How To Stop Cell Phone Abuse in The Workplace

There are obvious needs for cell phones at work. Cell phones are used for basic communications, both with family members, colleagues and important external persons. However, the bad side business managers must fight to prevent is the abuse of cell phone in the workplace. Cell phone abuse in the workplace is prevalent in different forms among employees. It could be texting, use of social media, games, following activities on social media and so all. All represent an abuse of cell phones at work.

As insignificant as it may seem, cell phone abuse in the workplace gravely affect overall productivity. From a simple miss of deadline to excess idle time, compromising of the workplace safety rules, the list goes on and on. Beyond the employees guilty of abusing cell phone, their co-workers become indirect victims too. They get disturbed from the loud ringing of the cell phone, loud video sounds, etc. Hence, there’s a need for employers to prevent or stop cell phone abuse at work.

To do this, drastic and immediate management measures must be adopted. Employers are also required to adopt a practical approach in the management of their employees to avoid dump rules. Here is a list of measures on how to stop cell phone abuse in the workplace.

1.     Develop a cell phone policy

This is actually the first step to enforce the right use of cell phones at work. Having just a verbal law is not enough to handle cell phone issues at work. Employees can claim ignorance of them. Draft a policy regulating the use of cell phone in the office and ensure that all employees read and agree to the policy. Along with the policy should be possible disciplinary actions for defaulters. To further strengthen the policy, Managers are advised to obey the cell phone policy as well.

2.     Monitor the Policy

Having established a cell phone policy, monitoring is the next step. This cell phone monitoring entails close observation of workers’ activities within the workplace. This can be done by the management or employees assigned to do so. With monitoring, employees who are victims of cell phone abuse in the workplace can be identified. However, employees have a way of being more conscious of policies when they are being monitored.

3.     Employ visual reminders

There are workers who need a constant visual reminder to keep them on track. These visual reminders help a great deal when placed on strategic places in the workplace. They can either be a copy of the policy fixed on the wall or a phone restriction symbol. For areas where phones are allowed, there should be cell phone permit symbols. These reminders ensure that no employee claims ignorance of the rules.

4.     Take Disciplinary Action

Rules will become useless when there are no consequences attached. The reasons for the policies and reminders are to ensure that no one abuses cell phone in the office. However, provision should be made for defaulter. The manner in which cell phone abusers are handled will tell others what to do. To ensure there’s no growth in the abuse of cell phones in your office, take disciplinary actions. Employees would rather comply with the cell phone policy than accepting the consequences.

The issue of cell phone abuse in the workplace cut across all sectors and more consequential in some cases. Employers are encouraged to regularly create cell phone abuse awareness, emphasizing on the dangers and equally document the events in case of any legal claims in the future. A bad corporate culture can disable the effective implementation of cell phone policy and monitoring.

Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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