Even though everyone owns a smartphone, retail employers have strict “No Use” policies regarding cell phones at work. We all know people get around these rules, but not always to play games or text friends. It’s often to look up product details, communicate with coworkers, or make a sale. Retailers should loosen their policies and treat employees’ personal phones at work as productivity tools. Here are 5 guidelines to make the transition as easy as possible:
1. Set Clear Expectations for Cell Phone Use in the Workplace
It’s important to identify exactly what job functions your employees can perform on their phones. Find an online “Workplace Cell Phone Use Policy” template to use as inspiration. Talk with your employees to get an understanding of their cell phone use in the workplace. Draft your new policies with input from key representatives. Consider all possible use scenarios and whether they are acceptable in your place of business.
When your new policies are finalized, circulate them in a uniform manner to your employees. Be clear about the reasoning behind any cell phone restrictions at work and make it clear when and where cell phone use is permitted within your policy. Ensure that each employee has read and understood the policies by requiring a signature. Give all employees a copy of the policy electronically and on paper so they can refer to it should future questions arise.
2. Your Cell Phone at Work Policy Should Follow the Law
When crafting your updated personal mobile phone policies, consult your legal and human resources teams to confirm that they follow any laws. For example, if your employees drive on the job and your state requires hands-free cell phone use while driving, your policy should include those restrictions. You should also provide your employees with the right accessories in that case. If employees are regularly using personal cell phones in the workplace to do their jobs, you may need to offer some form of reimbursement.
3. Secure Cell Phone Use at Work
Introducing personal cell phones to the workplace initiates a need for greater data security. It is paramount to protect customer information and proprietary company data. Not only is a data breach costly, it immeasurably dents your corporate reputation. Make sure all of your networks are secure and your data encrypted. Providing employees with free anti-virus and malware software is a worthwhile investment. Finally, include security tips and best practices in your new policy documents explaining how, for example, to avoid email phishing scams.
4. Use an All-in-One Cell Phone Application
Select a flexible application for all workplace communication. Applications like Zello offer benefits like recording communications, easily creating group chains, tracking who is online at any particular time, and GPS location tracking.
The ability to easily connect and communicate at work will improve customer service, as employees more easily answer questions, address issues, and collaborate as a team. Having a unified communication application helps employers identify problems within the workplace and address issues of misuse, since all communication is recorded on the application.
5. Enforce Consequences When Cell Phones at Work are Misused
If you want employees to take your new personal mobile phone policy seriously, consequences must be clearly outlined. These consequences must be enforced consistently. As employees adjust to the new rules, it can be useful to provide warnings for misuse. After a predetermined number of warnings, consequences must ensue. While it may be unrealistic to expect people to abstain from personal communication at all times, it is important that employees understand that having a cell phone at work cannot interfere with or lower productivity and customer service.