The secrets to having an effective cell phone policy at work (2023)

Now that cell phones have become an integral part of our day to day lives and nearly all adults possess one, employers have discovered the importance of developing policies that govern cell phone use at work. A cell phone policy at work minimizes distraction and inconveniences in the work environment and stipulates the time when it’s convenient for people to use their cell phones during working hours.

While having a cell phone policy in your company isn’t mandatory it may be helpful to draft and implement one, especially if distractions could lead to dangerous outcomes. However, not having a cell phone policy, also referred to as employee cell policy, no mobile phones at work policy or bring your device policy limits employees’ productivity.

Different rules should apply to different industries, where the employee’s ability to complete their work is dependent on other employees working simultaneously.

What to include in a cell phone policy?

When drafting a cell phone policy at work, take time to communicate your expectations and use proper wording to ensure it is non-discriminatory, consistent, and fair.

1. Policy brief and purpose

The cell phone policy defines the guidelines for using cellular devices or any device that receives phone calls and messages, leaves and sends messages, surfs the internet, or downloads, whether the equipment is company-provided or personally owned.

(Video) 7 Tips for Creating an Effective Cell Phone Policy for Your Workplace

The policy, therefore, defines the use of personal cell phones within the work environment, the personal use of business cell phone, and the safe use of cell phones by employees while driving.

We realize that cell phones and other communication devices have become an essential part of our day-to-day activities and are an asset when used correctly, for the right reasons (for productivity apps, calendars, and making business calls). However, excessive and tactless use of these devices may cause problems.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all workers no matter the rank or employment agreement.

3. Policy elements

Although cell phones and other communication devices are beneficial, they cause problems in the workplace. Excessive use of these devices at work may result in:

  • Employees being distracted
  • Disturbances when employees speak on their phones
  • Security problems due to improper usage of company provided materials or abuse of the organization’s internet connection.
  • Serious casualties caused while driving company vehicles or in zones where using cell phones is restricted.

We expect all employees to use cell phones and other communication devices responsibly during traditional working hours.

(Video) Seven Tips for Creating an Effective Cell Phone Policy for Your Workplace subscription

Employees are advised to:

  • Use company-provided phones strictly for business purposes and ensure they remain in a perfect state.
  • Surf the internet, text, or talk on their cell phones for short periods of time within the day, mostly when they are on breaks.
  • Turn off or keep their phones on silent or vibration mode.
  • Use cell phones for work-related communication, such as emailing or text messaging, appropriately and respectably.
  • Surf the internet and download relevant work-related research.
  • Use company-issued phones to track work-related tasks and contacts, and to schedule and keep appointments.

You can actively prohibit employees from:

  • Playing games on their cell phone devices during working hours.
  • Using personal phones, regardless of the reason, while driving a company car.
  • Using a cell phone or other devices to record confidential information.
  • Using phones in prohibited areas.
  • Causing disturbances while talking on their phones within their colleagues’ working environment during traditional working hours.
  • Downloading or uploading inappropriate, unlawful, or profane material on the company-provided cell phone using the company’s internet connection.
  • Use cell phones while operating equipment.
  • Using cell phones during meetings.

However, workers can use their phones freely during breaks or while on stationary vehicles.

a). Personal cell phones
During working hours, employees are required to observe prudence while using their cell phones, as well as company-issued phones. Immoderate personal calls, regardless of the phone used, is strongly prohibited since it interferes with workplace productivity and acts as a distraction to other employees.
We encourage limiting personal phone calls to one call during working hours. Employees are preferably requested to restrict their phone calls to non-working hours. However, flexibility will be granted in emergencies that require immediate attention.

b). Personal use of company-provided phones
For employee roles which demand prompt communication and access, the organization will provide a business cell phone for work-related communication. To protect the employee issued with the phone from any tax liabilities, the phone issued is only for job-related activities, and hence, the phone log will be regularly inspected to ensure unauthorized use hasn’t happened.

(Video) Effective Workplace Cell Phone Policy for Restaurant Staff | Restaurant Management Tips

C). Safety issues for cellular phone use
Employee roles that frequently or occasionally require driving, and are provided with a cell phone for business-related activities, are strongly encouraged to refrain from using the phone while driving. No matter the situation, employees are encouraged to pull off to the side of the road and safely halt the car before placing or receiving a call. However, hands-free gadgets will be issued to facilitate the provisions of this policy.

Note that employees charged with traffic violations because of cell phone use while driving will be responsible for all the liabilities therein.

4. Disciplinary Actions

The company reserves the right to supervise employees for immoderate or improper use of their cell phones during working hours. Also, if the usage of cell phones and other cellular devices causes a deterioration in the productivity of employees or interferes with the operations of the business, employees will be forbidden from using their phones during working hours entirely.

Rigid disciplinary action will be taken, including termination of employment, if an employee’s cell phone usage:

  • Causes a breach in security.
  • Infringes the company’s confidentiality policy.
  • Leads to an accident due to recklessly using cell phones while driving.

Guidelines to consider including in a cell phone policy

It’s essential to ensure that the cell phone policy at work is realistic, don’t ban the use of cell phones unless it poses a security threat or safety issues. However, implementing rules and regulations that require your employees to at least observe the bare minimum of the cell phone policy, like putting their phones on silent or vibration mode or limiting the number of personal calls.

(Video) 5 Tips to Manage Cell Phones and Texting at Work | Cell Phone Policy| Employee Distractions

A cell phone can be integrated into the employee handbook together with the code of conduct, or it can be relayed to employees through emails, a written notice or other orientation materials especially for new employees. Alternatively, you can post it in the most frequented areas, such as hallways, bulletin boards, or break rooms.

  • Restrict cell phone use to emergencies such as medical and childcare.
  • Employees who must make personal phone calls during business hours should be asked to step out of the office to avoid disrupting others while they work.
  • Cell phones can be kept on but should be set on vibration or quiet mode during working hours. Also, those wishing to listen to music should use headphones or earphones.
  • Cell phone use at work must not include discriminatory, offensive, obscene or defamatory language.
  • Personal cell phones should not be used for business purposes and likewise, business-provided cell phones should not be used for personal use, unless in cases of emergencies.
  • Ensure you address employees whose roles require regular or occasional driving and sometimes constant communication from using a work-issued cell phone while driving. Instead, provide them with alternatives, such as hands-free gadgets.
  • Ensure that the management leads by example. Employers can model the cell phone policy that they want their employees to emulate. Typically, the management staff should act as the role models for seamless compliance with the stipulations of the policy and continuously remind employees of the expectations regarding compliance.
  • To enforce a cell phone policy at workensure that the employees understand its objectives and the consequences for violations.
  • Write down your company’s cell phone policy or include it in the employee handbook and ensure it’s distributed throughout the organization, if possible let everyone sign once they understand what it entails. There are numerous channels you can use to relay information within the organization, such as through emails, notice boards, and frequented areas such as the hallways.
  • Security is a vital component in any organization. Therefore, when writing your policy ensure you highlight security matters, accountability, and legitimate uses.
  • Make the policy simple and straightforward. Itemize the permissible and non-permissible behaviours.
  • When it comes to enforcing your cell phone policy, it is crucial to be consistent. Also, highlight any exceptions and provide reasoning behind these exceptions. Employees will be in a better position to understand when limitations apply and not take advantage of them.

Crafting a sensible cell phone policy improves not only the productivity of the business but also protects the company from legal problems. Implementing a cell phone code of conduct ensures that your employees are restrained from inappropriate and disruptive content during working hours, which reduces productivity levels. While the consequences of using cell phones are prominent, incorporating an active policy is essential in your organization. Ensure the approach you use is productive and realistic.

Have you found this article helpful? Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts.


What should be included in a cell phone policy? ›

Your policy should state when and where employees are allowed to use their cellphones and if there are any disciplinary actions for violations. A clear set of guidelines reduces miscommunications.

What is the purpose of mobile phone policy? ›

The purpose of this policy is to outline what the Company considers to be acceptable and unacceptable use of mobile phones at work.

What is proper cell phone etiquette at work? ›

The 8 Rules of Phone Etiquette at Work
  1. Be prepared. Get familiar with your phone, and learn how to transfer calls.
  2. Answer right away. Answer within three rings.
  3. Announce yourself. ...
  4. Be an active listener. ...
  5. Consider your tone. ...
  6. Don't use speakerphone. ...
  7. Summarize before hanging up. ...
  8. End on a professional note.
8 Sept 2019

What is one of the most important mobile phone etiquette to follow? ›

Speak clearly.

Project your voice without shouting. You want to be heard and avoid having to repeat yourself. A strong, confident voice can make a customer trust you and your support more. In case of bad cell service or any inability to hear or be heard, immediately ask to hang up and call back.

What is a policy that allows employees to use their personal mobile devices? ›

BYOD (bring your own device) is a policy that allows employees in an organization to use their personally owned devices for work-related activities. Those activities include tasks such as accessing emails, connecting to the corporate network, and accessing corporate apps and data.

What is the main purpose of a policy? ›

Policies are the distillation of everything above them in the hierarchy -- mission, values, and strategic objectives, along with the law. Policies articulate goals that are narrower than strategic objectives and identify limits, or boundaries, for behavior and actions that are necessary to complete those goals.

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 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.

Why cell phones should be allowed in the workplace? ›

Pros: Easy communication: You can easily let others know about emergencies and communicate freely as need be. It's also great if there's a personal emergency and someone needs to reach you quickly. Replacing landlines: People can use their cell phones instead of their work landlines, saving the company money.

How do you set up a cell phone policy? ›

Here are five simple steps for implementing your own cell phone policy at work.
  1. 1) Put Your Cell Phone Policy In Writing. ...
  2. 2) Include Security Concerns, Accountability, And Permissible Use. ...
  3. 3) Enumerate What Is Not Permitted. ...
  4. Policy Purpose. ...
  5. Scope. ...
  6. Policy Guidelines. ...
  7. Disciplinary Consequences.

What are the 6 rules to cell phone etiquette? ›

6 phone rules that EVERYONE should know
  1. 1 Put your phone away during meetings. ...
  2. 2 Don't fiddle with your phone while driving. ...
  3. 3 Don't have your phone on the dinner table. ...
  4. 4 Mobile calls in public transportation isn't very polite. ...
  5. 5 Don't talk on the phone when you pay. ...
  6. 6 Keep your phone off in church, the theatre or similar.
28 May 2019

What are the most important aspects of professional phone etiquette? ›

Speak Clearly

Clarity is a key factor of professional communication. Use a clear, confident voice while speaking on the phone and articulate all of your words. Monitor your volume to make sure that you can be easily heard without being too loud. Avoid mumbling, stammering, or repeating yourself whenever possible.

What are four tips for using the phone effectively? ›

10 tips for effective communication on the telephone
  • Prepare for the call. ...
  • Be clear about what you want to achieve. ...
  • Remember the other person has no non-verbal cues. ...
  • Think about your tone of voice. ...
  • Make sure you listen carefully. ...
  • Speak clearly and be succinct. ...
  • If you don't understand something, ask.
20 Apr 2015

What are the 5 telephone tips you need to know? ›

Telephone Etiquette Tips
  • Always Speak Clearly. It is important to speak clearly and slowly. ...
  • Do Not Yell. Some people have a tendency to be on the louder side when they speak. ...
  • Don't Use Slang. ...
  • Never Eat Or Drink. ...
  • Always Listen. ...
  • Use Proper Titles. ...
  • Have Patience. ...
  • Focus on the Task at Hand.

Which is the golden rule of telephone etiquette? ›

Answer promptly and professionally

Professionalism must be at the forefront of your mind throughout the call.

What is an acceptable use policy? ›

An acceptable use policy (AUP) is a document stipulating constraints and practices that a user must agree to for access to a corporate network, the internet or other resources. Many businesses and educational institutions require employees or students to sign an AUP before being granted a network ID.

What are the three mobile device management policies? ›

Types of MDM Policies
  • BYOD – Bring your own device.
  • CYOD – Choose your own device.
  • COBO – Corporate owned, business only.
  • COPE – Corporate owned, personally enabled.
7 Jul 2020

Can you prohibit employees from using cell phones at work? ›

To answer the first question: yes, you can limit or even prohibit use of cell phones during work hours. Employees can be expected to give their undivided attention to the work you pay them to perform, and if that means cell phones need to be turned off or put away, you are entitled to make this request.

Why is it important to have policies in the workplace? ›

Policies and procedures are important as they help clarify and reinforce the standards expected of the employee in all their professional dealings. On the other hand, they also help employers manage staff effectively by defining what is acceptable and unacceptable in the workplace.

What is a good policy? ›

specific, relevant and applicable to the target audience. in plain and understandable language so that they are easy to read and understand. in line with the latest laws and rules. clear on what the target audience can and cannot do.

What is the importance of a good policy? ›

Policies provide guidance, consistency, accountability, efficiency, and clarity on how an organization operates. This offers members of the co-operatives guidelines and principles to follow.

Are cell phones a distraction at work? ›

Are cell phones a distraction at work? Yes, cell phones can be a distraction at work. For example, employees spend an average of 56 minutes doing non-work related activities on their cell phones, and other studies show that up to 2 hours of potential work can be wasted per day due to cell phones.

Can your boss take your phone from you? ›

It is legal, according to employment law expert Richard Carlson. Carlson a professor at the South Texas College of Law. “Yes, as long as the employer didn't use unlawful force in taking the phone away from the employee,” he said. Carlson said your boss can't open your phone, either.

How do you tell someone off their phone at work? ›

How to Tell a Co-Worker to Stop Using a Cell Phone on the Job
  1. Ask Politely. If your coworker's cell phone use isn't putting others in danger, politely ask her to refrain from using it during work time and request that she turn the ringer to silent. ...
  2. Site Company Policies. ...
  3. Get a Response. ...
  4. Talk to Mangement.

What are the top five features a mobile phone should have? ›

5 must-have features to look for in an affordable smartphone
  • Speed and storage capacity. Processing speed can make the difference between a happy employee and a frustrated one. ...
  • An expansive display. ...
  • A versatile camera. ...
  • Built-in security. ...
  • Maximum mobility with 5G.
20 Sept 2022

Should phones be allowed at work? ›

Put Your Phone Away

Excessive cell phone use at work can interfere with productivity. Even if your employer doesn't ban their use, it's a good idea to limit yourself. Avoid temptation by keeping your phone in a desk drawer and checking it only occasionally to make sure you haven't missed any critical calls.

Can I stop an employee from using their mobile phone during working hours? ›

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 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.

What does phone insurance usually cover? ›

Cell phone insurance plans cover repairs not covered by the manufacturer's warranty as well as theft. It's like any other insurance plan where you pay a premium for your coverage, and the insurer will pay out for repairs or replacement in the event of a covered loss.

What are the new mobile phone rules? ›

As of March 25, 2022, drivers will be officially breaking the law if they use their mobile phones for any purpose while driving.

What are 4 good cell phone use practices? ›

Top 10 Cell Phone Manners
  • 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.

What are the 5 stages of telephone etiquette? ›

A telephone conversation typically includes five stages: opening, feedforward, business, feedback, and closing. Because telephone conversations lack nonverbal cues, they require additional attention to feedback.

How many times can you use your phone insurance? ›

Most insurance providers cap your claims at two in a 12-month time frame.

Do I need phone insurance if my phone is paid off? ›

If you bought your phone through an installment plan, and have paid it off, you probably don't need phone insurance. However, before dropping coverage, determine whether you can afford to buy a new phone if yours is damaged, lost, or stolen. Phone insurance is not for people who buy inexpensive phones.

Is phone insurance really worth it? ›

Is cell phone insurance worth the money? For the majority of people, it is. Most plans can come in handy if your device breaks, gets lost, or is stolen. They can help you avoid paying the full price of a replacement and protect you from accidents related to water damage and cracked screens.

Do and don'ts of mobile phones? ›

Cell Phone Etiquette: The Do's And Don'ts You Should Know
  • Do:
  • Do give your undivided attention to your friend. ...
  • Do put your phone away. ...
  • Do utilize your voicemail. ...
  • Do filter your language when speaking on your phone in public places. ...
  • Do respect common quiet zones. ...
  • Don't:
  • Don't yell.

What are the new phone rules 2022? ›

From 25th March 2022, it will become illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone for almost anything when driving following amendments to the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations. Published last November, the Government has announced.

What should you not do with a mobile phone? ›

Mobile Safety Common Sense: 10 Things You Should Never Do With a Cell Phone
  1. Drive while talking. ...
  2. Losing a smartphone without password protection. ...
  3. Access banking information. ...
  4. Download applications from unknown sources. ...
  5. Share personal information over unsecured networks. ...
  6. Text while driving.
14 Dec 2011


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