Reaching a peak of their popularity, cell phones tend to become a major source of concern for corporate, healthcare, educational, and even governmental authorities.
In fact, using cell phones during working hours is now commonly seen as a serious violation of workplace discipline, professional courtesy, and ultimately a threat to employees’ productivity. As a result, more and more business owners and office administrators would readily impose various cell phone usage restrictions intended to limit or sometimes completely prohibit cell phone use on their premises.
Although many companies have confidentiality and privacy policies set up, some of them may further benefit from implementation of additional measures to achieve even better results. Such tools may include installation of appropriate warning signage (For example, “No Cell Phones”, “No Texting or Talking on Cell Phone” or “Designated Cell Phone Area”) or integration of video surveillance throughout production and office areas. Although the latter may produce somewhat better results, it is also likely to do so at the expense of the company’s budget (due to the equipment, installation and ongoing maintenance costs affiliated with such a project).
Here is a brief list of potential threats that may arise as a result of improper cell phone use in a corporate environment:
1. Employee Productivity Loss: Quite a few contemporary employers tend to ban cell phone use due to a mere concern (and in many cases completely justified) that their employees would get easily distracted and prone to attend to their private affairs rather than their direct responsibilities.
Solution: The easiest way to solve this issue would be an implementation and continuous enforcement of cell phone restriction policy (on security and human resources level) combined with introduction of proper Warning and Facility ID signs as an inexpensive reminder to employees.
2. Privacy Concerns: A majority of mobile devices these days are capable of instantly capturing and transferring large amounts of photo and video content which significantly increases the risks of disclosure of confidential information (such as corporate documentation, assembly line performance, production facilities or building infrastructure).
Solution: Thoughtful use of No Cell Phone Signs with proper security measures and routine cultivation of Company rules (in a form of monthly memos or by briefly addressing this matter during a corporate / department meeting) can minimize the risk of information leak or unauthorized disclosure.
3. Equipment Accidents: It seems obvious not to use cell phones while operating industrial equipment (forklifts, grinders, coiling / welding machines,etcetera). However, the past few years have proven the importance of maintaining constant visual reminders (such as Caution and Safety signs) and its positive role in reducing a number of work-related accidents.
4. Functionality Issues: Not every hi-tech electronic device comes completely protected from interference created by modern wireless devices (airplane computers and hospital electronics are just some of the examples that come to mind). As a result, irresponsible use of cell phones during plane takeoff or landing can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Solution: It’s much wiser (and usually a lot cheaper) to foresee and prevent a disaster rather than to try to perform a damage control when it’s already happened. By simply posting a “Please Turn off Your Cell Phone before Entering” sign in front of potentially vulnerable area can alert your visitors and help to avoid undesired outcome.
5. Legal liability: Accidents caused by employees using cell phones on duty are likely to make company a subject for multi-million dollar law-suits. In many states employers may be held liable for any damages caused by their employees acting within the scope of his or her employment. Furthermore, employers could also be considered negligent if they fail to provide an adequate cell phone use policy, proper training, or safe equipment to their employees.
Solution: Although, even the most thorough internal policies may not be able to entirely protect your Company from liability, it is always a good idea to combine your policy with a use of appropriate warning / safety signage in order to increase the awareness and minimize potential risks.
Whether or not employees and visitors may use their wireless devices at your premises is solely determined by your Company’s internal policy and vastly depends on the nature of business that it is involved in. What is important to remember is that cell phones can be used not just for their original purpose – they can become (willingly or not) a major source of destruction, a powerful intelligence instrument or even a weapon (for example, driving and texting or using a phone without a hands free device is illegal).
Therefore, a proper implementation of safety protocols (caution, danger, warning or facility ID signage, security monitoring or strict disciplinary actions) is essential for any institution concerned with a safety of its employees and conscious efficiency of its operations. These signs can all be found at http://www.safetysign.com/