Phones on the Roof

Phones on your construction site, good or bad?

Phones anywhere on a construction site

What do you think? Should there be phones on your construction site?

There are a number of construction business services which are based on the availability of phones and other mobile electronic devices. There are mobile applications for managing field operations on just about every corner. Yet, for the purpose of this discussion we’re going to stick with phones.

Everyone is doing it

Do you remember the days you tried to convince your mom you should be allowed to do something because, “Gosh Mom, everyone else is doing it?”

Yet, when it comes to phones, it does indeed seem that everyone is doing it. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. People who don’t seem to have two cents to rub together have a handy dandy cell phone in their clutches.

Phones on your construction site

So how do you handle the issue of phones when it comes to your field employees or your subcontractors? Do you have a policy in place? Do you just hope everyone does the job they were hired to do and leaves their phone alone?

Caution Shiny Object Ahead. Do you know about or use any of these “rugged phones?”

Yeah, it’s complicated.

Communication

Our mobile phones, in all their glory, were and perhaps still are meant to be communication devices. And who doesn’t want to be able to communicate? You know what I mean – what do you do when you leave home without it?

Seems simple enough. You need to get in touch with your foreman, so you call or text him. There is a major setback on one of your sites and so one of your hands let’s you know (in real time) by sending you a photo.

But, there is this also. One of the guys on one of your crews married Nancy-Nothing-To-Do who calls him all-day-long. Someone else has some very interesting photos on his phone which he passes along on a frequent basis.

Mobile phones are one of the best tools you can have for your construction business – and one of the worst items to ever cross the line onto your construction site.

Efficiency

Phones are, in many instances, the key to jobsite efficiency. Knowify, (a product we know, use, and recommend) says their “smartphone application for field technicians is a great way to automate your job costing in real time from the job site.” They go on to say, “Giving employees access to Knowify on their phones can save you time dispatching workers, entering their time sheets, and reviewing reimbursement and expense requests.”

Even the folks at Hubdoc have information concerning how to use the phone to make using their system easier.

And our friend Jenny Moore of Moore Details Bookkeeping provides a quick video showing how simple it is to use Hubdoc via a phone to aid in the accounting aspect of your business.

Photography

Four important ways phone photography is useful on your jobsites are:

  1. Provides you with documentation or proof of work – allowing you to give your GC or other client a photographic timeline as you proceed.

 

  1. Gives you verification in response to an incident, weather, or some other unanticipated condition – as needed by your clients, insurance provider, or governmental agency.

 

  1. Permits you the ability to see the job site objectively – cameras take it all in, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

  1. Rewards you with multiple marketing opportunities – especially if you publish only the good, not the bad and the ugly. 😵

This article from Construction Law Musings-Richmond, VA discusses “The 6 Essentials of Construction Photography.” Be sure to pay attention to number five.

Safety

Yes, yes indeed, there is a safety issue when it comes to phones on the jobsite. Just as there is a safety issue when it comes to phone usage while driving.

Working while distracted is just as dangerous as driving while distracted. The answer in your vehicle can be as simple as using hands-free technology (like Bluetooth) or finding a safe place to stop. The answer on the jobsite may seem somewhat more complicated, yet it boils down to the same principles.

  • Avoid multi-tasking
  • Determine what your task is at the moment
  • Be fully aware of your surroundings

For example, just because you’ve decided to stop walking to engage in a text message conversation doesn’t mean you’re safe. What about the crane operating near you or the dump truck backing into location?

An article from Simplified Safety explores information concerning the use of phones on construction sites. And the title is rather telling, “Are People Walking Around Blindfolded on Your Job Site?” 

Policy

If you linked over to the article mentioned above, you noticed at the end of that post is a section labeled Developing a Mobile Device Usage Policy. It is a good starting point for writing your own policy concerning the use of phones on your jobsites.

You may also like to look over this policy on the Gribbins Insulation website.

The point is, taking the time to write a policy concerning phone usage on your jobsites is not just important, it is imperative. If you feel you need help you may wish to reach out to a freelance Human Resources service such as HRextension.

Writing and enforcing a cell phone policy is important to the well-being of your employees as well as the well-being of your subcontracting business.

Things to consider

What do you think? Should there be phones on your jobsites? How do you make the best use of the phone you have with you all the time anyway? How do you let your subs and employees know what you expect of them?

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