Skip to main content

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but my view on this is: Publish all phone numbers in a central directory; where phone numbers are not up to date or unpublished, create a button, that (when pressed) generates an E-mail saying something along the line: "I tried to reach you, but I couldn't because your number is not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>

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sony is evil

I just so agree with Todd:

Bad Company of the Year Award!:The company that I am putting at the top of my list is a 4 letter word so foul, that it has been banned from my home. I have asked my wife who is Japanese to refrain from buying any of their products for the next 5 years. The Bad company of the year is no other than SONY…
Sony is just a big no-buy company. My girlfriend knows why Sony is evil and we both will rather buy a more expensive or less appealing product from a competitor. "Sony is evil" has only 726 hits on Google, but this will increase.

Edit: More about the damage Sony does:
Artists revolt against DRM
Portable stereo's creator got his due, eventually

Switzerland - the country with the most craft breweries per capita

Just stumbled upon this stat:


Interesting is looking at the number of capita per craft brewery - we see Switzerland has one craft brewery per 20'000 people:

CountryCraft BreweriesCapitaCapita per BreweryUSA4,000322,216,00080,554Canada48335,851,77474,227UK72364,800,00089,627Germany30781,197,500264,487France65467,107,000102,610Switzerland3968,279,70020,908Russia561146,433,580261,022Italy60060,725,000101,208Japan200126,890,000634,450Brazil217205,180,000945,530
(Source of population  data:

Eye-catching accident prevention poster

The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention bfu has an eye-catching poster. It says: "To prevent accidents becoming horror (stories): Wear a bycicle helmet." Link to .pdf (144k)