A company that involves construction or hazardous situations? Not so much. This is a vital question for IT, as they may need to install company-specific apps and software on employees' phones, or set up various e-mail or calling functions. How to Create a Cell Phone Policy: General Cell Phone Etiquette While the guidelines in your cell phone policy should be specific to the needs of your company, there as some basic rules of phone etiquette you should include. Many of these rules might seem to be common courtesy — or common sense — but explicitly explaining what you expect is the best way to get the results you want.
When working in a professional atmosphere, the vibrate function should be a default.
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No one likes a loud ringer — especially when left unanswered. Instruct employees to step out to take calls or send texts when business meetings, conferences, or brainstorming sessions are being held. You may even ask employees to leave phones at their desks altogether. According to a survey of 1, adults by the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of them said they felt obligated to take a call — even if it interrupted an important meeting. Voicemail, however, can be just as efficient in communicating with others outside of work.
Stress this in your policy.
There are few things more annoying than a loud phone conversation, and that rings doubly true when people are trying to get work done. Clearly explain to employees to keep a low voice if they must answer their cell phones, or find a quiet area to talk. It might also be helpful to designate a specific area, like a lobby or cafeteria. It's not uncommon for a customer to be offended or even turned away as a result of an employee's expletive-filled phone conversation. Professional communication is not the same as communication at home, and your policy should delineate the difference.
How to Create a Cell Phone Policy: Addressing Productivity Issues According to Flynn, the best way to make sure an employee's cell phone use doesn't infringe on the productivity of your company is to specify exactly when personal calls or texts should be made.
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Is it only during lunch breaks? Will you set certain intervals of time? How long will they be? You can do this by instructing employees to notify you or a manager of circumstances such as a pregnant spouse or infirmed family member, Flynn advises, in which case the ringer can be set to only sound when that person calls.
You can also ask employees to inform you of the emergency call afterwards, so that you know the phone use was a necessity and not an issue of lost productivity.
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Also, integrate elements of your company's social media policy. Hint: if you haven't created one, maybe it's time. Most cell phones manufactured today are PDAs, which have many of the same interactive capabilities as a desktop or laptop computer. If you already have limits set on how often an employee can sign into Facebook, that should apply to the cell phone application as well. How to Create a Cell Phone Policy: Work Duties on Personal Cell Phones If your employees are making calls, sending texts or e-mails, or browsing the Web for work-related reasons via personal devices, keep in mind that this usage is billed on their own cell phone plans and therefore billable to your company.
This is why you should include language in your policy stating that employees should get permission to perform these activities. Since most carriers have line-item billing, which shows the date, time, and phone number of each call, many companies instruct employees to make copies of their bills and highlight work-related calls, which would then be reimbursed.
State in your policy that these numbers will be checked, and that there will be consequences for abusing reimbursement. It could also be beneficial to add a data plan, Hyman says. Keep in mind, however that some carriers do not have and charge by increments of data, such as megabytes or kilobytes, which can become an exorbitant expense — especially for a small business. You should also communicate that the employer is not financially responsible for a personal phone if it is lost, stolen or damaged while conducting business activity. How to Create a Cell Phone Policy: Company-Owned Cell Phones Issuing company-owned cell phones to employees is a double-edged sword, allowing you to maintain tighter constraints on restive cell phone activity while leaving your company more vulnerable to liabilities.
By reducing the expectation of privacy, you also reduce the chances of lawsuits from employees.
In one recent case , for example, an employee sued an employer and won, because his sexual text messages — sent on company-owned equipment — were read, after another supervisor told him that they would not be. It's crucial to include language in your policy that states ownership of an employees cell phone number, says Hyman — especially for a sales-related business. Individual cell phone bills are a pain on their own, and company bills can be even worse.
If employees know their bills are being reviewed regularly, the less likely you'll have overages and purchases of third-party content like apps, games, and ringtones. There are also tools like Auditel that can help manage your bill. As soon as employees realize a company-owned phone has been lost or stolen, they should report it so that service can be immediately turned off.
There are also apps like WaveSecure that allow users to remotely track a phone's SIM card, and erase private data.
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You should also be clear on who will bear the financial responsibility for lost or damaged phones. If it's the employee, be sure to have them sign an acknowledgement form that states so. Many phones come with software that not only allows GPS navigation, but also enables others to track them as well. Instruct employees to shut off the phone or GPS application during non-work hours, so as to steer clear of accusations of privacy breaches.
You may be the target of a "one-ring" phone scam. One-ring calls may appear to be from phone numbers somewhere in the United States, including three initial digits that resemble U. But savvy scammers often use international numbers from regions that also begin with three-digit codes — for example, "" goes to Sierra Leone and "" goes to the Dominican Republic. Scammers may also use spoofing techniques to further mask the number in your caller ID display. If you call back, you risk being connected to a phone number outside the U. As a result, you may wind up being charged a fee for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees for as long as they can keep you on the phone.
These charges may show up on your bill as premium services, international calling, or toll-calling.
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Variations of this scam rely on phony voice-mail messages urging you to call a number with an unfamiliar area code to "schedule a delivery" or to notify you about a "sick" relative. If you are billed for a call you made as a result of this scam, first try to resolve the matter with your telephone company. If you are unable to resolve it directly, you can file a complaint with the FCC at no cost. If you feel that you are a victim of an international phone scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC.
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