We’re pretty addicted to our cell phones, which is why we need an employee cell phone policy at work to begin with. So addicted, that some people actually go through withdrawal symptoms when they’re separated from their mobile devices. Symptoms of cell phone withdrawal include:
- Mood swings
- Raised blood pressure
- Faster heart rate
This attachment to our cell phone has (understandably) created some cause for concern when it comes to allowing employees to use their cell phones at work. Some HR departments may be tempted to ban cell phone use in the workplace altogether. But is that really the best course of action in the modern workplace?
Why Your Company Cell Phone Policy Matters
First of all, let’s have a reality check. Because we are literally addicted to our cell phone, your employees are going continue their cell phone usage at work no matter how many “no phone” talks you have with them. Also, the demands of an employee’s personal life sometimes requires them to be accessible 24/7. A cell phone-free work environment just isn’t realistic.
Objections such as, cell phones are too distracting; they negatively affect productivity; they just simply “don’t belong” at work. I get it. It can be tempting to throw your hands up and banish cell phone usage at work once and for all. But before you do, read this first.
A “no tolerance” take on your employee cell phone policy may not be the best solution. In the modern day workplace, cell phones are a needed resource to facilitate internal communication.
The benefits of allowing cell phone usage at work can greatly outweigh the risks if implemented properly via an employee cell phone policy. The key to successfully allowing cell phones in the workplace lies in creating a clear BYOD policy and making sure everyone understands what’s expected of them regarding cell phone usage. Proactively addressing the key concerns in your company cell phone policy is the first step to creating a solution that fits your company’s needs. Don’t let fear of change cause your organization to miss out on all the advantages of mobile communication in the workplace.
Creating an Employee Cell Phone Policy for the Frontlines
Frontline employees are often overlooked in a company’s internal communication policy. There are several reasons why frontline employees are frequently left out in the grand scheme of a company’s internal communication initiatives, including their company cell phone policy. Some of these reasons include:
- Frontline employees don’t have access to a company email
- The “on-the-go” nature of their jobs means that traditional desktop communication solutions simply won’t work for them
- Frontline jobs are fast-paced. They’re so busy working out in the field, that they’re often the last ones to learn about important company policies and updates
Cell Phones in the Workplace Policies
So how do you implement cell phones in the workplace policies and make sure they’re actually working? Give them the right tools. A mobile team communication app like Beekeeper gives your entire team one central hub for communication and information sharing, right at their fingertips.
Employees can instantly share real-time updates with their coworkers via one-on-one or group messaging on their cell phones. There’s even a feature called streams where users can post updates to targeted groups based on topicality, location, or job functions. Essentially, a digital communication tool like Beekeeper gives the right people the right information at the right time.
Here’s why it is, in fact, OK to let your employees use their cell phone at work.
It Shows Employees that You Respect Them
You’re an adult. They’re an adult (or at least a young adult). Letting employees use their cell phone at work for valid, professional communication shows that you respect them and trust their judgement. Respect flows both ways — especially in the workplace — you gotta give a little to get a little.
It also just comes down to good hiring. If you hire the right people, you can give them more freedom. Jesse Harrison, founder of the employee justice legal team, has this to say about having a company cell phone policy at work.
There is no reason to ban them,” he says. “What do I care what employees do with their mobile phones? Furthermore, if an employee is unable to use their mobile phone in the workplace, they will be more distracted because they are thinking about the ‘forbidden fruit’. Not having access to a mobile phone is more of a distraction than having access to it.
It Streamlines Communication
Frontline employees are highly mobile, and their method of communication should be mobile too. Hotel workers often walk miles over the course of a single shift. How are they supposed to communicate with their team members (who are also all over the place) if their only device is a desktop computer?
When RHW needed to improve communication between departments across five different hotel brands, they turned to Beekeeper for a mobile-first internal communications solution.
Here’s what David Montero, Director of Operations had to say about the impact that Beekeeper had on their team.
It was incredible to see all the personalities come alive that we didn’t realize had existed before. Giving our employees a platform allowing them to have a voice has transformed our organization.
It Creates a Collaborative Work Environment
When employees can suddenly chat, post updates, and share information with each other right from their cell phone, teamwork and collaboration among staff skyrockets.
When Globus, one of the largest retail chains in Switzerland, needed to get their team working together, they implemented Beekeeper, and the new tool quickly became a sweeping success. The cashiers used Beekeeper on their cell phones to share their highest sales receipt for the day, effectively ‘gamifying’ the app and increase low engagement.
Through Beekeeper, they have a place for friendly competition, recognition and helped management increase team sales performance and drive sales of particular promo items as well.
What About Unions?
Navigating labor laws and unions can be tricky. Labor unions may shy away from a mobile communications app because there are strict labor laws around union employees working while off-the-clock. Some frontline managers may be concerned that union employees will use their cell phone for work-related communication outside of their working hours, thereby violating labor laws.
Unlike text messaging or consumer chat apps, with Beekeeper managers can create Fairplay Rules that employees must accept before using the app on their cell phones. The Fairplay Rules are the rules of behavior, or code of conduct, within the Beekeeper app. They can be customized and set up so that each employee must agree to them prior to logging in to the app on their cell phone for the very first time.
Outlined in the Fairplay Rules, managers can add clear language that employees should not use Beekeeper on their cell phones outside of working hours. By making the Fairplay Rules explicit, managers can set clear boundaries on how Beekeeper is to be used by employees. It should be noted that Fairplay Rules do not trump labor laws and are not legally binding. They are simply a way for managers to communicate how they want employees to use the app.
Give your team the tools they need to successfully communicate at work. By implementing a cell phone policy for the modern workplace, you can give your team the resources they need to work together and help your business thrive.