potentially dangerous equipment.
  • Do not “surf” the web or play games while you are on-the-clock.
  • Avoid using your personal cell phone for accomplishing work-related tasks.
  • Avoid using your work phone for accomplishing personal tasks.
  • Avoid having your cell phone with you during work meetings.
  • Do not record confidential information on any phone unless you have written permission from the company.

The following are appropriate times when a cell phone may be beneficial and may be used.

  • To make and receive company-related calls, especially with clients, at the proper time.
  • For intra-company communication related to a work project or situation.
  • To schedule and be reminded of appointments and meetings.
  • For work-related research
  • For storing and accessing contacts that are beneficial to the company
  • To assist clients/customers with information.

Correction When Needed:
Disciplinary action may incur when improper cell phone usage occurs. An employee may have their cell phone privileges suspended if they do not adhere to the Company Cell Phone Policy.
Termination of employment may occur if an employee downloads, obtains and/or shares offensive, lewd, harassing, and/or objectionable material.
An employee who seeks to circumvent the restrictions on cell phone usage, in particular when they drive or engage in any potentially dangerous behaviors, or who engages in illegal activity with their cell phone will be subject to termination of employment.
I have read and agreed to the Company Cell Phone Policy –

Name______________________________ Date ____________________

Final Thoughts for a Cell Phone Policy

In the age of the mobile phone we understand how important it is to have our mobile device. But like anything it is very easy to become addicted and lose productivity. We hope these tips will help you in constructing your own mobile device policy. At FleetMode we would love the opportunity to help and provide additional examples of policies. While we specialize in keeping your drivers safe, we are also available to help craft an effective policy for non-driving employees as well.

For more information about keeping your drivers off their cell phone sign up for a free trial of our text free software below.

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