Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Snapping On the Job

I know what you are thinking; this blog is geared at the dental field, not our postal service.  You are correct, of course.  But the “snapping” that I am referring to is of the camera, not a mental break.  Today, more than ever, smart phones are commonplace.  In fact, according to a study from Pew Internet & American LifeProject, 46 percent of all Americans are using a smart phone.
I recently had a client that had an individual on site for a working interview; the candidate showed staff members pictures that he had taken on his phone from other offices that he had worked in or interviewed with that he considered “very dirty.”  First, it never reflects well to bash former employers.  Second, the fact that he had used his cell phone to take photos of employers meant he could do the same to them.  This was just an interview.  What could have happened if this person was hired? 
Most offices have rules in place regarding the use of cell phones for phone calls and texting, but are you effectively protecting yourself with regards to the camera?
Camera phones leave individuals and companies open to multiple risks.  However, I want to focus on two main topics: the invasion of one’s privacy and theft of company information.
Camera phones enable one to take pictures of surroundings, coworkers, and patients, with great ease and in a variety of intimate situations.  Today’s smart phones allow pictures to be distributed quickly through various outlets which opens the door for espionage and harassment.  Some states have gone so far as to make improper photography a felony.
As a dental practice, you must ensure that your information and your patient’s information are safe guarded.  Your computers and file cabinets contain sensitive information which could easily lead to identity theft if it lands in the wrong hands. 
What can you, as an employer, do? It may be time to update your cell phone policy to specifically cover the camera phone issues.  Make sure that all of the staff is aware of the policy and why it is needed.  I would suggest limiting the areas that cell phones are permitted and requiring staff to ask management before taking photographs.  And, of course, with any policy, you will also want to have in place consequences for those that do not obey the policy.
Contributed by Tiffany Worstell, Dental Staff Recruiter- Nationwide.  To Contact Tiffany, call 540-491-9112, or email at tworstell@etsdental.com.