While cell phones have made things easier and tasks more manageable, they have proven to become a bigger distraction than many think. A quick text or call during work hours does not seem like a big deal if it is done sparingly throughout the day, but take that time and add it all together and it chips away from the actual work day.
Because cell phones are a part of our every day, this proves to be an issue that must be addressed. This needs to be done sooner rather than later. How do you go about opening up that door of discussion?
First, is the need to face this reality. Employers may want to ban cell phone usage, shut off wifi, or use jammers. This is detrimental to morale, inconvenient for the business, and illegal.
The next best step is to create a policy to enforce. Great policies include the following parameters addressed: When it’s acceptable to use a cell phone during the work day, such as during breaks and lunchtime; The frequency and length of calls permitted during working hours; If headsets are permitted; and where to store personal devices.
Hand in hand with creating a policy, you want to create an “etiquette” of cell phone usage that addresses: the volume of cell phone alerts, speaking volume, call duration, professional language, and text alternatives.
What are the best ways of enforcing a policy that may be controversial in the workplace? First, set it all in writing.
This helps to ensure there are no ambiguous lines or grey areas when it is time to enforce or write up an employee. Next, you want to lead by example. This will help employees follow suit easier. Lastly, you want to be persistent in enforcing these policies. If employees notice you enforcing it sparingly or selectively, this will open you up to many issues legally and relationally in your workplace.
When it comes to enforcing policy, consequences are sure to come up. It is standard procedure to provide a verbal warning, a written warning, and a final warning before terminating an employee. This all needs to be documented with your HR department in an accurate and detailed manner.
This all may seem like a great deal of work in the beginning, but making this a priority can help guarantee efficient work and better time management.
If you do not have a HR representative who can assist you, reach out to my office at 310-534-5577 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to refer you to someone we know.