Time to ban mobile phone use at work?

Kevin Bennett

August 29 2019

56 minutes ─ the amount of time the average employee spends dawdling on their phone each day. That’s almost 5 hours each week.

With what is now a part of everyday life, phone use may begin to affect your business. So, what can you do about it?

Policy protection

The first step is the introduction of a mobile phone use policy. Define clear rules and the implications if they’re broken. An example could be, “Employees must not use their phones when dealing with a customer. Doing so may result in disciplinary action.” Get your employees to sign a copy of the policy for future cover.

You will also need to tweak your policy to work in line with your business. If your employees work on their own, using their phone for music should be fine. If they interact with customers, ask them not to use their phone until they have a rest period.

If, having signed your phone use policy, employees continue to use their phones, what options do you have?

Ring in the changes

If phone use continues, you might choose to confiscate their mobile phones. This is already a common tactic in hospitals and many retail stores.

However, there is risk involved. Your employees may encounter what is known as ‘phone separation anxiety’.

“People experience feelings of anxiety and unpleasantness when physically separated from their phones,” said Dr Kim Ki Joon. “Our findings suggest that users see smartphones as an extension of themselves.”

Taking an employee’s phone not only has physical ramifications, the act also affects staff morale. Doing so makes employees think you don’t trust them or are unhappy with their phone use. And, if you take one employee’s phone away, shouldn’t you do the same with their colleague?

A level playing field

Decide what strategy works best. Being strict and banning the use of mobile phones, or lenient and allowing for some phone use.

When disciplining employees, if needed, be consistent. This will show that you are fair and it should discourage others from breaking the rules.

Time to dial it in?

If you’re looking to implement a mobile phone use policy, Peninsula is here to help. Our experts are available 24/7 on 0800 917 0771. You can also fill in a contact form here.

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