Thoughts about employees and their cell phones

September 3, 2014 · 0 comments

If there’s a more provocative topic in the printing industry, I’m not sure what could generate more debate and opinion than whether or not employees should be allowed to use personal cell phones on company time.

Do you allow employees to use personal cell phones while on the clock at your printing firm?

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a groundswell of large companies like FedEx and UPS banning employee cell phone usage at work. FedEx won’t even allow their employees to bring cell phones into the building. In the food and restaurant industry, which is heavily staffed by younger workers, cell phone abuse during work hours has gotten so chronically bad that many companies (like Dairy Queen) ask employees to sign a written statement saying they promise not to use their cell phone while working.

My oldest daughter, Paige, works at a popular Juice & Smoothie bar here in Fargo. Her boss has video cameras in the shop and a smartphone app that allows him to “visit” his juice bar remotely. She received this letter from her boss a few days ago:

Hey Ladies,

So I’m out of town checking in on our store, and I’m constantly seeing people on their cell phones. This is a BIG NO NO. I’m not paying you all to be on the clock and on your phones.

It doesn’t matter if there’s no one in the store.

If you are caught using your phone without permission, you will be written up. Then, if it happens again, you will be automatically TERMINATED on the spot.

Thanks,

Ed (name changed)

I’m not going to give advice here about what type of policy you need in your printing firm because I think this is a very personal — and difficult — decision every business owner is facing today. However, I do think it would be wise to reconsider your current company cell phone policy and possibly replace it with something more strict. There is a strong and growing momentum in the workplace to support the idea.

My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.

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