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Should companies publish cell phone numbers of all employees internally?

One of our customers is discussing publishing the phone numbers of all employees in a central directory. For the classic desk phone this is merely undisputed. But for cell phones, different view points exist. First of all, there seems to be the idea, that only managers have cell phones (the same thinking applies to laptops, smartphones and PDAs). This might be true for some business areas, but for example in IT, most of the employees have cell phones, laptops and the like, just to be able to do their jobs. Secondly, people fear that they get unsolicited phone calls when their number is published internally. For example, the IT service manager might be called in the middle of the night, instead of going through the standard problem escalation procedures.

I understand these concerns, but my view on this is: Publish all phone numbers in a central directory; where phone numbers are not up to date or unpublished, create a button, that (when pressed) generates an E-mail saying something along the line: "I tried to reach you, but I couldn't because your number is not listed. Click here to list your numbers.". For those managers who fear to get phone calls, allow them to have themselves unlisted. I'm sure, that over time, the number of unlisted cell phone numbers will decrease, as exactly these employees will not be involved in some discussions, because they couldn't be reached.

Additionally, people should stop thinking of cell phones, laptops and other devices as status symbols: These things are needed for people to do their jobs. I remember very well the time, when it was unthinkable, that the manager had an older PC than the people reporting to him. This led to a machine-swapping nightmare, each time a PC had to be replaced. This doctrine was also hindering productivity, because most of the time, employees were using PCs much more for their daily work than their managers. So next time you need to get a machine to a new developer in your team: Don't give him the old one that'll just suffice. All people like getting new things. A great way to start in a company is getting a brand new piece of equipment.

Regarding the listing of cell phones, I'd like to mention Robert Scoble (Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger):

Why put your cell phone number on your blog?

James Snape, on my comments yesterday, asked "is putting your mobile number on the internet a good idea? Do you get many unwanted calls or text spam?"

I've been doing that for years. So far I have gotten a handful of calls. It really is amazing how few I get.

But, here's why I do it. <continue here>


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