Can I implement a personal cell phone use policy stating phones
are to be shut off during business hours? If so, should that policy
stipulate the use of personal cell phones is permitted only during break
and lunch periods?
How in the world did we ever live without cell phones? How did we have
the patience to sit by a land-line phone waiting for a call? How did
we track down a friend at the stadium, or our teenager in the mall?
How many of us remember trying desperately to find a pay phone, and
then realizing we didn't have a dime or correct change to make a call?
Cell phones have become an important, beneficial part of society, I
suppose it could be said that they are a necessity. As valuable as cell
phones are in this day and age, they also have become an intrusive part
of society. Twenty years ago, we weren't reminded to turn off our cell
phones prior to a movie or performance. Twenty years ago we didn't take
a phone call in the middle of a restaurant, and we weren't subjected
to listening to one-sided conversations in most every environment.
Cell phones have their purpose, but also can be a bane to mankind. It
is increasingly difficult for people to disconnect from their own personal
worlds with its distractions and live in the here and now. For example;
"I am glad I am enjoying an intimate luncheon date with you my
friend, but please excuse me if I need to take an important business
Although cell phones can be considered a valued asset in some circumstances,
they are not ALWAYS a necessity. In answer to the original question;
yes by all means a dentist should have a policy requiring cell phones
be turned off during the working day. Not only should cell phones be
off, but also cell phones should be kept in the employee's purse or
locker so as not to become a distraction such as in cases of text messaging
or retrieving voicemail, both of which can be done silently. Even with
the extenuating circumstance of an emergency, family members can always
call the dentist's main office line to relay any concerns or urgent
need to contact an employee. An employee should only have the benefit
of cell phone use during lunch or break periods. The final judgment
as to whether or not a call is an emergency lies with the dentist or
If you do not have a policy in the manual regarding cell phones, I suggest
you implement one immediately by issuing an addendum to your manual,
educating all the employees regarding the new policy, having each employee
sign the policy, and put this signed copy in their employee files as
part of their permanent record. At this time it would also be prudent
to make sure all your employees have read your office manual, and each
employee has a signed statement in their file that they have read and
understand the office policies and procedures. This is a safeguard not
only for the employees, in that they understand what is expected of
them, but also for the employer, in that expectations have been made
known and adherence to policy is expected.
Say "goodbye" to unwanted interruptions during the work day.
And Say "hello" to a higher level of patient services, where
patients in your office leave after a positive experience, without a
cell phone ringing!