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Should you allow your employees to use personal cell phones at work?

Cell phones in the work place are a little bit of a catch-22.If your employees have to make or take personal calls while they are at work, you would probably rather have them do it on their own dime than on yours.What makes this a catch-22 is that you don't want them to use their cell phones at work.A typical solution for this problem is for business to have an "only in case of emergency" cell phone policy.

There are security issues regarding cell phones.I was surprised when I went into a locker room recently and saw posters everywhere stating that the use of cell phones was prohibited in the locker rooms.I talked with a security officer to find out what the deal was and he said they had to prevent people from taking pictures in the locker room.Apparently, some other branch of the company had problems with people taking pictures of other people showering and then posting the pictures on the internet.It is somewhat hard to believe that we have to think about these things but the sad truth is that we do.

The cell phone camera poses other security threats too.What if you deal with confidential documents or information?One click of the cell phone and the confidential documents, your business secrets, sales plans, etc. can be ready to post to the internet.Having cameras so readily available is helpful in certain instances but you have to becareful about what people have access to.

As cell phones get smarter, they offer more entertainment options.Today's cell phones can be used for playing video games, accessing the web, and listening to music.There are a few jobs where employees are allowed to use headphones and listen to music while they work.In many more jobs, employees need to be fully attentive to what they are doing while they are at work.If your business is the type where the employees need to be attentive, you might have to ban the use of personal cell phones all together.

The cell phone problem is getting worse as people get accustomed to constantly being connected.People drive and talk or even drive and text.If they don't think they can wait to get off the freeway to make their important contact, how will they ever be able to make it until they get off work?Most people are dependent on their cells but the problem seems to be worse for the younger generation.Teenagers and twenty somethings have grown up with cell phones and they are used to using them all of the time.The more used to using the cell they are the harder it is going to be to control personal use in the workplace.

In general, personal cell phones should probably not be allowed in the work place.In the case of an emergency, the company phone can be used.In the case of not an emergency the company phone cnm be used as well but it is much easier to monitor the use of the company phone than it is to monitor the use of personal phones.If you don't allow personal cell phones, you will also be banning video games, personal emails, and music.These are all things that usually don't belong in the office.

Of course, if your business is an exception it is an exception.I once worked graveyard shifts in a group home.My only job was to stay awake through the night in case there was a problem.In that case, video games, music, email, the internet, personal calls, just about all things associated with phones would have been acceptable.

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