Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 15

Setting a Sensible Smartphone Policy

Smartphones have become a standard employee accessory in many professions, but one management expert says managers need to do a better job of explaining to their employees why they have been given one.

Richard Protherough, director of an IT recruitment firm, recently talked to the UK publication Management Today about how managers can set clear guidelines for employees who have work smartphones.

First and foremost, Protherough suggests that managers explicitly state why their employees have been given a phone: "Is it a perk? For meetings? Or for checking-in while away from the office?" Secondly, he advises that managers make it clear to employees that a work phone is to be used only for work purposes—not for personal correspondences with friends and family.

Protherough also recommends managers address the following issues for employee smartphone usage:

  • Don't use your phone to extend the work day. You shouldn't need to rely on after-hours communications to do the bulk of your job.
  • Don't be available 24/7. This can "set an unhelpful precedent and unrealistic expectations."
  • Set different expectations for different employees. Some employees may not need to check their smartphones after 5 p.m., while more mission-sensitive employees may need to do so.
  • Define policy on after-hours calls. "Does it matter if [employees] are in a noisy environment or social event? Should a missed call be returned? If so, when?"
  • Consider setting up a crisis line. Make one employee "on call" for urgent requests, and let others in your office relax until they're back in the office.

Finally, Protherough offers some advice for managers who have smartphones.

"Your phone shouldn't be a way of monitoring or interfering in office activities," he says. "Allow yourself to switch off and trust your team to get on with work in your absence. Empower those left in the office to make decisions and step up. The office won't fall apart—nor should it—because you take a few days off."

This article is from the Oct. 17, 2011 issue.

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Minority Advancement Institute

Nov. 14 - 16, 2011
Sheraton Baltimore City Center
Baltimore, Md., United States

The institute was created to foster the development of diverse leaders in the advancement profession. This year's program focuses on management, leadership and mentoring of advancement professionals of diverse backgrounds.

Institute Registration: US$199
MAI Alumni Registration: US$99

Contact Rob Henry, executive director of emerging constituencies, at to register.