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.
- 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:
(A downloadable version of this policy is available at the end of this section.)
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.
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor—a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams.