Thursday, August 4, 2011
When Does Personal Cell Phone Use and Texting Become Too Much on the Job?
1. Pat Casico, Owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston, TX says, "Speaking as an agency owner that hears from parents, texting and talking on the phone are common reasons that nannies lose their jobs. I think it would be wise to ask your employer about how they would feel if you spent your down time texting, communicating on Facebook, or chatting on the phone with a friend or family member. I would suggest that you describe what you mean by downtime and assure your employer that your outside communications will never take precedence over your job responsibilities or the opportunity to interact with your charge. Being open about this issue is so much better than having your charge or other people “tattle” on you!"
2. Susan Joy Feigon, of Feigon Hamiton Partnership in San Rafael, CA adds, "We feel as in any job, texting while working is not appropriate. You have been hired to take care of your charges and they should be your only focus. Though a parent/employer might say it is fine with them if you text, it is better to maintain professionalism and make your social plans before or after work. You are being paid to do a job, honor that."
3. Becky Kavanagh, a Nanny, Placement Counselor at Nannies of the Heartland , and Co-President of the International Nanny Association shares, "I have always felt that personal calls or texts should be limited to emergencies or made while the children napping which was my time to take a break. Today's easy access to Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet right from you phone or netbook makes it really challenging not to get caught up with connecting all the time. I have seen nannies and parents plugged in to the "world" while missing the wonder and excitement with the children in their care. I wouldn't want to exchange a minute of fun, adventure, and imagination with children for any reason. My advice -- use your common sense and think before you pick up your smart phone."
4. Beth Weise, Owner of A Caring Nanny in Scottsdale, AZ asks, "Can you imagine a grocery bagger texting on the job?" She continues, "We suggest to our nannies that they take important calls while working and only stay on the phone for 15-30 seconds. They can let the caller know that they can call back at a more appropriate time, like during a nap or break time, and then hang up. They should let friends and family know their schedule so they only get emergency calls while at work."
5. Judy Shapiro Flynn, Owner of The Original Nanny Service in Worcester, MA answers, "No I don't feel they should be texting but unless it has to do with the position such as a play date. Habitual texting should not be allowed at all. Text before and after work."
6. Laura Maggied, of The Help Company in New York, NY, with offices also in Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA believes that, "Nannies should not be allowed to text or use their phones during the work day unless they are in communication with the parents, or the child is asleep and all other duties are done. Excessive personal phone use is not acceptable in any job. We encourage our nannies to openly discuss this issue with their employers so everyone is on the same page, and expectations are made clear."
7. Edina Stone, CEO and Founder of Au Pair ClearingHouse an au pair agency review and rating web site says, "No" to cell phone use for au pairs on the job. She explains, "Forbidding au pairs and nannies to use their cell phones during work is a tricky subject. It is hard to imagine going one full day without one's phone. However, because au pairs are young and usually inexperienced, I feel that they should not use their cell phones to text and call friends during their work day. They have to remain on alert, particularly if they are caring for young children. Texts and phone calls are very distracting and childcare providers need to focus on the job at hand. Once it is allowed, the cell phone behavior can easily take over an au pair's attention and this can have serious consequences for the children. So, my vote is: NO cell phone usage during an au pair's work day."
8. Chandra Hall of A Nanny Solution, serving the San Francisco Bay Area says, "Even though we are the experts at placing nannies in the homes, we're not the experts in saying what they can and cannot do. We've decided to let the parents make that decision. We've included a place on our family application where we ask parent's "What's your policy of cell phone use while working?"
Ms. Hall continues, "We're finding that parents are okay with texting and use of cell phone at appropriate times. We're also finding that the technology is allowing parents to feel closer to their children during the day. Many nannies are providing pictures, videos and texts throughout the day letting the parents know what's 'growing' during the day."
9. More Than A Nanny LLC located in New York, NY recommends, "Nannies need to remember that they have a unique job, unlike any corporate job, a professional nanny is responsible for the safety, happiness, and wellness of young lives. Nowadays, cell phones are mini computers, allowing you to text, check emails, surf the web, manage social networking, and talk. They are very distracting which is why Oprah Winfrey started the 'no phone zone' pledge. I believe the same attitude should be applied when working as a nanny. Phone use should be limited to emergencies and down times when child(ren) are in a class or napping, etc. We all know that one text, leads to another, which leads to another and its really a vicious cycle that takes the focus away from the children. Its no wonder more and more families are asking the nanny to turn off their phones or leave them home altogether!"
10. Alicia Torchia, President of Careful Caregivers in Skillman, NJ explains, "Families should discuss this subject of cell phone usage with their employee so that there is never a misunderstanding of rules they wish followed in their home. A professional nanny will naturally conduct herself to the highest standards and will always put her responsibilities and duties with the family first before personal time on a cell phone."
11. April Berube of The Wellington Agency of Boston, New York, Palm Beach, Miami, Los Angeles, and London says, "As a mother, and an employer I would say, 'Yes.' I want to be able to reach my nanny at all times. But, I don't want her chit-chatting with friends but I trust her to use her good judgement. I prefer texting over phone conversation. As for my oldest who babysits during the evening, I want to make sure she is okay and if there should be a problem I want her to reach out to me. As for my agency, I would give the same advice to families hiring and hires. During work hours the phone should always be on. But use your common sense and good judgement. All personal phone calls should be before or after work."
12. Mary Boyle of Northshore Professional Nanny Agency says, "I am an agency owner, a nanny, and a mother, so I have a broad viewpoint of this situation. I know parents who communicate with their nannies via mobile phone and texting; obviously this is fine as long as the nanny isn't doing it while she's driving."
She continues, "Unfortunately, the prevalence and convenience of mobile phones has run rampant over basic rules of etiquette. In every other working environment, it is not acceptable to be on a phone for non-business related purposes during working hours and I don't feel it should be any different for nannies. I think that it is inconsiderate and rude -- whether it's at work or at a restaurant with friends or in a movie theater - and it sets a poor example to the children in their care."
13. Lorna Spencer, Owner of A Choice Nanny in Columbia, MD adds, "I believe that a nanny should be able to use their cell phones on a limited basis. I get many comments from parents that say the nanny talks to her friends all day on her call phone. This is very unprofessional if the nanny wants to be treated as a professional. The nanny is not giving her full attention the children if she is busy talking to her friends. A nanny can look to see who is calling and call her friends after working hours. The parents should be able to contact or text the nanny during the day, so tuning off the cell is not an option. The bottom line is act like a professional if you want to be treated like a professional!"
14. Linda Roffe and Carolyn Kavanaugh, of Northwest Nannies, Inc. located in Lake Oswego, OR share, "Many families use texting and phoning as the primary methods of conversing with their nannies during the day. Therefore, we feel it would be counterproductive to completely ban nannies from using their cell phones during work hours. However, when on duty, the nanny should limit their phone use for work purposes only. The ultimate decision on whether a cell phone should be on or off during the work day is, of course, up to the employer."
15. Jennie Krogulski, Owner of Hilton Head Nannies in SC explains, "I believe nannies need to spend their time on duty professionally and to the benefit of the families who employ them. Phone time should be limited so that nannies can be engaged with their charges."
She continues, "No one can say, 'Nannies cannot talk on the phone,' as that would be impractical. However, nannies should not use work time to "chat" on the phone or text incessantly. Nannies must use self-discipline in this area because we live in a society where we always have phones to our ears. I do believe nannies should feel free to talk, text, or use their smart phones when their charges are down for a nap and they have some 'down-time' themselves."
16. Katie Vaughan, Owner of Beverly Hills-based Westside Nannies, in Beverly Hills, CA believes that "Nannies are professionals and as such we hold them to a professional standard. This means that when a nanny is working we do not expect them to be using their cell phone for personal use. And yes, this means texting too! So unless it’s communicating with your employer, setting up a play date for the children, or ordering nursery supplies – stay OFF the cell."
17. Hilary Lockhart, CEO and Founder of A+ Nannies Inc., in Arizona says, "I do not mind when families place restrictions on cell phone usage since this is still a job; and a career to some. Most professional careers do not allow you to be obsessing over the phone. Every time you look at your phone, I feel that your mind is somewhere else, thinking about someone trying to contact you. When at work, your mind should be at work."
Ms. Lockhart recommends, "If you know it is just a friend, then let it go to voice mail. I do not feel that there is ever any reason to be on Facebook while at work. There is nothing that is posted on facebook, that is a need to know purpose."
18. Marsha Haplerin Epstein, President of American Nanny Company in Newton, MA states, "Cell phones and texting should be work related only; communication with parents or calls related to nanny or household management responsibilities. Many parents in our area text back and forth with nannies or even provide them with cell phones so they can be in touch."
19. Mary Schwartz, Director of PR at Sittercity Incorporated states, "Sittercity believes that the focus of a nanny or babysitter should be on the child while working, so texting or talking on her cell phone would be considered a distraction and avoided. However in some instances, using a phone is acceptable. For instance if a nanny/babysitter uses her phone as part of her job such as searching for information that will allow her to do her job (directions to an appointment), or communicating with the children's parents. It's always good to have a cell phone handy in case an emergency arises."
20. Candi Wingate, President of Nannies4Hire.com adds, "Most families will allow nannies to text if texting does not interfere with childcare and other job responsibilities. Other families text their nannies often throughout the day. Texting can be the best way for working parents to keep up with what is going on in the daily lives of their children. Allowing your nanny to get involved in texting can pose special problems because your children may then view inappropriate explicit texts. Each family should discuss the rules on texting with their nanny during their interviews and again at the time of hire. Then, if the nanny is found to have violated the rule, the parents can refer back to their original agreement with the nanny, remind and re-train the nanny on the boundaries and expectations, or take any progressive discipline necessary given the severity of the circumstance."
22. Tiffaney Smith Nanny and Parent Consultant and Owner of YourSuperNanny suggests, "By setting different ring tones for different phone numbers on your cell phone you can tell if it's your boss or some one else calling. Don't answer if it's not work related or an emergency. I ask friends and family not to call me between the hours of 12pm and 6pm and if they need me for an emergency to call once, then again right after. I ask the parents to write a section in their agreement just for cell phone usage. I would say it is not okay to text, talk, be online, check emails, look at pictures, or any thing that isn't for the good of the child."
23. Erin Krex, President of First Class Care, Inc., of Chicago, IL shares, "We tell nannies they should not use cell phones at all during work. We suggest to families that they should provide nannies with a work only cell phone so the family can be in contact without interruptions from other callers."
24. Susan Tokayer, Owner of Family Helpers in Dobbs Ferry, NY and Co-President of the International Nanny Association replies, "It is very important that a policy be established between employee and employer. The nanny should never text or speak on the cell phone when she is driving, or involved with the children at that moment. The employer should understand that the text may not be responded to for up to 45 minutes and should be okay with that."
Ms. Tokayer continues, "Also, most employers don't mind if the nanny is on her cell phone or texts while the children are napping or are in school. Again, rules should be established and the nanny should always use her good judgement."
26. Claudia Kahn, Owner of The Help Company in California (with offices in New York) shares, "I think back to all the days that we were able to handle our children and our nannies without a cell phone or text. Most nannies and moms use the phone instead of playing or speaking to their children. We think that just being in their presence is enough, but no...don't go to a mommy and me, and spend the time answering your phone. I was even observing a group where the mom picked up the phone (and it was a wrong number) in the middle of a song they were singing. What kind of message does that give your child? I think that the phone or texts could be used a few times a day, but it is not an appendage -- it should be left in the purse and checked at 9am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm. We are giving children the wrong message that just a ring of the phone is more important then interacting with them. Call me old-fashioned -- I will thank you."
27. Rebecca Stewart, Founder and President of VIP Nannies Inc., located in Studio City, CA has two thoughts to share with nannies. Her first thought is, " Absolutely NOT!! I just spoke with a mom yesterday, who's nanny (using the nanny car) backed into another car. Later, the six-year-old charge told the mom she backed into the car because she was checking her phone messages. The family is making the nanny deal with the situation (insurance, other driver, etc.)."
Ms. Stewart's second thought is, "It's a catch 22 because sometimes parents want to know where the nannies are going, what they are doing, what their children are doing and they do this via text (sometimes a phone call). If this is the parents desire, I suggest a "nanny cell phone." A cell phone specifically for on-the-job calls and texts only, to be left at the house, when the nanny goes home."