Wednesday, June 28, 2017
NorCo's New Cell Block
SHRM advocates a reasonable approach. "Employees may carry and use personal cell phones while at work on a sporadic basis. If employee use of a personal cell phone causes disruptions or loss in productivity, the employee may become subject to disciplinary action per company policy."
Brown and Trapp at first appear to adopt this common sense approach:
"While at work, employees are expected to exercise discretion when using personal electronic devices. Excessive personal calls, emails, or text messages during the workday, regardless of the type of device used, interfere with employee productivity, are distracting to others, may be unsanitary and, in some cases, could present safety concerns in the working environment."
But right after telling you to exercise discretion, you're told that cell phone use is banned.
"Employees are prohibited from using personal electronic devices during work time, and may only use these devices during scheduled breaks and lunch periods. Additionally, the use must occur only in non-working areas. At no time are mifi devices [like WiFi] not issued by the County of Northampton permitted to be used to boost signals for personal devices while in County owned buildings."
In addition, it is apparently now a capital offense to be caught carrying one.
"Employees’ personal electronic communication devices are to be kept secured in parked vehicles, kept in locked desk drawers, or in lockers where available."
This is overkill. Some businesses like Fed Ex ban cell phones completely, but most public and private employers take a more common sense approach. If it is distracting, it must stop. If it hinders performance, it must stop. Department heads will talk to employees who spend their entire day on the phone. There is no need for a four-page policy that in essence treats the county's most valuable asset, the workforce, as though they are little children.
What is the cell phone policy like where you work?
Updated 9:40 am: Hokie Joe, one of my readers, warns that the last place to keep a cellphone is in a parked car: "Here is my recent experience..... To leave your cellphone in a locked vehicle is ASKING FOR TROUBLE. Cell phones are heat sensitive and the batteries can ignite and cause severe damage to your auto as well as destroying your phone and possibly injuring an innocent by-stander. Look at your instructions on your new phones. I recently left my cell phone exposed to the sun while wading in a local creek and when I picked up my phone, it wouldn't work. I went to Verizon with the problem and they explained the heat sensitive issue. When the phone heats up to a higher temperature than your body temperature it will not respond to your touch since your body temperature is lower than the battery temperature. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CELLPHONE IN YOUR AUTO WITH ALL THIS SUMMER HEAT."