Should Staff Use Their Mobile Phone at Work?

Should Staff Use Mobile Phone at Work

Are you fed up of seeing your staff accessing their social media accounts on their mobile phones? 

Can I ban mobiles phones on desks?

One way to deal with this ever increasing issue is to ensure you have a clear mobile phone policy in place.

Almost all employers have a policy in place which covers the use of computers and staff are often not able to gain access to social network sites from their work computer.  Yet so many employers still don’t have a mobile phone policy in place!

When you have employees using their mobile phone at their desks either for texting, personal calls or browsing the internet, they are wasting their working hours which is a cost to your business. They might also be putting client and colleague relationships at risk.

What is the best approach with mobile phones for your business?

No one else knows your business and your employees like you do. It is therefore up to you to decide what sort of policy you will implement, e.g a restrictive policy or a flexible policy. In most cases, some degree of flexibility can be the best option.  In making your decision you should also be mindful of what type of roles your staff are carrying out.

What if you decide on a flexible approach?

Many employers expect their staff to have their work e-mails on their phone regardless of whether that is company mobile phone or a personal one. Also, many employees are expected to respond to work e-mails during non-working hours.

If you’re going to infringe on an employee’s evenings or weekends, it could be a goodwill gesture to permit employees to reply to an important message while they are at their desk if it won’t take them more than a minute or two.

Studies suggest that when a person’s private life exists in some way on their phone (important personal messages, photos, bank details, etc.), the idea of having to separate from their phone causes feelings of anxiety.

A study in the United States indicates that when someone is away from their mobile phone, their heart rate and blood pressure both rise!

What about a restrictive approach?

This will be the most appropriate option where you have staff who are operating machinery and so the use of mobile phones could lead to injuries or serious accidents.

Some employers choose to ban mobile phones completely and in doing so, they request staff keep their phones switched off and in a desk drawer/locker. This approach is clearly a harsh one which is most definitely not going to be popular.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it but you should be prepared for some miserable and resentful staff!

You will need to be very clear on the restrictions you wish to impose so your policy must state when the use of mobile phones is permitted, e.g. lunch/rest breaks or to deal with an emergency.

How do you enforce the mobile phone policy?

In addition to having a mobile phone policy, you need to enforce the policy.  If you don’t do this, there is little point in having it at all as it will be disregarded by your staff.  In applying the policy, make sure you do this in a reasonable and consistent manner, e.g. allowing the member of staff you go for lunch with to use their phone versus disciplining the member of staff you don’t know very well will no doubt give you a grievance to deal with!

Whichever approach you choose, it is imperative that you make sure it is formally documented so that your staff have signed to say they have read AND understood the mobile phone policy.

Should you need some assistance and/or advice in producing a mobile phone policy, please let us know and we will be more than happy to guide you.