Recently a friend of mine was castigated by her employer for not being available on mobile phone when she was on leave. The employer was seeking to cancel her leave because the colleague who was sitting in for her fell suddenly ill. But she had switched off her phone and gone upcountry and the company could not reach her. The company did not collapse either. In fact nothing stopped. It turned out that there were other ways available to ensure that work continued even in the absence of her and her sick colleague.
But when she reported back to work there was a case awaiting her. The employer quoted a part of her employment letter that read thus: The normal working hours of the company are from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, but as a senior member of staff it may be necessary from time to time for you to extend these hours or even work over the weekends. That is the bit the company used against her. But nowhere in the letter is being on mobile alert or cancellation of leave mentioned. Apparently that fell under ‘extend these hours’. But she does not consider herself senior anyway.
The question is, how much does your employer have to do with your private mobile phone? Should an employer call you any time they feel like it? According to about.com, your boss should only be calling you during normal operating hours and not after hours. If your boss or other co-workers are calling you after hours or on weekends, you must bring this up to a higher supervisor. In order to maintain smooth relationships with co-workers you should work within the "normal" operating hours of the office.
Some people are under the mistaken impression that because you work at home, you are available whenever they feel that it is convenient. To avoid problems from the beginning of a telecommuting arrangement, have it specified in your Agreement exactly when you can be called.
Freelancers should also set limits on when they can be reached and what the methods of contact are.
My friend’s case ended with just a verbal reminder that she can be required to avail herself at work on short notice but this just shows the complications that come about with the whole mobile phone thing.