Thanks to smart phone technology, it seems like everyone is “plugged in” to 24/7 web access, texting, and e-mail; not to mention phone conversations. In some cases, people have become so addicted to their phones that they’re texting constantly, even while driving, having dinner with their families or using the bathroom! Clearly these devices can become a major distraction at work, causing major problems with productivity, especially if you want your staff to be focused on getting critical projects completed accurately and on time. But mandating a “no cell phone” policy may be too harsh. So where’s the balance? Here are a few tips: Implement a personal cell phone usage policy in writing. Taking a personal call from the daycare about a sick child may be acceptable, but spending 3 hours plus organizing a wedding is not. This should include certain etiquette rules, such as turning the ringer off during meetings or speaking softly to avoid disrupting others. If possible, get your employees involved in creating the policy; explain why you are doing it and that you want to make it fair and reasonable. Usually there are only a small percentage of employees who truly abuse the system, so you’ll find most employees will be on board with the policy and happy to provide input. Post this policy throughout the office as a reminder. Review this policy with each employee and have them sign it. Provide some flexibility for those in unusual circumstances, such as an employee with a sick child or with a recent death in the family. Enforce the policy so everyone knows you are serious about it. One of the best ways for management to do this is by walking around. Since personal cell phones are not connected to the company’s network, you really won’t know if anyone is violating the policy unless you physically walk around to check on them from time to time. Lead by example! Don’t expect your employees to stay off their cell phones if you are constantly texting and talking on yours. Attention: Your cell phone policy can be included in your AUP (acceptable usage policy) that directs how employees may or may not use company resources (Internet, e-mail, etc.). For more help in creating these policies, contact our office!