Want to create an effective company cell phone policy for your employees?
From scheduling meetings to monitoring health, cell phones have become an integral part of our life — often being used around the clock, especially in workplaces.
This makes it essential for an employer to have an excellent cell phone usage policy so that they can clearly define what is acceptable and unacceptable while using a cell phone at work.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how to draft a cell phone policy effortlessly and what its benefits are. We’ll also provide a free company cell phone policy template to help you get started quickly.
This Article Includes:
(click on a link below to jump to that section)
- What is a company cell phone policy?
- The key benefits of a cell phone policy
- What to consider while drafting a cell phone policy
- What should you include in the policy?
- A free company cell phone policy template
What is a Company Cell Phone Policy?
Note: We’ll first explain the basics of why you need a cell phone policy and what goes into one. If you’re only looking for a sample policy template, skip ahead to this section.
A company cell phone policy, also known as BYOD policy (bring your own device policy,) is a document that instructs the employees on how they can use cell phones in the workplace.
The policy applies to all cellular devices that can be used to download files from the internet, make phone calls, or even send emails and text messages.
This includes devices like an employee’s:
- Personal phone or company cell phone.
- Personal tablets.
- Hands-free devices and more.
Every company requires a BYOD policy to clarify how and where employees can and can’t use their cell phone or any other mobile device. Having a proper document will reinforce its significance, as well as the consequences of not adhering to the policy.
In addition to other workplace policies, an employee cell phone policy will help you take another step towards establishing a healthy and professional work environment.
What are the Benefits of a Cell Phone Policy?
Here are some benefits of having a well-drafted cellular phone policy:
1. Boosts Employee Productivity
Employees should be made to understand that sometimes, letting calls go to voicemail isn’t such a bad thing.
Interruptions due to mobile devices are the major cause of a decrease in productivity at work. Social media notifications, unimportant calls, emails, and the odd text message, can be significant sources of distraction during an employee’s working hour.
Minimizing these distractions by restricting the use of personal cell phones can dramatically increase employee productivity and work performance.
2. Improves Employees’ Safety
A cell phone policy will ensure that no mobile device can be misused to harass other employees. It will secure the employees’ safety and privacy.
Additionally, the cell phone policy can help create a safe work environment for employees who spend most of their time driving. In the document, the employer can state zero tolerance for mobile phone usage while in a company vehicle.
3. Increases Data Security
If your company deals with sensitive or proprietary information, chances are that you have established a fool-proof security strategy.
However, if your employees or visitors are allowed to use their cell phones freely, you may put yourself at risk of losing valuable confidential information.
Manufacturing processes, confidential conversations, trade secrets, and other valuable information can be recorded on cell phones, only to be misused later.
An excellent company cell phone policy will help you protect your data, and minimize the hassles of the legal process.
What to Consider While Drafting a Cell Phone Policy
There are certain factors that you need to keep in mind while creating your company cell phone policy. These include:
- Uniformity: Create the company cell phone policy in a way that applies to all employees.
- Type of industry: Consider what kind of industry your business belongs to. If the job profile of the employee involves direct contact with customers throughout the workday, you may want to completely restrict their cell phone usage at work.
- Adaptability: Your policy should be adaptable to easily accommodate the technological advancements in the devices. Also, if it’s flexible and considers the employees’ needs, it will become easier to enforce it. In this case, you should also consider using an enterprise mobile device management solution like Scalefusion MDM to protect your business data on your mobile devices
- Productivity: Consider how much is too much while drafting a flexible policy. Ultimately, you don’t want the employees productivity to lower because of excess cell phone usage.
- Use during intervals: Have clear instructions in your policy about how often and how long employees can use their cell phone during breaks.
- Use during meetings: Have definite guidelines for cell phone use during meetings. Decide whether the employees should leave their phone outside, or whether they can keep it with them on silent mode and use it only to refer to emails or calendars.
What Should You Include in the Policy?
Before you draft the policy, you should form a team of managers, human resources and IT personnel, general staff, and lawyers. They will help you cover all aspects of the policy, and ensure that the company and the employees benefit from it.
Once your team decides on the terms to be included in the policy, you can categorize it using the following sections:
A. Purpose of the policy
The purpose should underline the intent for creating the policy, and why the policy is needed.
For example, you can briefly explain how a phone is an asset to all, but its reckless usage (to play games, and do anything else other than the business use) can affect the employees’ ability to focus on their work.
You can also mention that the employees need to strictly abide by the policy to avoid repercussions.
B. Scope of the policy
This part should include who the policy is for. The policy rules should be the same for all the employees, including full-time, part-time, volunteers, interns, consultants, and any other company-related staff.
C. Policy elements
In this section, you should outline various elements of the policy. These include:
1. Disadvantages of using cell phones at work
As mentioned before, one of the major concerns about frequently using a phone during work hours is the disturbance it causes. It causes distractions for not only the employee but also for their colleagues.
2. Security concerns
Security issues may arise from excess or inappropriate use of company property or even from the misuse of the company’s internet —which should be addressed in this section.
Additionally, using a cell phone to take videos and photos in restricted areas can also be considered a violation of security and privacy.
Concerns may also arise if employees use their cell phone unlawfully while driving company vehicles. Distracted driving can result in accidents, costing your company thousands of dollars.
3. Unacceptable use of cell phones
There are certain areas and conditions which warrant a complete restriction of mobile devices.
You should highlight these in your cell phone policy so that employees know they cannot use their phone in these conditions — no matter what the situation is.
Some of the examples include:
- Texting during meetings.
- Inappropriately viewing, uploading, or downloading offensive, discriminatory, or obscene content.
- Unreasonably long personal calls during business hours.
4. Acceptable use of cell phones
Employees who spend a large part of their workday at the office, need to be in contact with their family members, at least through their phones.
Completely banning the use of phones at the workplace will not only reduce the employees’ morale but also make them feel mistrusted.
To avoid this negativity, you should have a flexible policy, which allows the employees to use a phone under certain conditions.
A few instances can be:
- Making calls for business purposes.
- Checking important messages.
- Maintaining internal communication.
- Making quick personal calls, but without disturbing their colleagues.
- Personal usage during breaks.
Note: Many businesses provide a company phone to their employees, which is used for a business purpose only. You can define the uses of these company cell phones, and the maximum monthly reimbursement that can be provided.
D. Disciplinary consequences
Your employees should know that misusing their mobile phone will lead to disciplinary action against them.
Here’s what can count as misuse:
- Causing a security breach.
- Violating the confidentiality policy.
- Causing an accident due to irresponsible use of their cellular devices.
To ensure disciplinary action, have a separate section in your policy that mentions what the penalties will be if an employee doesn’t follow the cell phone policy.
Mention that the employer has the right to completely ban an employee from using their phone during work hours if it reduces their productivity.
The policy should also have guidelines regarding who will inform these rules to visitors and guests.
Keeping these basic points in mind, you can now easily create your own cell phone policy, which can be included in your employee handbook.
And if you need a reference to help you out, scroll below to get a free template of a company cell phone policy.
A Free Company Cell Phone Policy Template
Here is a cellphone policy template which you can edit to suit your company’s needs:
1. Purpose of the Policy
We at [company name], understand that cell phones have become an important part of our lives. Having a smartphone is undoubtedly valuable for monitoring productivity, fitness, and having business apps at your fingertips.
But inappropriate or excessive use of these devices may cause workplace issues and hamper the employees’ ability to focus on their work. Therefore, this policy outlines the use of cell phones at [company name]. All employees are expected to abide by this policy strictly. Failure to do so will lead to appropriate disciplinary actions.
2. Scope of the Policy
The rules of this policy apply to all the employees of [company name], including full-time, part-time, independent contractors, consultants, and interns. It includes the use of all cellular devices such as a personal cell phone, as well as a business cell phone.
Disadvantages of using cell phones at work
Despite having various benefits, cell phones have their drawbacks as well.
Employees who excessively use their cell phone may:
- Not be able to focus completely on work.
- Disturb colleagues or others around them.
- Cause security concerns by inappropriately and illegally using cell phones in work areas.
- Cause accidents due to distracted driving while using their phone.
Unacceptable use of cell phones
It is expected that the employees at [company name] make judicious use of their mobile devices and not indulge in such practices.
Employees cannot use their cellphone for:
- Playing games during working hours.
- Any reason while driving company vehicles.
- Recording confidential information on camera or voice recorder.
- Speaking on the phone near their co-workers’ work areas during working hours.
- Making long personal calls (greater than 30 minutes) during working hours.
- Downloading, uploading, or viewing illegal or obscene files using the company’s internet connection.
Acceptable use of cell phones
Employees are encouraged to use their cellphone for:
- Making business calls.
- Checking important messages.
- Communicating urgent feedback with team members.
- Using apps and software that boost productivity.
- Making short and quick personal calls away from their co-workers (from a personal device only).
- Browsing the internet, texting, or making personal phone calls only during their break time or in a stationary vehicle.
Cell phone bill
All [company name] employees using the company cell phone are expected to understand that the phone is for business purpose only. They are required to stay within the stipulated range of minutes allotted to them and not exceed the cell phone allowance.
Reimbursement of the phone bills will be done after a review, as per the company policy.
4. Consequences for Being Non-Compliant
[company name] has the right to monitor any inappropriate or excessive use of any company or personal phone by the employees.
If the use of cell phones interferes with the work of the employee or reduces their productivity, the management can revoke the cell phone privileges entirely.
Any misuse such as text messaging, making phone calls, or other unlawful use while driving shall also result in strict disciplinary action.
Additionally, the use of cell phones that involve an illegal activity such as harassment, violation of the company’s security or privacy, can lead to the termination of the employee.
I have read and understood the Company Cell Phone Policy, and will abide by all the conditions of the policy defined herein.
Disclaimer: This cell phone usage policy template is meant to be a general guide only, and should only be used as a reference. The policy template may not necessarily include all local, state, or federal laws and other applicable laws, and hence, it should not be considered a legal document. Neither the author nor Time Doctor shall be responsible for any legal liability that may result from the use of this sample Company Cell Phone Policy.
Smartphone technology continues to improve and can cause serious productivity concerns regarding the use of a mobile device in the workplace.
As an employer, it becomes necessary to update the company policies and form new ones to safeguard yourself as well as your employees.
Including a comprehensive company cell phone policy will protect your company from legal issues while also improving employee productivity and performance.
Use the points mentioned above, and you can draft a well-detailed company cell phone policy in no time.
Carlo Borja is the online marketing manager of TimeDoctor.com. He is a remote worker, a digital marketer, a serial coffee drinker and more.
Get more stuff like this
In your Inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff on remote working and productivity to your email inbox.
We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously.
How do I setup my own cell phone company? ›
- Register the Business. Register your business name with the state. ...
- Business Plan Development. ...
- Understand Carrier Contracts. ...
- Apply as an Authorized Reseller. ...
- Location Establishment.
Yes, you can stop an employee from using their mobile during working hours. Most employee handbooks will have a mobile phone policy which states that all mobile phones should be switched off or on silent during working hours.What is mobile policy? ›
A company cell phone policy cuts down on distraction and frustration at work by making it clear when it's ok and not ok to use a cell phone during work hours. They are also called employee cell phone policies.How do you format a company policy? ›
- Step 1: Get organized. Identify key policies. ...
- Step 2: Find reliable source material. You don't have to start from scratch when creating a new policy. ...
- Step 3: Create a policy structure. ...
- Step 4: Distribute the policy for feedback. ...
- Step 5: Distribute the policy to staff.
Examples of company policies include employee conduct policies, dress code, attendance policies, equal opportunity policies, and other areas related to the terms and conditions of employment.How do I separate my business and personal phone? ›
Tips for separating work and personal on your phone
The first — and simplest — strategy is to organize your apps on different screens. By moving personal app icons onto a separate screen from your business apps, you'll know to stay on one screen for work and one for play.
Your cellphone as a small business deduction
If you're self-employed and you use your cellphone for business, you can claim the business use of your phone as a tax deduction.
A business phone line can cost anywhere from $20 per month to $30 per month per user. But here are some other factors to consider before you buy your business phone system: Pricing factors. Cost per user.How do you stop employees from using mobile phones at work? ›
Establish guidelines and policies.
Spell out whether phones should be turned off during meetings or set on vibrate while people are on the clock, or whether there's a limit on the number of calls an employee can make or take during the workday. Set consequences for violations.
10 Things You Shouldn't Do on Your Work Computer (or Phone)
- Web Browsing. ...
- Email. ...
- Instant Messaging. ...
- Don't Connect Personal Storage Devices. ...
- Don't Use Personal Files. ...
- Don't Download Files.
Can your boss check your phone? ›
The Electric Communications Privacy Act of 1986 forbids “unauthorized interception” of or access to electronic communications. Employers need your permission before they can monitor texts on a personal device.What are the three mobile device management policies? ›
- BYOD – Bring your own device.
- CYOD – Choose your own device.
- COBO – Corporate owned, business only.
- COPE – Corporate owned, personally enabled.
- Face the Reality.
- Set Limits.
- Define Etiquette for Personal Cell Phones in the Workplace.
- Put Your Cell Phone Policy in Writing.
- Lead by Example.
- Enforce Your Policy.
- Take Disciplinary Action.
The likelihood of occupational injuries increases when workers are not focused on their tasks or personal safety. A workplace cell phone policy benefits employers more than just preventing accidents. Guidelines may also increase productivity by reducing or eliminating the use of devices.How do I draft a policy template? ›
- Keep it simple. Policies should be written in plain language – not legalese. ...
- Keep it general. Policies cannot contemplate all possible situations. ...
- Make it relevant. ...
- Check for accuracy and compliance. ...
- Ensure the policy can be enforced. ...
- Clearly state who does what. ...
- Less is more.
- Identify your goals. ...
- Brainstorm tasks and processes. ...
- Determine a policy format. ...
- Write policies and procedures. ...
- Clarify logistics. ...
- Proofread and revise. ...
- Publish and distribute.
- Reason for Policy → Why the policy exists.
- Policy Statement → The policy's intent, when the policy applies, and any mandated actions or constraints.
- Scope → Who is affected by the policy.
- Definitions → Terms specific to the policy.
- Procedures → Processes to be used for compliance with the policy.
The four main types of public policy include regulatory policy, constituent policy, distributive policy, and redistributive policy. These four policy types differ in terms of what their goals are, and who they impact or benefit.What are the 5 types of policies? ›
Categories of Policy Statements. There are various types of policy statements that each have their own style, scope, and purpose. These include human resources, financial, legal, safety, and operational policy statements.What are the 5 parts of policy making? ›
The five stages of the policy process are (1) agenda setting, (2) formulation, (3) adoption, (4) implementation and administration, and (5) evaluation.
Can you deduct a portion of your cell phone for business? ›
Business Use of Personal Cell Phone
If 30% of your time spent on your cell phone is used for business, you can deduct 30% of the cost of your cell phone bill from your taxes. To do so, you will need to prove the amount of time spent.
According to HMRC, a company can provide staff with one mobile phone for business use. As such, you're not required to report to HMRC, or make tax or National Insurance deductions if you're using one mobile phone or SIM card, and the phone contract is between your limited company and the phone supplier.Can a business make you use your personal cell phone for work? ›
When employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them. Longer Answer with Practice Recommendations: An Employer Must Reimburse An Employee For The Employee's Use Of A Personal Cell Phone For Work Related Duties.Can companies read text messages on company phones? ›
If you have a company-provided cell phone, your employer probably has the right to view your text messages, as well as other phone content and activities, such as your contacts and even what you do on social media.Is personal use of company cell phone taxable? ›
And while it could be seen as additional employee compensation, if you're wondering “are cell phone allowances taxable?” the answer is no. Cell phone stipends are a non-taxable benefit, according to the IRS, which is great news for both your company and your employees.Is Google Voice for business free? ›
Important: To use Google Voice features, subscribe to Google Voice for business, which starts at $10 USD per user, per month, and to Google Workspace. Google Workspace starts at $6 per user per month and includes the following: An ad-free Gmail account with your company's domain name, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.How much does it cost to have a 1 800 number? ›
How much does an 800 number cost? The cost of this type of phone number varies among providers. Many VoIP services include a free 800 business number with their business phone plan, costing $15 to $50 per user, monthly. Standalone toll-free number providers charge between $10 and $20 per user, per month.How much does 1800 number cost for a business? ›
What do toll-free numbers cost? The cost of a toll-free number depends on your calling plan. A good estimate is $10 to $15 per month. Calls to the number will cost you between $0.06 and $0.30 per minute, depending on your plan.Is being on your phone an OSHA violation? ›
OSHA considers “distracted driving” which can include texting (and potentially the use of cell phones for telephone calls) to be a “recognized hazard” under the General Duty Clause to employee safety. Penalties for willful violations of the Act under the General Duty Clause can be as high as $124,709.Can an employer remotely wipe brick an employee's cell phone? ›
Remote wiping is generally included with all MDM/EMM tools, so no matter which one your company is using, there is probably some level of erasure capability on employee smartphones. For corporate-owned devices, employees may naturally expect that they can be wiped at any time.
Is it OK to terminate an employee over the phone? ›
Unless you have a contract for employment that outlines how you can be fired, your employer can fire you in any manner in which it wants. This means that employers are able to fire their employees by letter, by email, in person, over the phone, or by text message.What are 5 good etiquette rules for the use of your cell phone? ›
- Be aware of your ringtone. ...
- Don't look at your phone during meetings;
- Don't place your phone on your lap;
- Focus on the person that should have your attention i.e. customer, client, coworker, boss, etc;
- Keep your personal calls private;
- Keep your phone out of sight;
- 1 Put your phone away during meetings. ...
- 2 Don't fiddle with your phone while driving. ...
- 3 Don't have your phone on the dinner table. ...
- 4 Mobile calls in public transportation isn't very polite. ...
- 5 Don't talk on the phone when you pay. ...
- 6 Keep your phone off in church, the theatre or similar.
- Be consistent. Have everyone answer the business line consistently. ...
- Never interrupt. ...
- Get to know the hold button. ...
- Get to know the transfer button. ...
- Keep customers informed. ...
- Smile when you talk to customers. ...
- Learn how to handle angry people. ...
- Answer after the first few rings.
Technically, an employer can't monitor you on a personal device without your knowledge. “As a practical matter, the employer is going to have to go through you in order to install any monitoring software,” Scherer said.Can my boss watch me on camera all day? ›
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “if an employer gives notice to its employees that they should have no expectation of privacy in the workplace, then it may conduct video and audio monitoring of work areas and employee conversations.” In other words, your boss can listen in on work- ...Can my employer see what websites I visit on wifi on my phone? ›
If you use your mobile network to look up websites at work, your employer cannot track that activity. However, if you use the company network to connect to the internet on your cell phone, they can see all the activity on the network.What should be in a mobile device policy? ›
A mobile device management policy establishes rules for how mobile devices are used and secured within your company. Without mobile usage guidelines, you leave your company open to cybersecurity threats, theft and corporate espionage attempts.What are the key guidelines regarding mobile phones in office? ›
A cell phone use is prohibited during meetings etc according to company mobile phone policy. Use of cell phone for harassing others may invite strong disciplinary action which may even lead to termination. Use of mobile phone must be done in such a way that it does not interfere with the normal working of the business.How do companies manage mobile devices? ›
Mobile Device Management is implemented through MDM software with suitable management features for one or more operating systems. With MDM software, companies can monitor, manage, and secure their mobile devices to ensure device performance and the safe use of devices.
How do you write a cell phone policy? ›
- 1) Put Your Cell Phone Policy In Writing. ...
- 2) Include Security Concerns, Accountability, And Permissible Use. ...
- 3) Enumerate What Is Not Permitted. ...
- Policy Purpose. ...
- Scope. ...
- Policy Guidelines. ...
- Disciplinary Consequences.
A 2022 study by Samsung and Oxford Economics5 found that the average mobile device reimbursement was between $30 and $50 per month. According to the report, this averages out to $40.20 each month or $482 annually.Can my employer see what Im doing with work phone? ›
Similarly, if you're using a personal device, but are logged on to a work network, your employer can track your activity on that device. And if you're conducting personal business on a company-provided cell phone, your employer can monitor everything on the phone, including text messages, call logs, and photos.What are the 3 most important usage of mobile phone for you? ›
Uses of Mobile Phone
They come in use for communicating through voice, messages, and mails. We can also surf the internet using a phone. Most importantly, we also click photos and record videos through our mobile's camera.
There are several legitimate reasons why companies might ban or restrict cell phone usage during work hours. These include improving productivity, lowering the risk of security leaks, safeguarding confidential information, and even increasing safety while driving.Why are phones not allowed at work? ›
In the American workplace, the employer is the manager and controls the conditions of your employment. As such, employees are expected to abide by the employer's rules. Employers adopt cellphone bans for a number of reasons, including the perceived negative impact of their use on productivity, security and privacy.What are some good phone rules? ›
- No Cell Phone Use Before School.
- Follow School Rules.
- No Cell Phones at the Dinner Table.
- No Cell Phones During Family Time.
- No Cell Phone Use During Homework Time.
- No Cell Phone Use Overnight.
- No Cell Phone Use While Driving.
- Respect those you're with. ...
- Let voicemail handle non-urgent calls when appropriate. ...
- Set a good example to the younger generation. ...
- Wait to text, and save a life (yours). ...
- Stash your cell when dining out. ...
- Remember when 'private time' is in order. ...
- Keep arguments under wraps.
- Answer the call within three rings.
- Immediately introduce yourself.
- Speak clearly.
- Only use speakerphone when necessary.
- Actively listen and take notes.
- Use proper language.
- Remain cheerful.
- Ask before putting someone on hold or transferring a call.
Examples of poor telephone etiquette include: Interrupting the caller. Eating or drinking. Chewing gum.
What are 4 good cell phone use practices? ›
- Be in control of your phone, don't let it control you!
- Speak softly.
- Be courteous to those you are with; turn off your phone if it will be interrupting a conversation or activity.
- Watch your language, especially when others can overhear you.
- 1) Use it sparingly. The best place to keep your cell phone at work is out of reach, especially if you get distracted easily. ...
- 2) Keep it quiet. ...
- 3) Talk in private. ...
- 4) Keep it out of the restroom. ...
- 5) Don't use your phone during meetings.
Examples of phone etiquette
By speaking clearly and calmly, you also tell them they have your undivided attention. Listening and taking notes: Rather than rushing a caller, proper etiquette involves listening to their concerns or requests while jotting down any necessary information.
- Be on time. Whether you're attending an interview or daily standup meeting, being on time in a work environment shows that you respect everyone's schedule. ...
- Recognize your team. ...
- Dress appropriately. ...
- Respect shared spaces. ...
- Build emotional intelligence.
HELEN'S ANSWER: If you are the caller, you should be ready to end the conversation when it is over. However, depending on time constraints, the receiver could also choose to be through talking at any time.