Mobile Communication Devices

Effective date: March 20, 2012

Revised January 2018

Relevant Legislation:

Please refer to Privacy policy.

Intent:

LOFT Community Services is committed to providing staff with appropriate communication devices to promote safety in the workplace, to be accessible to other service providers and management and to assist with service delivery and efficiency.

The intent of this policy is to put regulations around the use of mobile communication devices provided by LOFT in the workplace and used during work hours.

Definitions:

Not applicable to this policy.

Policy:

All staff that are required to be accessible during the day and are out in the community a significant amount of their workday will be provided with the appropriate communication device.  These devices (phones) will be LOFT property.  Access to data services on the communication devices will also be provided to identified staff who spend significant time out of the office and for whom timely access to secure email is of benefit to their work and the organization.

Personal Calls

Personal calls during work are discouraged.  Individuals are therefore asked to make personal calls on non-work time, wherever possible, regardless of whether the employee is using a LOFT or personal communication device.  Employees are to ensure that friends and family members are aware of the organization’s policy.  It is recognized that, on occasion, personal calls do need to occur to address personal emergency situations.  However, there cannot be excessive personal calls during work hours, regardless of the phone used.

Long Distance

Employees are permitted to use LOFT’s mobile communication devices only if they are work related.  All work related long distance calls need to be recorded and submitted monthly as directed by the finance department.  It is the program director’s responsibility to review the bills monthly and to submit appropriate documentation regarding long distance calls.

Driving safety

In accordance with the law, LOFT maintains that individuals not use their mobile communication device while operating a vehicle.    If staff receives a call while driving, they should either let it go to voicemail,  refrain from answering or use a hands free device.

Other precautions to be taken while driving are:

  • Let voicemail pick up messages and respond later
  • Purchase/use a hands free device or headset
  • Never take notes or text while driving

Loss of device

The organization is not liable for the loss of any employee’s personal mobile communication device.  If a LOFT –owned mobile communication device is lost, report this immediately to your director.   The access to the mobile device will be shut down immediately.

 

Procedures:

Permitted calls

Staff is to refrain from using LOFT phones to call 411 unless absolutely necessary.  Long distance calls made from a Mobile communication device will be reimbursed only if approved by the Program Director/supervisor .

While working from a fixed location, use of a mobile communication device is discouraged.  Staff are encouraged to initiate calls through a landline and direct callers to the LOFT line with the staff’s extension whenever possible.

How often to check messages

LOFT’s  mobile communication device is required to be on during working hours and messages are to be checked as agreed upon with the program director.  Staff is required to respond as soon as feasibly possible to a cellular call or as directed by the voicemail message.

Equipment problems

Any equipment problems with communication devices should be reported as soon as possible to technical support services.

Password, Privacy and safety

All users of Mobile Communication devices must protect access to the data on the unit by implementing the password security feature of the unit.  All numbers for LOFT-owned Mobile Communication Devices shall be kept in a locked and secured location and maintained by the director of the program.

Client health information can not be shared via text at any time.

Return of the Mobile Communication Device

Upon leaving LOFT employment, the employee is required to return any LOFT-owned mobile communication device to their supervisor.  The program director is responsible for ensuring the return of all devices to Technical Services Department.

Client Service

All communication with service users must be done on a LOFT-owned mobile device unless approved by the staff’s program director.

Text content:  Any emails and texts to service users and community partners are to be professional in nature.  Text conversations that have occurred will be recorded in the Client information System and their content audited regularly by the supervisor.

Photos:    Explicit consent is required for photography and for sound or video recording of a client.

Professionalism and Boundaries:  E-mail and text message based communication can often be perceived as being more informal in nature than other forms of communication.  Staff, not LOFT’s service users are responsible for setting and maintaining clear and appropriate boundaries in all forms of communication while using their mobile device.  The Program Director may advise staff to turn off their LOFT phone when not during work hours.

Contract:  Staff  will ‘contract’ with service users at the commencement of the professional relationship regarding the use of mobile phones and text based communication.

The ‘contract’ should include:

  1. The type of information that can be exchanged through text
  2. The amount of notice required to change or cancel appointments and how appointments can be changed or cancelled
  3. How quickly a text or email will be responded to by both parties
  4. Staff work hours and a plan on what the service user is to do when the staff is not available or it is after work hours
  5. When the staff or service user will not be picking up their cell phone or answering texts
  6. Service user should be aware that any records can be subpoenaed including records of communication via email and text
  7. Shared understanding regarding the cost considerations to service users of sending text messages
  8. Shared understanding that email and texts do not allow for visual cues in communication and can be misinterpreted.  A process should be outlined of what would occur if a party if concerned or upset by a message between staff and the service user.
  9. Security of the service users’ device and who  might have access to the mobile device
  10. Agreement of what the staff will do if a service user sends a text that causes the staff to worry that the service user may harm themselves or others.