That smart phone on your assistant’s desk is both a blessing and a curse.  Either childcare arrangements can be adjusted with a quick message, or hours of productivity can be lost.  Facebook, Twitter or texting communication is now widely accepted in the workplace, but keeping it in check with uniform policy and enforcement is essential.  Strike a balance between modern communication and your business needs.

Take Action Early

Make company policy on smart phone and social media use clear and uniform. If an employee understands the company expectations during office hours, there is less room for misuse and abuse. Having a clear cut and universal policy also helps to create a homogenous office environment. In other words, an employee is less likely to spend all day texting if expectations are clear.

Be Reasonable

Although making company social media policy clear, it is just as important to be flexible. If an employee occasionally sends a quick text message, it’s not beneficial for you to reprimand them. Creating a harsh work environment creates unhappy employees – which has a much higher productivity cost than an occasional text.

Policy Considerations

Set Clear Expectations : A clear explanation of the purpose and guidelines for your companies social media policy will counter your employee’s resistance.

Coverage of all devices : “Cell phone” is not defined broadly enough.  Your policy should address texting of all types (SMS, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) through the use of phones, and other wireless devices.

Description of who’s covered: As with most other employment policies, your texting rules should apply to all employees, consultants, temporary staff, and other third parties who work either on-site or in the field.  Be sure to include both company owned and personal devices in your policy as well.

List of specific activities: Be specific to your organization’s needs.  Operating a vehicle, including heavy machinery and personal cars and trucks for business-related purposes, should be at the top of your list of strictly forbidden activities.

Practice What You Preach

Although being an employer rather than an employee means you get a bit more leeway with office policy, be the leader your employees can emulate.

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