Introduction to this document

Telephone policy

It's important in all office-based workplaces to have policy statements on the use of computers, e-mail and the Internet at work and on using the telephone. Our policy sets out useful provisions both on using the telephone for private calls (including company mobile phones) and on having personal mobile phones in the office.

Telephone usage

Many employees are often tempted to excessively use work telephones for personal purposes. Whilst you are probably willing to tolerate the odd bit of non-work related telephone activity, the fact remains that you are paying the employee to work, not to chat to their friends and family all day. Our Telephone Policy sets out strict rules on the use of the telephone for private calls and this includes Company-provided mobile phones too (in this case, the rules also cover personal text messages, apps and internet access). You can adapt this policy to suit your particular circumstances. For example, you might be willing to be more liberal in your approach to personal use of the telephone or you might wish to provide that employees have no personal uses at all whilst at work, except in an emergency.

Telephone monitoring

To what extent can you legitimately monitor your employees' phone calls to ensure they're not breaking the rules? The starting point is that it's unlawful to intercept a communication on your own system. However, there are a number of business-related exceptions to this, including where the interception is to establish the existence of facts, ascertain compliance with regulatory or self-regulatory practices or procedures, ascertain or demonstrate the standards which are achieved or ought to be achieved by employees using the system in the course of their duties, investigate or detect the unauthorised use of the system, and for security reasons (to secure the effective operation of the system). Our policy statement sets out the right to monitor and a list of the business purposes for which telephone monitoring will take place. You should always be fully transparent about monitoring and so inform employees in advance if monitoring of telephone calls is to take place - and the purposes for and the nature and extent of that monitoring - and provide access to a telephone that won't be monitored for private and confidential calls. Our policy ensures employees are duly informed. Where you do monitor staff, put in place strict controls regarding the confidentiality of records created as a result of monitoring and only monitor to the extent that it's appropriate to achieve your particular business objective, i.e. make sure that you monitor staff in the least intrusive manner possible and that you infringe their right to privacy to the minimum necessary. Finally, we have set down rules to enable you to monitor Company mobile phones. In this case, it essentially involves reserving the right to obtain call, text message and Internet records from the mobile phone service provider.

Personal mobile phones

We’ve provided in our policy that employees should only use their personal mobile phones for essential calls during normal working hours and that they should be set to silent. Again, you can adapt this to suit your particular requirements. For example, the other option we have provided is for personal mobile phones to only be used outside of normal working hours.