What to Do When You Keep Catching Your Employees on Their Phones
Ninety-five percent of Americans own cell phones. Unless you live under that proverbial rock, you need to accept them as a regular part of everyday life. But in the workplace, cell phone use can become a time-suck that diminishes productivity, annoys co-workers, and in worst cases, compromises safety. As an employer, you’re well within your rights to limit or, if necessary, prevent employees from using cell phones while on the job.
According to one recent study, 19 % of employers think their workers are productive for less than five hours a day – and more than half believe cell phones are to blame. The top four reasons employees are on their phones while at work include:
- 65 %: messaging
- 52 %: checking the weather
- 44 %: reading the news, and
- 24 %: playing games.
Here are five tips for effective management of cell phones in your workplace:
Document employee cell phone use.
Observe how employees are using their cell phones at work. Record any relevant complaints, such as co-workers disturbed by overly loud conversations, and observances, such as people not paying attention as they walk down hallways or across parking lots. This information will be useful in communicating the need for restrictions on phone usage.
Establish guidelines and policies.
Spell out whether phones should be turned off during meetings or set on vibrate while people are on the clock, or whether there’s a limit on the number of calls an employee can make or take during the workday. Set consequences for violations. Have your legal counsel check it over, and then make this information part of your onboarding, training updates and employee handbook.
Differentiate between personal and business calls.
Personal calls and texts can be limited to before and after work or during breaks. This ban should also apply to playing games or any other distracting activities on mobile devices. Also, remember to limit the use of phone cameras, in order to protect the privacy of your employees and the confidentiality of company property, documents and information. Have provisions for emergencies – and ensure they are not abused.
Enforce rules fairly.
Enforce your cell phone and all other workforce policies equitably. This applies not only to FTEs, but also to contractors, temporary workers and anyone else who’s employed on your premises. Your cell phone policy should prohibit harassment of other employees through inappropriate calls, texts or messaging. Train every employee on your policy and display copies in all departments.
Lead by example.
If you want your employees to accept and adopt better cell phone habits, you must model the behavior you seek to cultivate. Be a stellar role model – and your employees will be much more likely to follow suit.
Want More Management Best Practices? Contact Us Today!
The workforce experts at Frontline Source Group can help you tackle practices, procedures and workforce policies around cell phone use – or any of the myriad human capital challenges you face on a daily basis. From talent sourcing, recruitment and retention through training, development and long-term HR strategies, we’ll provide individualized service to meet your unique business needs. Contact us today to learn more.