September 23, 2019
Do You Need A Mobile Phone Policy At Work?
Pulling glued faces away from mobile phone screens is fast becoming a daily challenge for some managers.
Whether it’s scrolling through social media, chuckling away on a group chat, or calling home to ask about the dog, phones can disrupt the natural flow of a workplace.
For years, business leaders have debated whether mobiles should be allowed in the workplace and how they affect behaviour. Should employees be free to use them as they wish or should you create rules to limit mobile phones?
Employees need to feel comfortable in their workplace and we believe there’s a time and place for mobile phones in the office.
We take a deep dive into this hotly debated subject and explore how managing mobile phone use can improve workplace culture.
So, do you need a mobile phone policy at work?
No one likes to feel trapped at work — it’s important to keep employees happy by striking a healthy balance between freedom and productivity.
Following a recent study from the boffins at Warwick University, it’s time to get serious about creating a happy work environment as these positive vibes could boost productivity by up to 10%.
Don’t let phones affect productivity
Workplace productivity is important to almost every manager. Rallying the troops and keeping morale high is essential for creating an exciting workplace and meeting critical deadlines.
Mobile phones can be pretty addictive. Productivity levels begin to slip when employees swap-out boring emails for funny cat videos on YouTube. With 52% of workers complaining they’re distracted by mobiles at work, something needs to be done to keep employees on track.
Here are some key pointers to keep productivity high without putting strict bans on employees’ pocket-sized pals.
1) Restrict when mobile phones can be used
Consider laying down some office rules on where and when it’s appropriate for employees to use mobile devices. It makes sense for employees to use lunch hours and comfort breaks as a time to stay on top of important life admin and zone out on their phones.
Whether it’s Googling the cricket score, paying fuel bills, or checking their Amazon order has arrived, it’s important to give employees the freedom to tune into the outside world.
Restricting mobile use to rest breaks creates a healthy divide between work and play. Desks should be a phone-free zone where employees can get their heads down and focus on producing their best work.
2) Don’t share calls with the entire office
We’ve all been there — you’re stuck on a train and that one person decides to share their entire life story with the rest of the carriage.
Phone calls are private, so try to keep them that way. Ask your employees to go into a different room if they’re expecting a personal call or want to have a long conversation with a client over the phone.
Avoiding noisy phone calls in the office minimises distractions and promotes a calm space where employees can focus on their work.
3) Silent mode
This is a simple one — ask all employees to put their phones on silent. There’s nothing worse than constant buzzing and “ping” sounds every ten seconds.
Unless employees are expecting important client calls or a personal emergency, the office should be a ping-free zone where your team can perform at the top of their game.
4) Meetings are a mobile-free zone
Meetings allow employees to escape from their inbox and throw all their energy into meeting clients’ needs or brainstorming an exciting idea.
Meetings should be a place for creative thinking and focused discussion — completely free from outside distractions.
We make all our meeting rooms phone-free zones. This way, we’re confident that everyone in the meeting is quite literally, in the room.
5) Take care on the roads
If your employees have to drive company cars to meet suppliers or win new clients, your mobile phone policy should reflect this. Safe and responsible phone use isn’t limited to the office.
Did you know, you’re 23 times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident if you’re texting behind the wheel?
Mixing mobile phones with driving is a potentially deadly combination. We discourage all our employees from using phones on the road — even if they’re using a hands-free device.
Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees. If the call can wait, save it for later.
6) Avoid distractions in hazardous environments
We advise banning phones in certain hazardous situations. If your workplace involves high-risk environments such as warehouse floors or operating heavy machinery — employers must put safety first.
Mobile phones are distracting and can lead to potentially life-threatening accidents.
7) Set a clear ‘phone at work’ policy
When it comes to phone policies, many employees bend the rules because they don’t know what the rules actually are!
Employees can’t be expected to follow the rules if they’re unclear. Update your team with a memo to explain your phone policy and keep the message alive with posters slapped across the office.
Be careful, people can quickly slip back into old habits. It’s important to send regular reminders to make sure employees are still following your policy a few weeks down the line.
We recommend outlining three or four golden rules on how phones should be used in the office. This way, employees have a clear and simple idea of how they should behave.
8) Lead by example
The key to a successful mobile phone policy is consistency and setting a strong example for your employees.
If the managers who are enforcing the rules don’t follow them, employees will quickly lose interest and entertain themselves with those damn cat videos again.
Good managers will embrace a new policy with open arms and keep a keen eye on anyone who isn’t taking the guidelines seriously. There’s no point in having rules if you allow your employees to walk all over them.
Mobile phones in the workplace aren’t all that bad
Yes, mobile phones can be distracting but that doesn’t mean you should completely ban them from your workplace.
Where company mobile phones are provided the issue changes so ensure employees keep separate work and personal phones. Many work-related mobile apps are essential for certain roles like Sales. Efficiency and productivity have been linked to the use of mobile phone technology so find a position that works for your business.
A healthy workplace is all about striking a balance between work and play. Therefore, think about your employee’s role. What are their objectives and demands? Do mobile phone enhance or hinder your business processes?
We believe fair and consistent mobile phone policies give employees the freedom they need to embrace their work with a positive attitude.
Our advice is to simply review it with your managers, even chat with your employees. Ask them what changes they’d like to see and agree on a fair mobile phone policy, which is beneficial for all.