Should You Let Your Employees Use Their Mobile Devices at Work?

Mobile phones are a staple to many professionals these days. They can be a powerful tool to connect employees with their work, their families, and their co-workers. But they can also be a distraction if used improperly. Therefore, you might be considering whether your company should allow mobile use in the workplace. Based on the type of work you do and the needs of your employees, your mobile use policy should strike a balance between trust and creating a safe work environment. Today’s article walks through a few different options available to you when considering your mobile use policy.

Flexible Use Policies

Many employers recognize that their employees enjoy having access to their mobile devices in case of emergency and to stay in contact with co-workers and family while on the job. Some companies even go so far as to providing a “work phone” or subsidizing a mobile device for staff to use on the job. These employers show their trust in their employees through a flexible use policy when it comes to mobile devices. However, in order to keep these devices from becoming a distraction, improper use of mobile devices is addressed on a case-by-case basis. The key is to make sure that your expectations regarding when and how employees are allowed to use their phones are communicated clearly, so that when enforcement becomes necessary, you have the policy on hand to support any required disciplinary actions.

Limited Use Policies

Another common option for many employers is a limited use policy when it comes to overseeing mobile device use in the workplace. If you want to reduce distraction on the job, consider limiting mobile phone use to personal time during lunch and breaks. This allows employees to have access to their phones on their own time, while still reducing risk of mistakes or distraction on the job.

This type of policy requires monitoring and enforcement on your part to make sure that staff are not using their devices unnecessarily. But enforcement doesn’t need to be strict enough to harm staff morale. Sometimes, for example, a simple reminder of corporate policy is all that is needed to bring an employee back into compliance with a limited use mobile policy. Clear communication of expectations and rules is also very important. If the rules are reasonable and based in logic, employees will understand and do their best to follow the rules in regards to future use.

Restricted Use Policies

A no-tolerance policy against mobile devices may sound harsh, but there are a number of situations and work environments where employers need to reduce distraction in order to maintain a safe and effective workplace. If the use of a mobile device is in anyway hazardous to your employees, then a no-tolerance policy is the way to go. Safety or security risks that mobile devices can impose are another aspect to consider. These examples all are supportable and understandable reasons to take a hard line against mobile device use on the job.

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